Monday, April 14, 2014

Abating a Bent for Bait

Let your gentleness be evident to all.
The Lord is near.  
... whatever is true, whatever is noble, 
whatever is right, whatever is pure, 
whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable,
~ if anything is excellent or praiseworthy ~ 
think about such things.
Philippians 4:5, 8

It still baffles me how I became the owner of a Smart Phone, though probably not for reasons anyone would readily identify.  I've had ~ plain & simple ~ an adverse, visceral reaction to an inanimate object being labeled a smart anything, as if there were such a thing as a Dumb Phone.  But I now have one; call it whatever you like.

I'm also a Facebooked-Blogging-Twitterer that's Linked-In. Impressed?  That fact ought to garner me, a granny of notable sass, the respect of a lot 20 somethings, though I've yet to detect their notice.  Sass might not be enough.


The thing about all this social media that's most disturbing to me is one particular facet of temptation that comes along with it:  A self-righteous propensity that longs to set someone, or the record straight.  It's bait not easily ignored: a tasty morsel for my maw.

As a self-styled, strategic, self-aggrandized intellectual, I often know better than someone else (not you, of course) what to believe in terms of political spin, biblical doctrine or practice, child-rearing, etc. ~ EXCEPT, that is, when I don't (know, that is).


In the face of dissent, I'd like to think I've grown more gracious, less pompous; more like Jesus.  Maybe not.  


Learning to recognize what is & isn't bait would help.



Don't have anything to do with foolish and stupid 
arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.  
And the Lord's servant must not be quarrelsome 
but must be kind to everyone, 
able to teach, not resentful.  
Opponents must be gently instructed, 
in the hope that God will grant them repentance 
leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 
and that they will come to their senses 
and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken 
them captive to do his will. 
2 Timothy 2:23-26

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lessons from the Land

In a few short weeks, hubby and I will pack up once again and make our way into yet another chapter of life; this time in Okanogan Country.  In all actuality, it's not a place or a city or a county so much as it's a lifestyle.  Time has not much altered the pioneer spirit that lives in the land itself, if not in the people who call it home: cowboys & ranchers & orchardists.  The Colville Indians remain the fulcrum.     

Okanogan Country encompasses miles and miles of mountains & lakes & streams, as well as agricultural and ranch lands.  The domain is situated in the northeast corner of Washington State (the county itself covers 5,281 square miles, making it the 3rd largest county in the U.S.), & runs all the way into the mid-southern habitat of Canada's British Columbia.  Scrub Pine and Sagebrush decorate most landscapes, as do grazing cattle and old, decrepit barns.  The Colombia River puts in an appearance; and, in a much larger way, so too the rivers Okanogan & Methow.



Earlier this week we left our coastal home near Seattle to make the 4 1/2 hour journey to the Okanogan Valley.  This time of year there's absolutely no doubt as to where that realm begins and ends. It's demarcated by a wide array of fruit orchards in full bloom - an assortment of apples, pears, apricots & cherries.  Few are more lush or beautiful than the pear orchard that borders our home on three sides.  We don't own the orchard, but are the blessed neighbors who get to enjoy it without worrying about its care.

A novel thought struck me as we drove to our new property on Monday:  These pear trees remember from year-to-year to set leaves & blooms, and to begin growing in just the right conditions, & at just the right time.   

I mulled over that thought many times during the days of our visit, grateful that God engraved certain things into the creation He crafted.  No one ever need wonder if the pear trees will produce pears, or become disgruntled & decide to produce cherries, or asparagus instead.  They are content to obey their original orders ~ season after season since He first instructed them.  

I have the distinct impression I'm going to learn a good deal from those trees.








Footnote:  It was here in the heart of Okanogan Country, and in the city of Okanogan that my grandparents chose to homestead and raise their family.  It is, no doubt, why my heart feels so at home on this soil even though I never knew these two. However, before my days end, I hope to remedy that.
 





