Gail

CrossWise Friendships. Part 2 of “A Simple Feast of Friendship”

CrossWise Friendships Mandy Thomas

I would like to introduce you to my friend Mandy Gervasi Thomas—photographer, nurse, poet, wife, and mom. I asked Mandy to collaborate with me on Chapter 9 of CrossWise Living: Navigating Transition. I pick up the chapter where I left off last time and Mandy’s voice will finish it.  


The Story Continues

A few years later, the phone rings and I hear the voice of Mandy, one of my visitors that pleasant evening. Married now for two years, she’s back in San Diego with her husband David for a short visit and wants to drop in for a few minutes that morning before they leave town.

Mandy and David arrive a few hours later with their new baby Judah, who has both a full diaper and an empty tummy. Things always seem to be going crosswise when there’s a new baby, and they’re running late. I suspect they might be hungry, as it’s way past lunchtime, and I’m pleased that they accept my invitation to join Jeff and me for a quick bite before they have to be on the road again. Fortunately, I’ve developed a new habit now that I’m cooking for just two—whenever I make soup, I double the batch and freeze it.

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Simple Feast of Friendship

Simple Feast of Friendship

May the meals that I prepare, be seasoned from above,
With Thy great blessings and Thy grace but most of all, Thy love.
So bless my little kitchen, Lord, and those who enter in,
May they find naught but joy and peace and happiness therein.
— Kitchen Prayer


A Simple Feast of Friendship

It is the day after Thanksgiving. What will I be grateful for at the end of this day? Hordes of bargain-hunters have set their alarms for the wee small hours of the morning and have arisen with a mission. I’m not above such frenzied commerce, but today I nod in its direction and am able to pass it by. Today is a blank check, and I will not spend it in spending.

What business would you have me about today, Lord? I’m mindful of the message from last week’s sermon: what will I choose to do today that will outlive me? The rest of my family members all have specific plans today—to see, to do, and to accomplish—and I’m now alone and wondering how to best use this treasure of an unscheduled day.

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Starring the Sun

Starring the Sun

 

For the Lord God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory.
Psalm 84:11

 

They call the high cost of living in San Diego a “sunshine tax.” We pay for the privilege of hearing virtually the same weather report everyday—70 degrees and sunny. The downside is that we face a looming water shortage, and many of us are now having to transition from lush green lawns to water-wise xeriscapes.

I’m not going to lie; I’m mourning the loss. I grew up in New Jersey, where playing on the soft and fragrant lawn lingers in my memory as one of childhood’s most sensual pleasures. There is something in me that recoils at the sight of rocks and bark and scraggly native plants. But times change, and so must we.

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Nighttime Prayers

Nighttime Prayers: Irene

Today’s guest blogger is my beloved brother, Dr. Ed Nelson. He is a research chemist by profession, but has the soul of a poet and the heart of a servant. He and his wife Janis demonstrate what it means to live a life of love as they selflessly care for their aging parents.

The piece featured below is especially meaningful to me. Many years ago, Irene prayed for the salvation of her daughter’s boyfriend, and then later, his wild -child sister. I am eternally grateful for the role she has played in my life as a spiritual mentor.


Nighttime Prayers

by Ed Nelson

My wife Janis desperately needed a night off, and so I encouraged her to take our daughter Corrie out to a movie. This left me with the job of putting my mother-in-law Irene, afflicted with Alzheimer’s, to bed. I pointed her toward the bathroom where she dutifully went in and brushed her teeth. It was sort of a messy business— I had to help her turn on the electric toothbrush and clean it and turn it off when done. Old age was taking its toll on her mind, and she was becoming less able, less aware, more confused with each passing day. I reminded her to put on her pajamas, and I went to repair her toothbrush.

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Stitching a Work of Art

Stitching a Work of Art

When I say I’ve been a quilter, I mean I’ve enjoyed the social aspects of meeting together with other women in the church basement, learning how to turn old scraps into something warm and useful. During the years when I was home with small children, I enthusiastically churned out a succession of amateurish patchwork quilts­ for friends and relatives.  I loved doing it—I just never got good at it.

