Tuesday, September 23, 2008


In Memoriam

Syble Irene Lee Prescott
November 19, 1924 - September 22, 2008

Wife for 59 years to the late (great!) Pip Prescott

Mother of Sandra (R) and Dona (L)

Grandmother to Bethany (UL), Melissa (UR), Charity (LL), and Maxie (LR); grandmother-in-law to Chad (the guy).

We spent a lot of time like this when I was growing up: making some recipe or other out of her Southern Living Cookies and Candy Cookbook, so anyone who has ever enjoyed my baking knows who to thank :)

I've never claimed poetic pretensions, but here is a rough attempt inspired by my favorite grandmother:


Off to Quanah I am bound,
a place beyond compare.
Summertime was always best,
knowing you'd be waiting there.

You'd say, "Not much to do here.",
which I never understood.
Since all the time I spent with you
enriched my childhood.

Your cookie cookbook, I still have.
We used it through and through.
Each dog-eared page and recipe
reminds me more of you.

We didn't always see eye-to-eye,
like when I'd make a mess.
Or church, when you would try in vain
to get me in a dress.

Together we would always watch
the Golden Girls, our show.
We'd stay up late and have a laugh,
then off to bed we'd go.

The days would blend together,
One long, idyllic run.
Reading, swimming, napping,
regardless, we had fun.

It's hard to be so far away,
and now you're farther still.
I'll be so glad to meet again
and rejoice one day we will.

On to Heaven! Of worldly sorrows,
you have broken free.
When you get there, please give a kiss
to Daddy Pip for me.

Thanks for the time and love. We miss you, Mimi.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Summer's a-comin!

Ha haaaaaaa! At last, monsoon season seems to have ended, and the sun is putting in more than just the occasional cameo. Even better, it's been quite warm for the last few days, and we've been feeling strangely streamlined without our bulky jerseys and gumboots. The weather shift is fortuitously timed, as Kiwis ignore the whole equinox/actual position of the earth's axis thing in favor of declaring their very own first day of spring - in this case, the first of September.

On a side note, we've also learned that they like to play it fast and loose with the concept of daylight savings time here. Last year, some concerned young Kiwi blokes decided we just weren't getting enough daytime hours to see us through the gloomy wet winter. So they put a petition together, got enough signatures in like a day, the government said, "Oh sure." and hey presto: we have three more weeks of daylight savings. Small government does have its occasional rewards.

At any rate, still more indicative of the change of season than a lack of layers, is that we actually put in for our first surf of the season yesterday - beating our last year's start date by a good ten weeks. The reason for such aquatic alacrity is this: previously, we were possessed of only Surfy, our bright red, garage-door-sized, foam-topped wonderboard. While we still love Surfy, we decided to add to our wave-slider collection for the simple reason that we would like to go out surfing together. We actually share our toys with one another quite well, but it gets a bit lonesome whether you're parked on the sand or out in the water. SOOOOOO, last week we scored not one, but two great used surfboards (as yet known only as "your board" and "my board").

Chad's (new best friend) is a 7' 3" Australian-made fish cut:

and mine is a 7' 6" double-stringer Kiwi born-and-bred mini-mal:

I'm cleaning stray bits of wax off the underside with an old Subway customer loyalty card (not cuddling with it or anything), in case you were wondering.

Now having entered the world of fiberglass boards, we are also the proud owners of our first bar of surf wax. Smells coconutty.... mmmmm....but (according to the box) do not eat! Because, you know, I might have been considering it otherwise.

So yeah, we're pretty excited. It seems a little surreal that we're looking forward to our THIRD summer here, but really, it just sucks you in!

Isa 42:10 Sing to the LORD a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.

The End. (get it? ;)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Whatcha Listenin' to?

Last week a group of our Surfside gals attended Sistas (www.sistas.org.nz), the coolest women's ministry event I've ever had the privilege to attend. While I did not make it myself this year, my friends came back buzzing with excitement over all God had showed them in their time of learning and fellowshipping en masse. One story that especially caught my imagination was told by a speaker who spends most of her time on the road appearing at various conferences. Her two little girls simply come with, and have consequently spent their whole lives listening to messages that add value to womanhood - that they are loved and lovely daughters of the King.

Recently, one of the girls got into a kerfluffle with a boy who had the audacity to want to play with the same toy at the same time as she. After a moment or two of fiery conflict, this little fellow thought to shock and horrify his opponent by shouting the most devastating insult in his armory - "You are dumb and ugly!!". Rather than being reduced to tears and flight however, she plopped her hands on her hips, looked him straight in the eye and said, "No I'm not! My daddy says I am intelligent and beautiful!" You go, girl!