James Elmer & Annie Claire McFadden-Wells 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Determined Digitization

Whoever thought there would come a day when most everything we view would be via a computer, or one of its stepchildren, like the IPAD?  I should have gotten the hint when, as a younger woman, there was a concerted effort to go paperless in the realm of business where I hung my shingle ~ whether in the private sector or Church ministry.  

Today people in business and at home have little cause for record-keeping of the paper type.  Bills are paid online.  Communication takes place by way of emails or texts.  Even the written word is replaced by Kindle and e-Readers.  Digital formatting is the stock-in-trade for just about everything today.

There's the good and the not-so-good of this migration away from all things printed.  I could pen keyboard large tomes about the subject, but I won't.  Today my thoughts are mostly centered on a small, yet beneficial aspect:  the digitization of old photographs.

For some months now I've been scanning hard copy photos into a stand alone, backup hard drive.  Many photos in my collection are faded & worn; some hardly recognizable thanks to the anything-but-colorfast-Poloraids of yesteryear.  It's taking me hours and hours and hours of input, due largely to the Herculean effort to crop, enhance color & identify each one.  All this spans years that reach back to the late 1800s and journey forth to the present.  I've finally made my way into the early 1990s, which is to say I've covered a great deal of ground.  I'm nowhere near finished. 

There's been an unexpected & mostly delightful aspect to said determined digitization:  re-living the past.  In most instances I am warmed, or find myself laughing aloud.  In others, I feel more somber; sometimes sad.  Unbelievably, I can place myself back there, in a specific scene, as if it were happening in the present. What a way to time travel!

My long term goal in reaching the Photo-Finish Line (pun intended) is that all the photos in my possession will be saved permanently.  I will then have the ability to download one photo or many for my family.  No one will be forced to guess at who/where/what is the photo's content after me and those of my generation are long gone. 

Anyway, no deep thought here today.  Mostly I'm marking memories.  Given the project du jour, there are many such to mark.


For instance ...


Dating ... 


When the children were little ...


Our boys (forever seeking to
outdo the other) tying flies.


One of many family dinners 
with our children.


A familiar scene when a
grandbaby heads to Grandma's bathtub.


My sisters & me sorting through my 
mother's documents & photos, 
attempting to figure out what was what. 


Fun times with my sisters
and brothers-in-law (I'm taking
the photo)


Wee me, Mom & sisters
Dolores & Carol.


There's just sooooo many to choose from; and I'm tempted to post hundreds.  Sufficient for now is the blessings brought on by this project.  THEY can't be digitized.


The Lord has been mindful of us ...
He will bless those who fear the Lord,
Both small and great.

May the Lord give you increase
more and more.  
You and Your children.
May you be blessed by the Lord, 
Who made heaven and earth.

The dead do not praise the Lord,
Nor any who do down into silence.
But we bless the Lord
From this time forth and forevermore.
Psalm 115:12, 13-15, 17-18


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Good Inheritance



Nearly all our worldly goods are spread between a barn and a garage.  For the past three months we've been living with the essentials and little more.  It's been a season of change; of waiting, and more waiting.  In fact, it's been a season that's spanned three: Fall, Winter & now Spring.  

I'm no stranger to change.  I may not always be a fan of it, but I've come to appreciate the familiar Recipe that always seems to result in the enlarging of my heart, if not my boundaries.



  • 1/4 part adventure
  • 1/4 part opportunity
  • 1/4 part faith-building
  • 1/4 part exasperation

As with any recipe, ingredients matter.  They're designed to compliment each other in order to achieve a desired outcome.  In a very real sense, they work together for good.  In my life, they have been the means by which God grows me; matures me.  Alter them and risk an undesirable outcome.  Fight them and risk a handicap.

If nothing ever changed, 
there'd be no butterflies. 
~ Unknown

This I know:  I have a good inheritance.  It makes the Season of Change my favorite because it stymies my notions of hunkering down and/or getting rigid; of resisting.  It puts flesh on the bones of what I know to be true:  the best is always future; always yet to come. 