My husband and I still cuddle up under a now-ragged patchwork quilt I made nearly 20 years ago. It was never flawless enough to be mounted and displayed, but its blunt and unmatched points never prevented it from keeping us warm and cozy. They say Amish women would deliberately sew a mistake into their quilts as a reminder that God alone is perfect. I never had to be that intentional about it.

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The Letter P

The ribbon in my Bible directed me to the place where I had left off yesterday: 1 Samuel 16:14. Lately, I have been in a bit of a dry place spiritually, with no new Bible teachers on the horizon to bring me exciting news from the front lines. This is evidently a season when I have to renew and embrace with confidence the notion that God can and will speak to me directly, purposefully, and personally. Over the years I have amassed a shelf full of Beth Moore workbooks, and most of the blanks are actually filled in. I have Experienced God, Bible Study Fellowshipped, and spent years marking my second-best Bible with colored pencils and symbols inspired by

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The Six Pillars of Character in 21st Century Newbery Fiction

The Six Pillars of Character in 21st Century Newbery Award Books

I have just finished my Doctorate in Education (Ed D) and have a link to my dissertation. I loved my research on 21st century Newbery fiction and character education. You can read it for free at the Liberty University Digital Commons. Let me know what you think!

Read Gail’s Dissertation Online

Welcome Back!

New gailbones.com (2010)

I have let this blog go by the wayside for quite some time. I have been writing my dissertation on children’s literature and character education. Between that and FB status updates, my writing energy has been exhausted.

But I have just launched a website to support my growing music ministry and this space will be the forum for me to make updates, announcements or to respond to comments from you.

I invite you to scroll back through some of my postings from the past, when I had more time to think deep thoughts and to write about them creatively rather than academically, which is my current lot in life 🙂

For those to whom I promised the lyrics to the second verse of More and More:

God, O Great God you are proud of the meek,
And your strength flows to those who admit they are weak.
Spirit, Holy Spirit, you set my soul on fire
But then the peace that you bring is my heart’s true desire.

I will be posting the video of the song from Daniel 2:20-22 as soon as I can. Keep checking back.

Blessings,

Gail

Counting Measures

Counting Measures

Every musician in the orchestra has to know how to do two things: how to make beautiful sounds and how to keep beautiful silences. If everyone played at once the music could not breathe. In those silences the player is not idle, nor drifting, nor detached. He is listening to the other notes, keeping his place in the flow and his eye on the conductor. What you don’t see is that he is counting measures.

There are times when he is playing the notes written on his own score, listening to the other players, carefully matching pitch and tempo and dynamics- playing in harmony. Then there are those brief moments when it is his turn for a solo, for the few bars where his instrument alone is intended to shimmer against the background laid down by the other performers.

The readiness is all. Years of lessons, hours of practice come to the fore when he is called upon to step out alone and let his light shine for a brief but glorious interval. It is the discipline of long periods of just counting measures that allow him to make his entrance and exit at the exact right moment.

During those silent times, when it seems that no one is watching or listening, that the sound of your instrument is not being heard at all, remember that you aren’t idle or sidelined; your place in the orchestra is secure and your notes are essential. Keep your eyes on the conductor while you keep that beautiful silence. Keep counting the measures, enjoying the music that surrounds you ; always leaning slightly forward, ready and able and waiting for your turn.

Taste and See that the Lord is Good: Eating Wisdom

Eating Wisdom Yancey

My son recently finished a book called The Jesus I Never Knew by Philip Yancey. He found much there which stimulated his interest and seemed eager to discuss the book with me once he found out that I had read it. Problem is, it had been 5 or 6 years ago and I now remember not much more than the title and that I had enjoyed it.

He marveled at that bit of news in a sort of disappointed way. “What? How could I have read an entire book and not be able to remember any specific point the author had made? Why even bother to read at all then?”, he wondered.

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