With simple faith, this little Princess believed what her father told her, rejecting the taunts of her enemy as lies meant to make her doubt her true worth, lose heart, and back down from her cause. Sound familiar? Have you listened lately to what your Father has to say about you? In Isaiah 43:4 God says, "Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you, I give men in return for you, peoples in exchange for your life." And remember when you hear the insidious whispers that you are "not good enough", "not righteous enough", "dumb & ugly", "never going to get it right", "too much", "not enough", etc, etc, etc, that this passionate declaration was written to a people crushed and scattered for hundreds of years of willful disobedience.

On Friday, I was in the kitchen working on some cooking project or other, when thoughts of past foolish things I had done, or altercations I had been in began literally to assail me out of nowhere. I was feeling doubtful and discouraged over how I'd stuffed up or embarrassed myself time and time again, when the still, small voice I most love to hear piped up: "You don't have to take this! Remember who you are!". At once I began to rebuke the hateful thoughts (out loud for emphasis), telling them to take a hike, as they were not welcome or relevant to me anymore. Immediately I felt peace flood in where just a moment ago had been tension and despair, all because I know the truth, and it set me free. So while it is essential to examine yourself honestly and seek to change when sin is involved, when poisonous thoughts and words seek to tear you down instead of shape and refine you, put your hands on your hips and say, "Don't you talk to me that way!" - attitudial finger snapping is optional.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Happy Father's Day!!

Which is why you didn't get a card in June...

Today is Father's Day in New Zealand, and our (Surfside Church) theme for the event is "Fight Like a Man!" In our feel good, politically correct culture, we have a very confused and watered-down picture of what manhood should really look like. It has profoundly affected even the modern church, where it seems the highest aspiration for our men is to be a docile, tidy sort of nice guy.

But where did we get this idea? From Jesus? Without a doubt, He is the Good Shepherd, who carries the lost lamb home draped carefully over His shoulders. But He is also one who did not shy away from confrontation, who minced no words when it came to the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, and dumped over the tables of the cheats and liars in the temple in righteous indignation. His hands would have been large and rough from His carpenter's trade, and He was probably grubby a lot of the time. He was at once both fully God and fully man.

The Good Shepherd who welcomed little children with open arms is a gentle savior, but being gentle is not the same as being weak. To be devoid of power is weakness. To have power and yet choose to restrain it - this is the gentleness of a man.

The Bible tells us that men are made in God's image - in other words, to resemble him. In C.S. Lewis' novel, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, we see a thinly veiled allegory of Jesus in the mighty lion, Aslan. When asked about Aslan's character, Mr. Beaver replies with surprise that "Of course he isn't safe! But he's good." God's nature is invested in the heart of every man - they are not meant to be tame lions.

So what does fighting like a man look like in the face of today's distorted, diluted manhood? Joshua chapter 1, verses 1-9 give some evidence:

1)Take responsibility - Moses had died, and it was now up to Joshua to take his place in leadership, i.e. professional and family responsibility.

verse 1-2: After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel.

2) Step out - God wanted Joshua to lead the people in taking possesion of the land, but he was only going to give as much as Joshua put forth the effort to claim!

verse 3-4: Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory.

3) Find/embrace the vision - Joshua needed to know where he was going before he could set out; he would accomplish nothing in his life without a purpose or end goal to strive for. He was also going to face opposition in carrying out his God-given mission, as anything worthwhile will never be easy, especially if it is ordained.

verse 5-6: No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.

4) Stay Focused - Joshua would face many distractions along the way, both through obstacles and temptations. He needed to trust that the path God laid out for him was best, and not pursue other ways to attain his goals out of doubt or desire. What might seem wise or innocent enough at first could quickly take him in directions that damage or destroy his calling.

verse 7: Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.

5) Stay in the Word - God had spelled out for Joshua all he wanted of him in heart, mind, and actions. In knowing and following God's word, he would achieve more than he could ever dream or accomplish on his own.

verse 8: This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

And finally
6) Know that God is with you - Joshua set out with an army that was not bigger, stronger, or more skilled than those he was up against. But he had only to obey and trust that the battle was not his alone, and God went with him and gave him the victory as He'd promised.

verse 9: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."


Monday, September 1, 2008

It's great to be a grownup

Believe the hype, kids; it's all it's cracked up to be.

My mother did a good job raising me, and taught me many things wise and wonderful, one of which was not to grow up too fast; cherish childhood, because once you are an adult, there's no going back. Here are a couple of reasons why, even with bills, deadlines, and responsibilities, it's not a total loss...

Saturday, I made hot fudge cookie sundaes for dinner. We were going to eat dessert anyway, so why add the unneccesary calories of a real dinner?

You get to be friends with your folks. If my mom had been here that night, instead of being parentally obligated to veto with "tsk, that's not good for you", she would've been able (and likely!) to say, "right on, pass me a spoon!"

We stayed up until two in the morning on a weeknight to watch the closing ceremony of the Olympic games. Sure, we were shattered the next day for work, but by golly, we got to watch Jackie Chan belting a pop song in Mandarin and David Beckham do the most overrated and lackluster cameo in history - live!

And finally:
The last time I begged and pleaded for a puppy, I got one!