I press on to take hold of that for which
Christ Jesus took hold of me.
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider
myself yet to have taken hold of it.
But one thing I do:  Forgetting what is
behind and straining toward what is ahead,
I press on toward the goal to win the price
for which God has called me heavenward 
in Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 3:12-14  

Friday, March 7, 2014

Best Used By ...

"Teach us to number our days, 
that we may gain a heart of wisdom."
~ Psalm 90:12

This one began with a pedicure; a self-indulgent, somewhat messy, personally applied spa experience at home.  I'm not a nail polish sort of girl, though back in the day I was all prissy over matching nails, makeup & purses.  What was I thinking?!!  

But now the dawn of Flip-Flop Season is soon to be upon us.  Thus today was as good a day as any for my 2014 Maiden Spa Voyage.   


A confession:  nail polish is doomed to the garbage heap if it's in my home. My inspection & selection began with an effort to find something still harboring life.  Most were little more than goo.  I even tried my typical home remedy: a few drops of polish remover (also among the spa antiquities in my larder).  No luck.  Dante's Red, Precious Pink, Latte, Coral Shore, Magenta Magic ~ all of them unsuitable, well beyond their Best Use By dating.


The out-dated goo polish got me to thinking.


Who'd ever think of drinking sour milk long past the Best Used By date on the carton?  Or what about bagged lettuce ~ you know the kind ~ the one that's gone all slimy?   Oh how about the look on the clerk's face when you present a discount coupon expired many months ago?  


What if our lives are like that?  What if there are Best Used By dates for segments of our lives, or blessings, or for seizing opportunities, or ?????  What if saving, or hanging onto to something that ought to have been tossed long ago is hurtful?



"As long as it is day, we must do the
works of Him who sent Me.  Night is
coming, when no one can work."
~ John 9:4

"It is good for a man to bear the yoke
while he is young."
~ Lamentations 3:27

I'm wondering if that's not one reason why God's mercy is new every morning? The leftovers from yesterday, like Manna, have passed their Best Used By date.  That means I can release what was & reach for what is, & is to come.   And you & know, in the absolute sense, that's Jesus Himself.

All this from gooey nail polish.







"This is what the Lord says ~ He Who 
made a way through the sea, a path
through the mighty waters, Who drew
out the chariots and horses, the army and
reinforcements together, and they lay 
there, never to rise a gain, extinguished,
snuffed out like a wick:
'Forget the former things; do not dwell
on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing'!"
~ Isaiah 43:16-19 


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Ministry of Presence



Just the sound of it comforts my soul, The Ministry of Presence. It's a term I heard during a radio program, wherein a young woman was speaking about the power of abiding:  Him with us.  Us with Him. Us with others.  Others with us.  

The young lady had been through a horrific ordeal, and that which comforted her the most was the ministry employed by loving friends who came to sit; to be present.  No preaching.  No sage advice.  No awkward attempts to make sense of it.  

You won't find an advanced degree or certification program for achieving such a Ministry.  It's something acquired, like taste.  And, like so many other acquired tastes, it is often not very savory or sassy at first gulp (think avocados or sauerkraut).  Moreover, it affords no stage, no applause, no money, no recognition what-so-ever. 

On the upside, it doesn't cost a dime.  Yet somehow, in God's counter-intuitive economy, it is valuable beyond calculation.

God is our refuge and strength, 
an ever present help in trouble.
Psalm 46:1

The Ministry of Presence ~ the full implication of Immanuel's love.



... the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
gentleness and self-control.  Against such
things there is no law.
Galatians 5:22

And this is His command:  to believe in the 
name of His Son, Jesus Christ, and to love
one another as He commanded us.
The one who keeps God's commands 
lives in Him, and He is them.  And this is
how we know that He lives in us:  We
know it by the Spirit He gave us.
1 John 3:23-24


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Women Walking with Jesus



It is my great pleasure & privilege to join fellow blogger (speaker, author, counselor/mentor, visionary), Lisa Shaw, and a host of God-loving ladies in the launch of a new arm of Lisa's ministry Women Walking with Jesus.

