Archive for July, 2012

In my head and in my heart

Monday, July 30th, 2012

I was talking to another widower today.  I mentioned to him that I was spending my day cleaning out some of Jill’s stuff.  He immediately related to that, and shared the mixed emotions that come at a time like that.

You know you have to move on.  You don’t want to disrespect or dishonor your loved one.  You are torn between keeping things  which are only elevated from being “stuff” by some thin thread of a connection to your wife, or truly saving a few things that have lasting value. 

I chose to discard a lot of clothing.  Jill had talked for years of discarding clothes as soon as she found a better wardrobe.  Well, she’s got one, and I don’t need to keep the one that is here!  Alright, I did keep a sweater her mother knit, and a t-shirt with the cardiovascular system on it.  Both reminders of relationship and life as she lived it!

Then there was the 2012 Valentine’s card that told of how she had looked for a man to marry who would enrich her life, share her faith and cherish her love.  And then she wrote, “thru all the years, you are still the one.  Love, Jill.”  That I kept!

I may remarry.  Jill and I talked about that.  She would have expected that to happen.   I’m not expecting to forget the almost 40 years with Jill.  In fact, as one lady pointed out to me today, that love for my wife will be a sign to someone that I can be trusted with love!  I was humbled to think that others looked at my marriage that way.

So, to Jill – you filled my life with more than I expected and more than I deserved!

Spice racks and all

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Making soup reminded me!

I don’t have the slightest idea where the spices are in this house.  Oh, I can find the salt and pepper and probably the cinnamon (great for toast!).    But where are the bay leaves, and the basil, the thyme, the poultry seasoning?

I did muddle my way through making the soup (not sure all the ingredients ended up in the soup!).  And the soup actually tastes good, and hasn’t made me sick yet.

I thought I should be a little more prepared for the next soup making session.  So this afternoon I went through all the spices and ingredients shelves.  Seven in all, plus the short shelf over the stove.

The kitchen is well stocked with ingredients – even some “ethnic” spices.  All the sugars are together, all the salts, the most often used spices placed easy at hand (of course, I’ve yet to figure out what spices are most used!).

The next time I need Cardamom , I’ll know where it is.  I can find the vanilla extract.  I have the nuts all together (but maybe this “nut” is a little out to lunch!).

And all this makes me excited to learn to cook!   Keep tuned – see what food hits my fancy next!

Oh, I guess I forgot to mention

Friday, July 27th, 2012

So, in the midst of my excitement of being able to host meals and bring people together . . .

Yesterday I came home to make some chicken noodle soup.  I pulled some broth from the freezer and set it on the stove to warm up. 

Then I realized I was tired.  Just a quick nap! 

Which was quickly awakened – after almost an hour’s time.  I thought I could smell the beautiful broth of soup.  I followed the scent, except the scent changed the closer I got to the kitchen.  Soon a bit of a cloud came into view and I looked in the pot!  Black! 

I extracted the pot from the stove and placed it outside.  Opened the windows.  Looked around for a good deodorizer.

And decided the best thing to do was make another pot of soup.  Change the flavor of the air by putting into the atmosphere exactly what had been planned originally.  So I did!! 

For a first try at making soup (OK, a second try – the first one was a little black!), I think it turned out alright.  My plan is to try out the soup for lunch today.  If I’m sick tomorrow, you’ll know why!

Two done and hopefully many to go!

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Tonight I hosted my second meal!  The fixings were not that hard (or elaborate), and my downstairs boarder brought up the salad.  The food actually was rather good and we ended with ice cream and fresh picked raspberries.

And then – we decided to host another meal for young adults – next Thursday.  Ashley and I picked out around eight names that could surround the table.   We decided to work on a potluck basis (I’ll provide the meat, another person is providing the dessert, etc. . . ). 

At first, I wasn’t sure if I leaned on my wife’s ability to cook and present a meal well.  I think, in the end, that I really do like the idea of being a host and being hospitable. 

I do have much I have learned by osmosis!  The table setting, the preparation, the ability to have food ready when the guests arrive.  Those I’ve seen and appreciate, and I will try to emulate from Jill.

But now, I get to put into practice the soul of both of our hearts – to provide a meal as a way to open up conversation and to help others to enjoy this life!  A reprieve from the world of hurry around a table of plenty (of both food and friends) is not a bad thing!

I love to meet

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

When I started the day, I was in the midst of figuring out what my day would include.  I had a meal planned in the evening and a haircut mid-afternoon. 

A staff meeting soon stretched into an encouraging time – my associate pastor is off for a week or two of holidays.  He’ll be resting – and visiting.  His family will see him for an extended period of time.  That’s good.

At lunch, a young lady came by seeking a place to eat lunch.  I invited her to join me.  We sat and discussed (OK, I asked lots of questions and she was kind enough to answer.

Prior to that, I had been by the lawyer’s to check out Jill’s estate and the transfer of the house into my name.  There, I also extended my time to talk of registering a publishing company.  More on that in coming blogs.

At the hair cut time, I talked to the hair dresser (of course, I haven’t got much hair to dress, but it’s a great idea that someone would be willing to dress what is there).  We spoke of a broad range of issues.  FUN!!

Home in time to see my boarder and invite her to supper on Thursday.

