We Do Feet-ed Gimme-fives


Faith Cora and I played addition and subtraction yesterday. It all started when she told me she needed to make some “imbitations” for her friends Jonathan and Vivien (who, I understand, are quite accomplished dancers). I never discerned the event calling for imbitations, but that didn’t deter us. She put smiley faces on railroad tracks, stars on sticks, and signs on zigzags; but near the end, told me that I should finish them because it was too much work.


She’s been counting for a while now and has a pretty good numbers sense; so when I asked her how many there were, she dutifully counted out eight.


She loves new words and, if I purposefully use an unknown interesting one without slowing the conversation, she’ll stop me and ask what that means.


I suggested we take the imbitations and do some addition. She agreed and we began playing “plus” cards and “take away” cards. She’d make the equation, I’d voice it, and then she’d count out the answer. Then I’d make a huge whoop-de-whoop-gimme-five celebration over her correct answers; and she’d gimme-five with her feet. Eventually we did all our gimme-fives using my feet and hers.


Probably the reason my back hurts today.


Then we did subtraction and celebrated with many more feet-ed gimme-fives. We stopped before she got bored; and then she found a safe hiding place for each of her imbitations.


Later, when mommy came to get her, we demonstrated our new addition and subtraction game complete with multiple feet-ed gimme-fives.


That evening when her daddy asked what she and Mama Jan had done that day, she responded, “Oh, we did addition and subtraction”.


I’m pretty sure we nailed some of those learning moments with our feet-ed gimme-five celebrations.


Celebrations are wonderful, but I’ve not reached my brand-new age without learning that life is also full of non-celebratory moments and seasons. However, it makes me smile to know that Jesus, the quintessential Man of sorrows, was also a celebrator of the highest glory order. He whooped-it-up with the very best for last; and everything about his life is worth emulating.


So. My goal is to celebrate all the moments that I possibly can—especially with the people who call me Mama Jan.




“A host always serves the best wine first,” he said.


“Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink,

he brings out the less expensive wine.


But you have kept the best until now!”


This miraculous sign at Cana in Galilee

was the first time Jesus revealed his glory.


John 2:10-11


I Just See Family


It’s official today. My Aunt Doris has lived to be 90. I wrote about her approaching birthday a few weeks ago in “Ready To Go”; and then about my mixed feelings over turning 60 yesterday. She posted a picture of 90 this morning—and told me to feel better about 60.


Beginning 70 yrs ago, seven siblings produced 27 cousins; and 25 remain. Our lives still connect and intersect, by deliberate choice; and it makes me smile when our children and grandchildren call each other cousin. It makes me smile more when our great-nieces and nephews think we’re their grandparents; and first cousins, twice removed, are called uncles.


I just see family; and here’s my response:


Doris, what I see is different from what you see in your reflection. I see family reunions when I was 5 and sand in envelopes when I was 13. I taste lemon meringue pies and hamburgers cooked in the park. I hear years of laughter over funny stories and goofy games at Christmas parties; and I remember tears at funerals. I feel kindred spirit in our love for the Lord and for husbands in heaven; and, best of all, I share anticipation that the best is truly yet to come.


So Happy Happy Birthday today because…



…”No eye has seen,


no ear has heard,


and no mind has imagined


what God has prepared for those who love him.”


1 Corinthians 2:9






So Now I Am 60


Two photo-documented surprise parties—one an entire month before my actual birth date—did away with any ideas I might have entertained about ignoring my 60th birthday. Truth be told, I’d never had a birthday number that bothered me, but I was feeling a little iffy about 60.


God is always good though; and sometimes uses plain language to remind me. So I wasn’t surprised last night when the tightly folded little paper I drew out of my personalized Scriptures jar said:


All the days of your life, Jan,


are written in My special book.

Psalm 139:16


“All” means every single one. So, it must be time to own that particular fear and walk straight away into it.


At my second surprise birthday party, Faith Cora gave me a bright shiny red and silver dangly “60” necklace. She’d picked it out all by herself; and beamed with pride when she handed it to me yesterday and told me to wear it.


I decided this morning that it was probably the perfect necklace to compliment my Sunday morning ensemble; and the grin on her face, when she saw it, confirmed that I’d made the right choice.


She chose our after-church lunch destination and rode with me there. I asked her if she’d like to wear my necklace into the restaurant; and she said, “No, Mama Jan. I really like it, but it’s your necklace to wear”.


And so it is.

Jan 60

Blessings of Present Tense


Then those who feared the LORD

spoke with each other,

and the LORD listened to what they said.

In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written

to record the names of those who feared him

and always thought about the honor of his name.

“They will be my people,”

says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.

“On the day when I act in judgment,

they will be my own special treasure.

I will spare them as a father spares an obedient child.

Malachi 3:17-17


Dec 2012 Israel 3 2