When Lisa launched this initiative yesterday, I was greatly blessed to learn that she had selected a piece I'd written for the inaugural event. You can read it for yourself by clicking here:  God-Given Credentials.  This is a small sampling from that post:

" ... here's the deal:  You and I are vitally important.  
We are God's best; the crowing glory of His creation; 
His Plan A to reach a lost world.  
He has no Plan B." 

Throughout this and coming months, Lisa will be sharing her own encouragements, as well as posts by the other women affiliated with this new ministry.  I hope you'll drop by her Blog to ponder what's sure to be a wide array of refreshing testimonies.  When you do, it is our collective prayer that you'll come away loving Jesus more.

Friday, February 28, 2014

The Dispatching of Goliath

There's no way we could have known last August just how rugged our daughter's life & the battle to keep it was about to become. Goliath, in the form of Ovarian Cancer looked her square in the eye; hinted at sinister plans; and taunted her with boasts. Emblazoned just over his heart was the word death.

Goliath did not know Molly.

Goliath did not know God.





Late yesterday Molly and her husband Tom met with her Oncologist.  The visit was to be her first post-treatment report since undergoing two major surgeries last Fall, and a regimen of 18 weeks of aggressive & often-times difficult Chemotherapy that culminated just two weeks ago.

The result?  


Molly is Cancer Free

Today we are marveling at the inert, lifeless form of Goliath as it lays, headless, on the battlefield.  A victorious Molly stands over that form, and emblazoned just over her heart is the word life




Then they cried to the Lord
in their trouble, and He saved 
them from distress.
He sent forth His word and 
healed them; He rescued them
from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the Lord
for His unfailing love and 
His wonderful deeds for men.
~ Psalm 107:19-21




P.S.  My personal thanks to the many of you, and in particular, Luther, Judy Martin, Elaine Olsen, Sonja Goodson, Beth Endean, Debbie Petras, & Lisa Shaw, who have stayed tuned, offered encouragement, prayed, emailed, prayed some more, and come to love Molly as we do.  I love you.


To read more about Molly's journey to health, go:
Here:  When Goliath Comes to Call
or
Here:  Caring Bridge Molly Flanagan-Fisher Journal

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cautions, Warnings, Alerts

We've been visited by torrents of rain for a solid 48 hours now; not that I'm complaining.  After all, many across this land are suffering far worse with drought, or ice storms, snow drifts & power outages. 

For the average, run of the mill Washingtonian rain's hardly noteworthy.  And for those who love to ski, it's synonymous with winning the lottery.  What falls in the form of rain down below, falls as snowy powder on high.  Winter here is the skier's happy place.

I never mastered skiing.  It didn't help that I was the victim of arrested development with this particular sport when, at 43 I took my first lesson ~ and that with two other young ladies (operative word = young).  Our handsome, equally young instructor was quick to ensure their success.  Apparently I was invisible; no doubt my white ski jacket didn't help.  From the git-go I didn't much care for the sport.  

Today I was listening to local news on my car radio.  Several times weather reports were given; drivers cautioned to be alert while navigating.  When it came time for the ski reports a different warning was given:  "High avalanche danger.  Stay out of the back country!"  The warning was repeated no less than three times in the course of some 5 minutes.



Sounds reasonable to me ~ someone who's happy to stay out of the front country, not to mention the back country!  But to others it's a dare.  In fact, there are those for whom the back country has such charm that they choose to ignore the winter warnings; the danger. In their minds the thrill of skiing those steep, undisturbed snow courses is worth the risk.  They may or may not be the same people who disregard other warning signs:  Thin ice...  Soft shoulder... Steep grade...  Don't feed the bears... Strong rip tide or under-toe ...     

I'm always saddened when I hear reports of a back country skier, or skiers claimed by an avalanche.  

I could connect so many dots to this one collection of thoughts, but I fear the diminishing return of so doing.  Suffice it to say, when God says, "Danger.  Stay out of the back country.", I best listen.

