• Happy Mother's Day, especially to my own mom, Esther Smith.  She's spending most of the day today with my dad, who is continuing to make progress (slowly) after a stroke last month.
  • Happy Mother's Day to two daughters who are new mothers in just the past year: Alison, who had her first baby (Isobel)  last September, and Scarlette, who had her second baby (Maple) in March.
  • There was no Sunday letter the past two weeks, due to several additional projects I've taken on... as well as some plain old exhaustion...a typical feeling I have this time of year...just past Easter Sunday. Today's essay gives .way to a photo from our front porch.  I hope to return to writing you more next week.
  • We went to Holland, Michigan with Scarlette, Tristan, Tristan's parents (visiting from China) and grandchildren Sean and Maple this past week...the annual tulip festival.  
  • Jie leaves for China tomorrow for her annual trip.  She will return June 21.  It will be the first time she will be able to see her dad since he was hit earlier this spring by a van.  He is doing much better...and we are looking forward to her being able to see firsthand how he is doing.
  • Mindy has been cast as Kate in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew that will perform at the Station Theater in Urbana June 6-9, 12-15, and 19-22.
  • Reading The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks.  It is a well written novel that lures you into making assumptions...then surprises you with a narrative that isn't at all what you thought. A challenging but fun read.

May  12, 2019
Front Porch

I saw a basket of yellow petunias at the grocery store last week...felt the impulse, put it in the cart, and bought it for eight bucks.

When I got it home, I hung it on our front porch...and hoped I would remember to water it...having been out of the practice since last fall of watering outdoor plants.

When I took it down for its first watering, I saw a perfect bird's nest amidst the flowers...so perfect it looked like it had been crafted by someone at the store.  But I couldn't remember it being there when I made the purchase.

Yesterday I took the flowers down again to water them.  And this was the situation:

 I continue to be amazed at the joy all mothers continue to bring into our lives.

Happy Mother's Day.  --Mike

 The Sunday letter is something I have done now for over 20 years.  It is a disciplined musing:  mindfulness, memory, and imagination.  I write it when I first wake up on a Sunday morning and then share it with the congregation.  The letter you see published here is usually revised from what the congregation receives.  This discipline of thinking and writing puts me in the place of describing rather than advising.  It prepares me to proclaim the gospel rather than get preachy with the souls who will sit before me.  --JMS


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