Then, a friend arrived for supper and we enjoyed my first full meal that I had prepared for a guest.  Actually worked well!  I am thankful for the time I spent with my wife – by osmosis I pick up a lot of tips on hosting and having a meal that would be enjoyable.

Now?  Reading, writing and enjoying podcasts.  A rather enjoyable life.  May God continue to put people and events into my life that remind me of the great hope that there is in Jesus, and the great enjoyment there is in his creation – particularly the humans who live around me!

After the swimming

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

This morning was a highlight.

Both my grandchildren were taking swimming lessons.  They are such opposites!

Christopher doesn’t like to venture into the water.  He likes to talk.  He finds it hard to listen to the instructor.  I’m not sure I would want to be the instructor!

Hannah is the proverbial fish in water.  She doesn’t really care how deep the water is.  She likes to try out the exercises the instructor asks the children to try.  She jumps in wholeheartedly (sometimes a little too much so in the deeper end of the pool).

Mom and Dad survived, sometimes wondering if they will drown and more often laughing at their antics!

So, here they are just outside the swimming pool.  Opseths after swim - July 23, 2012

Home again, home again, soon to come!

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

I have so enjoyed being with my daughter’s family.  The grandkids were out for a walk with me this morning.  We saw 20 lawnmowers in one yard (looked like only one worked).  My granddaughter kept hearing all sorts of things.  I had to slow down and listen, and then I heard the wind chime or the bird sing or the silence after noise.

But tomorrow I attend the grand kids swimming lessons and then head home.   Awaiting me is the need to stock the fridge.  I’m actually home now for a few months (at least I think so!).  And then the office beckons on Tuesday.  I’m looking forward to the challenges of the summer, as we complete plans for the fall and beyond.

But for now, the evening is about to complete and I sense yawns forming in the front of my brain, causing brain drain and incoherence and . . .

Good night all!!

Mission accomplished

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

One of the reasons I was looking forward to visiting my daughter was to help her clean out her large basement room.

For the past while Allison and Scott have been planning to complete the walls and give the room a paint job.  Unfortunately the area had become a storage spot.  Until today!

I began the organizing a few days ago.  Little bits piled together.  Then larger bits all amalgamated.  Until today, we all sat together and look over the clothes, boots, shirts, sandals, blankets, linens and so much more.  Each piece was assigned a place and then sent to the appropriate storage bin.  When all was said and done the actual storage room of the house now houses the accumulation from the past few years.

You have to recognize, as those who read this blog regularly do, that I relish an opportunity to organize out of chaos.  This task revitalizes me.  When the finished product is in place, there is nothing better (OK, there are a few things, but not many!).

So, I’ll be off to bed tonight with a good sleep and a hearty thanks to my kids for inviting me!

Not surprised??

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

If you know me, then you will know that today was a great refreshing day.

Imagine being confronted by a basement of scattered things, all contributing to a sense that order is needed.  Such is the life of a young family, a mother who is caring for two children (6/3) and whose husband is working 100’s of kilometers away.

And when grandpa comes, he goes into gear.  The first gear is to enjoy seeing how things can be organized.  The second gear is to put things into piles surrounding the direction needed.  The third gear is to subdivide each category until small units can become stashed away and order is restored.

That simplifies the activities of the day, but not by much.  Tomorrow will be more of the same, just for the fun of it!

And by fun, I mean enjoyable, life-giving refreshment!

I laughed

Monday, July 16th, 2012

A. W. Tozer has gained quite a following in Christian circles (and with those outside the circle as well).  I’ve been reading a book called “Favorite chapters :  the best of A.W. Tozer.”  compiled by Warren Wiersbe.

Today I laughed. 

There is a small paragraph in which he pronounces a profound truth, but prefaces it by saying, “It is my belief (and I shall not feel bad if no one follow me),”  and he goes on to talk about “every good and beautiful thing which man has produced in the world has been the result of his faulty and sin-blocked response to the creative Voice [which he has previously explained is God] sounding over the earth” (p. 24).  Later in the paragraph (which is actually excerpted from Tozer’s book, “The Pursuit of God”), Tozer writes “Could it be that a genius is a man haunted by the speaking Voice, laboring and striving like one possessed to achieve ends which he only vaguely understands.  That the great man may have missed God in his labors, that he may even have spoken or written against God does not destroy the idea I am advancing.  God’s redemptive revelation in the Holy Scriptures is necessary to saving faith and peace with God.  Faith in the risen  Saviour is necessary if the vague stirring toward immortality are to bring us to restful and satisfying communion with God.  To me this is a plausible explanation of all that is best out of Christ.”

And this is where I started to laugh.  Of course, Tozer has put forward a very convincing case.  In fact, the voice of Tozer sounds like the voice of God at this point!  One contemporary of his, who worked with him in the denomination, said that Tozer could be wrong – and on the floor of assembly or in business meetings a number of people would dispute him.

So, here is a belief of Tozer’s that I’m sure he figures is true (some of you may not completely follow what is being said above, let’s just say he said it with conviction and passion!).  Now, he ends the paragraph with the following:

But you can be a good Christian and not accept my thesis.

I guess I’ve just come out of meetings and discussions that went all over the board, and even spilled off the edges of the board.  I trust we can have the same charity towards one another of which Tozer speaks.  I would hope people agree with me, I will fight for my view!  But am I willing to accept that the other person “can be a good Christian and not accept my thesis?” 

I laughed, and then prayed for unity!