Some enchantments and thrills just aren't worth it.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Branches & Boughs

We're pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road.
And those who've gone before us light the way,
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary,
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace,
~ Steve Green

When Abigail Warren married Anthony Snow in 1639, little did they know that I would be among the progeny they bore.  They are my 8th great-grandparents.

Abigail is the daughter of Richard & Elizabeth Walker-Warren, the same Richard Warren who was signatory of the Mayflower Compact, and who traveled to America aboard that great vessel in 1620.  He traveled alone, ahead of his family; followed by Elizabeth and 5 of their children in 1623 aboard the vessel Anne.

Abigail was born in 1618, so in 1623 when the Anne sailed she was but a wee child.  She would grow up in the new world alongside her siblings; and eventually she would meet & fall in love with Anthony Snow.  They would marry in 1639, bearing several children ~ among them another namesake by the name of Abigail. 

Collectively these, my kin, would settle in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where they established their homesteads among the many other pilgrims of their day.    

Eventually, Abigail the 2nd would grow up and meet Michael Ford, another Plymouth resident.  They married in 1667, going on to have numerous children, among them yet another Abigail (the 3rd) ~ like her mother and grandmother before her.  

This youngest Abigail would eventually meet Johnathon Grinnell, a descendant among the long, deep lineage of Grinnells/Grenelles from the Argon region of France who settled the Americas far & wide.  His own grandfather, Matthew, had emigrated in 1630, settling & raising his family in Newport Rhode Island.  

In 1698 Abigail would become Johnathon's 2nd wife; his first wife having either died or divorced.  She left her family environs in Massachusetts to live among his in Rhode Island.  In 1711 they would bear their one and only child, Johnathon Jr.  Then, a mere 7 years later, Abigail would die at the young age of 40, leaving a bereft child and husband to mourn her passing and to carry on her legacy.  

From young Johnathon, Jr. would come Nathaniel, the first to leave his home in Rhode Island for New York.  From Nathaniel would come John; and from John, Thomas.  Thomas would give birth to Elisha, and from Elisha came Fred, my mother's father.  Elisha eventually made his way from New York to Wisconsin, and then onto South Dakota, where my mother was born & raised.  

Unbeknownst to the lot of these, and during eras that reached far into a future they could not possibly envision, they had set in motion the genealogical destiny that would ultimately provide for my birth.

All of these particular ancestors derived originally from England; some from Surrey, others from London, and yet others from Dorset.  Much is written in the public record about their adventures and mis-adventures given their close proximity to the early settling of America.  Millworkers & ministers, farmers & homemakers. militia & teachers, they all managed to make their way to a new land and a new hope, never imagining that one day I'd be penning this blog.  

Often I travel my way out onto these limbs; the ones that feel so much like rockabye-baby-boughs beneath me.  When I do, I am mindful of the myriad biblical genealogies recorded for our benefit ~ some to demonstrate how noble & godly were many; some to demonstrate how wicked were others, with the caveat that often one's lineage was a contributing factor in which of those camps you resided.  Yet high above and through it all was (and is) God's advancing purpose; His providential hand in crafting history.



These are the providential means by which I came to be.
Mother (a young girl, standing)
Grandfather Fred (sitting, far left)
Great-grandmother Adelaide (next to Fred)
Great-grandfather Elisha (next to mother, holding child)
Grandmother Etta (holding baby)

The remainder are mother's siblings and/or other relatives.


I realize and cherish the tectonic shift that took place when Jesus made His way, with the Father's sanction, to the cross.  His shed blood forever altered the course of our future, our eternal estate, should we choose (and be chosen) to embrace salvation.  But one bloodline supplanted any and all contenders.  Such a sobering reality.

Even so ... and yet ... my past is my past.  Upon the many branches from which I come I find myself intrigued, awed, mystified.  I can almost see up ahead, just where the branch is about to be pruned (often as I squawk), the names of the new formations forming ever-so-close to my own growth; some that have yet to be born. 

It is truth:  we cannot alter the past, but we can forever impact what lies ahead.  






Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave, 
lead them to believe;
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
~ Steve Green
Chorus 

Knowing where you came from may
help you understand where you are going.
~ Anonymous




Anything & everything you ever wanted to know about the Mayflower:  Mayflower History

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Where's the Beef?

Oh how I miss those sassy grannies who showed up some 30 years ago to lay down the rhetorical gauntlet:  "Where's the beef?".  

These particular ladies were the no-nonsense harbingers of Wendy's (fast food chain) claims about the quality of their hamburgers as compared with their competitor's offerings.  With that one question, they put places like McDonald's, Burger King, Jack-in-the-Box, & others on notice:  Beef matters!  

The point was made ~ plain, simple, clever, powerful, provoking. 

With giggles.




I feel much the same way when I listen to various comments or claims about the Bible and its veracity.  Many a self-styled expert (sadly, some from church leadership among them) would have me believe it's a flawed tome; that it doesn't really mean or say what it means or says.  Worse, they have asked that I set aside the plain sense of God's word to embrace some aberrant form of it.  Some are long on grace but short on truth.  Still others don't give a rip about either. 

In essence, they serve up a burger embellished with lettuce, onions, mayo, relish but sparingly little or absolutely no beef.   

Sound familiar?


Now the serpent was more crafty than any 
of the wild animals the Lord God had made.  
He said to the woman,  "Did God really say
'You may not eat from any tree in the garden'?". 
... "You will not certainly die.", 
said the serpent to the woman. 
Genesis 3:1, 4   

Every word of God is flawless; He 
is a shield to those who take
refuge in Him.
~ Proverbs 30:5

For the word of God is alive and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, 
joints and marrow; it judges the 
thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
~ Hebrews 4:12 

Man shall not live on bread alone, but
on every word that comes from the 
mouth of God.
~ Matthew 4:4 

Beef matters.   



"Truth is the agreement of our ideas 
with the ideas of God."  
~ Jonathan Edwards



Thursday, February 6, 2014

Relevancy

For the better part of three hours I sat, riveted, to this debate between:  


Together these men addressed a meaty & much maligned subject:  the relevancy of the Biblical creation narrative in today's modern & technologically advanced era.  Two guesses who took which side in the debate? (Big cheesy grin)

I don't expect anyone to sit through this three hour juggernaut unless, of course, you feel it worth your while.  There's just way too many worththewhiles in our lives as it is, so one must be judicious in making selections.  

What I will say is that believers need not hide from this Hot Button Issue of origins.  These two passionate men give us a powerful demonstration of how to have the debate with conviction and respect.





Postscript:  This debate aired live on television.  The audience was 800 deep, and included a myriad news reporters from assorted venues.  The post-debate commentary was almost as interesting as the debate itself, with proponents from both sides claiming victory (think football mania).  I didn't see it as a win/lose contest, so I didn't keep score or give a hoot what the media thought.  Yet throughout the discourse this scripture ran through my thoughts:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven 
against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, 
who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 
since what may be known about God 
is plain to them, because God has 
made it plain to them. 
For since the creation of the world 
God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and 
divine nature—have been clearly seen, 
being understood from what has been made, 
so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified 
Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, 
but their thinking became futile and their foolish 
hearts were darkened. 
Although they claimed to be wise, 
they became fools and exchanged the glory of 
the immortal God for images made to look like 
a mortal human being and birds and
animals and reptiles...
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, 
and worshiped and served created things 
rather than the Creator—
who is forever praised. 
Furthermore, just as they did not think it 
worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, 
so God gave them over to a depraved mind, 
so that they do what ought not to be done... 
Although they know God’s righteous decree 
that those who do such things deserve death,
they not only continue to do these very things 
but also approve of those who practice them. 
~ Romans 1:18-32, selected
  

Friday, January 24, 2014

Learning from Dewey



It stunned me when I actually heard from my own prayerful lips:  "Father, I confess that just because I think something is so, it doesn't make it so.  You alone know the end from the beginning.  Forgive me.".  

Long after those words had left my lips they returned again-and-again in a swirl around my brain like a tennis ball in a clothes dryer.  Why oh why had I prayed that; and in that way?

Surely I believe God's word ~ His inerrant word; His recounting of creation & history, His granting of an understanding of His own plans & purposes, His vast sum of promises, His prophetic landscapes?  Indeed, yes.  No question.  No doubt.

So what's the rub here?

I wish I had a complete answer for you.

In truth, I'm still catching the swirls & filing them into some brainiacy facsimile of the Dewey Decimal System.  At times I find a item that I filed under a section or a division, when all along it belonged in a class by itself.  Conversely, I am tempted to make up a class that's nothing more than a division.  

Worse, I have rarely, at times, too often insisted my feelings (emotions) are synonymous with fact, which makes them impossible to file at all.  

The scriptures remind me about & caution me against the folly of flesh that is so common to man (and woman), and that so easily ensnares & corrupts: 


For I delight in the Law of God according 
to the inward man.  BUT I see another 
law in my members, warring again the 
law of my mind, and bringing me into 
captivity to the law of sin 
which is in my members. 
~ Romans 7:22-23 NIV

Since, then, we do not have the excuse of 
ignorance, everything connected with 
that old way of life has to go.  
It's rotten through and through.  Get rid of it!  
And then take on an entirely new way of life 
~ a God-fashioned life ~ 
a life renewed from the inside and 
working itself into your conduct as 
God accurately reproduced His character in you.
Ephesians 4:22-24 Msg


Anyone's that's been to a library benefits from Dewey's organizational skill.  They also know the lunacy of not following the system's protocol:  You may never find or see your item again.  Ever. 

How would one know if they'd fallen victim to such a badly conceived notion?  I don't know about you, but in my case it's that I find, at some point (and not always right away), that I'm wrong.  Dead wrong.  

Thinking, especially wishful thinking, is not faith.  Nor is Magical Thinking (a very real disorder).  Faith truly is in a class all by itself, and all my thinking may or may not belong to the section or division beneath it.  Sometimes it is God alone who knows what is mis-placed, mis-guided & mis-directed, or that needs to be removed entirely from my mind, my thought-life.  

So, my friends, there you have it.  Clear as mud, right?!!  Probably ... but this isn't:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, 
but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  
Then you will be able to test and approve 
what God's will is ~ His good, pleasing 
and perfect will.
Romans 12:2

You will keep in perfect peace those whose 
minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.  
Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord 
~ the Lord Himself ~ 
is the Rock Eternal.
Isaiah 26:3

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, 
and lean not on your own understanding
in all your ways acknowledge Him, 
and He shall direct your paths.  
Do not be wise in your own eyes; 
fear the Lord and depart from evil.  
It will be health to your flesh and 
strength to your bones.
Proverbs 3:5-8

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Make Mine Gypsophila


I will stand at my watch & position myself on the 
rampart, and watch to see what He'll say to me.
Habakkuk 2:1


Since last August my heart's begun to move to a lofty locale in the upper, northeastern part of Washington State.  It's a piece of God's earth well known to me and my family because, back in the late 1800s my Wells kin (James Elmer & Annie McFadden-Wells) migrated from Grand Rapids, Michigan to homestead on Jackass Butte above the Okanogan Valley. 




James Elmer 1862-1919 & 
Annie Clare 1859-1956

My father, the 7th of 10 children, grew up there.  And, with the untimely death of his father (from an abscessed tooth, no less), he helped grandmother Annie manage their homestead, as well as to raise the younger of his siblings.  Two of them, Dad and his sister, Helen (same name as my mother), remained in the area long after the other siblings moved elsewhere.  Eventually Dad would meet & marry another Helen and move further west to Seattle while Aunt Helen married & raised her children in the valley.  That branch of the family tree remains there still.

It's a place of contrasts, Okanogan Country:  stark & inhospitable on the one hand, beautiful & mesmerizing on the other.  A haunt for cattle, indians & cowboys, little has changed since pioneering days.  Scrub Pine, Tumbleweed & Gypsophila (Baby's Breath) decorate the landscape; and rodeos and auctions are routine fare.  Outdoorsmen of every ilk ~ be they locals or city-slickers ~ flock to the hills, lakes, rivers & streams for fishing & hunting forays.  Bake sales & church picnics are routine, all the while boot-clad men head on into town for their morning coffee at the Cariboo Inn, certain the world pivots on the fat chewed over their morning brew. 

This is not a place or people given to lavishes.  Theirs is a humble life, where faith, family & friends are truly at the heart of daily life.  You won't find a mall or many eateries closer than Wenatchee or Spokane, some 2 hours away.  What you will find is an abundance of baseball fields, fair grounds, small churches (every iteration) stock yards, fenced pastures & open range land, and farm supply outlets.  

Over the years I spent a good deal of time with my country cousins.  It began when I was a wee child; when hanging out with four wild & clever boys was the antithesis (& delight) of my prissy & nearly all-female populated world (having but 3 sisters & no brothers).  Eventually Terry was introduced to that home on the range, and was equally smitten with the cousins (and they him) & the land too.  So it is with little wonder we talked often of living there someday.  

Someday has come.




High above the valley floor sits this lovely log roost that will be our next home.  I like to think of it as saghalie ~ a Native American term that means high and holy land (think integrity).  The house is pitched on the ridge directly across from Jackass Butte, actually looking down at it ~ a feature that will allow me to deeply ponder those long ago people & their times.  Surrounded by pear & apple orchards behind & below, it will soon harbor all our worldly possessions  As of this writing it already has a piece of my heart.




I can't help but think how surprised & blessed would be the ancestors long gone.  What drew them well over 100 years ago has now drawn me.   I hope to write much of that common ground, the saghalie sort.  In fact, I've already spied out the perch from which I'll pen those tales. 







Footnote:  While we have purchased the home, several things delay our actual move.  We've targeted April/May.  For now, we sit tight in a lovely little condo not far from our previous home here ~ a home that sold the same day we put it on the market.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Expectsational

"Then Jesus said to his host, 
'When you give a luncheon or dinner, 
do not invite your friends, your brothers 
or sisters, your relatives, 
or your rich neighbors; 
if you do, they may invite you back 
so you will be repaid.  
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, 
the crippled, the lame, the blind, 
and you will be blessed.  
Although they cannot repay you, 
you will be repaid 
at the resurrection of the righteous'."  
Luke 14:12-14


Expectations are funny little creatures.  Often they look, or appear to be cute, fuzzy, cuddly, animated little pets until, on closer inspection, they reveal themselves to be a skunk, or a badger, or a crocodile.  Not so cute after-all.

As I pondered the referenced scripture earlier, it occurred to me that now & then ... sometimes ...  far too often I head off in an ordained direction (worthy of a post unto itself) only to find myself, later, wondering why on God's green earth it didn't turn out as I had expected or prayed, if even it happened at all?  I'm not sure I actually expected a personal reward for my unselfish, obedient service.  Then again ...

"One learns to ignore criticism by 
first learning to ignore applause."  
~ Robert Brault

This I know:  There are things that will not happen here and now, or even as I conceive they ought to be.  They may come later, perhaps in a far different form than I could possibly have imagined.  They may not arrive at all.  I don't understand, and I don't need to understand.

It appears I'm in good company given Luke's telling.  If there's anything certain about God and His ways, it's that He/they are often counter-intuitive.  It's not that expectations in themselves are a bad thing, it's when I make them expectsational that they get all whompy ~ as if I know how this or that should unfold or end, or how God intends to work in any given situation.  Hubris makes of them synonymous with God's own word, while humility leaves the results to Him and Him alone.  

So, though I scratch my head, I totally get that expectations can have fangs and claws, or stink to high heaven (literally).  Best that I ask (whatever) in faith, and leave my own little paws off both outcomes & the taking of bows (the kind that require bending, not the the sort you'd put in your hair).  



What kills a skunk is the publicity it gives itself.
~ Abraham Lincoln