Saturday, January 24, 2015

But God

As I was reading through the dramatic life & times of Jacob (soap opera extraordinaire), I settled in on the passages associated with his abuse at the hands of his father-in-law.  In so doing, I zeroed in on their contentious exchange ~ the one that had brewed for 20 years ~ as well the conjunction that put it all into perspective:   


"... you would surely have sent me away
empty-handed.  But God ...".  
(Genesis 31:42)  

I've seen it countless times in scripture.  In fact, if I fast-forward 19 chapters I can see it again in one of the most notably profound passages; an exclamation by Jacob's own son, Joseph, directed at his jealous, impetuous & murder-bent brothers:  


"You intended to harm me, 
but God intended it for good to 
accomplish what is now being done, 
the saving of many lives."  
(Genesis 50:20).

Satan thwarts Eden's promise ... But God ...
Sarah is barren ... But God ...
Jacob is a deceiver ... But God ...
Hannah is barren ... But God ...
The Prophets of Baal are murderous ... But God ...
Rahab is a woman of ill repute ... But God ...
Ruth is a widow and not Semitic ... But God ...
Haman (& Hitler) had the perfect plan to annihilate the Jews ... But God ...
David is in Saul's crosshairs ... But God ...
Peter's locked behind prison walls ... But God ...
Jesus lay dead in a grave ... But God ...

The fact is, absent gadgets or mirrors, none of us can see around corners or through mountains.  Come to think of it, I cannot always see even in the known of the clear light of day given my human short-sightedness (literally & figuratively). God has no such constraint.  

I've watched & prayed for several years now while someone dear to me has struggled with being unemployed, then under-employed. There haven't been sufficient funds for many of the needful things of life.  It has stressed & strained the very fabric of that family, seemingly a never-ending struggle.  Several near misses in terms of job opportunities served only to etch deep grooves in their sense of cynicism until, that is, several weeks ago a new day unfolded.  A new job; a better income.        

But God ...


In my life and yours there have been countless times, especially if you've lived long, that were (or are) bleak and difficult.  Some of those times were utterly hopeless.  Taunting tears & fears threatened.  We were touched by the hideous sting of discouragement; maybe even despair.  Then somehow or some way a new perspective took root, or an end to that awful thing arrived. Fresh air blew the stench clean away.


But God ...


So today as I look at so many concerning items in the world of loved ones, of our nation, of radical ideologies, of the economy, of my own advancing age & so much more, I take comfort.  Rarely, if ever, do I get to fill in the blank that follows but God with an item of my own choosing, but I can trust that whatever is penned there is by His own hand. 


But God ...






Monday, January 19, 2015

11th Hour Wins



It's not whether you get knocked down;
it's whether you get up. 
~ Vince Lombardi

Nobody who ever gave his best regretted it.
~ George Halas

I confess to being a fair-weather sports enthusiast.  I'm not into most of it, yet I find it hard not to join the 12th Man and champion my Seahawks (notice the possessive form there ...).  

Yesterday's game played against the Packers was nothing short of stunning.  In what some have called a miraculous turnaround (and it was all of that), they traded their Underdog status to Overdog, opening wide the portal to playing the Superbowl. 





Often sports is used as a metaphor, with little wonder why.  People like Knute Rockne, Vince Lombardi & John Wooden are but a few that are quoted, cataloged & copied.  Then there's the dynamic men & women who play the game, any game, garnering our deep admiration or disdain: Think Kurt Warner, Arthur Ashe, Ted Williams & Magic Johnson, or think O.J. Simpson, Lance Armstrong & Tiger Woods. Rising & plummeting stars can be seen by the myriads in all of life.

So yesterday's game left me hoarse & proud. It also left me pondering the metaphors of life that came with that win.  A few ... 

  • The opponent (think enemy, the world) can play the better game and still not win.
  • Often nothing of consequence happens while on the defensive.
  • When the offensive wakes up, things happen.
  • One man CAN make a difference, but unity & team play matters.
  • It's never over until it's over so it's never too late to begin again.
  • Stunning 11th hour wins are possible no matter how bleak the outlook or how loud the naysayers.

One man practicing sportsmanship is far 
better than 50 preaching it.
~ Knute Rockne

In reflecting on the process of yesterday's plays & win I have new insight & momentum for tackling some of those things that stand between me & my own touchdowns.  In this business of living, the ultimate Super Bowl is ours for the taking.  

Therefore, let's do this!!


Your biggest opponent isn't the other guy. 
It's human nature.
~ Bobby Knight

Do not let what you cannot do interfere
with what you can do.
~ John Wooden


Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a 
great cloud of witnesses (our team)
let us throw off everything 
(move from a defensive to an offensive position) 
that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.  
And let us run with perseverance the race 
marked out for us (follow the coach's instructions)
fixing our eyes on Jesus, 
the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom 
that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, 
and so worship God acceptably 
with reverence and awe ... ".  
~ Hebrews 12:1-3, 28


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Primary Colors

The only thing worse than being blind 
is having sight but no vision. 
~ Helen Keller




Imagine the Crayola world of a child.  Regardless of age or prowess, and with little need to be adroit they can conjure a world of squiggles and stickmen to rival Picasso; squiggles that translate to a castle or space flight or a talking dinosaur; squiggles that adorn a refrigerator as if the Louvre.   

From a platform of red, green and blue every other color in the spectrum is born.  Those three and their offspring are the humble servants of a child that needs little more to bring life to their own visions.   

Be it one color or hundreds, every single hue derives from the trichromatic of red, blue and green.  I'd find that hard to believe were it not for the fact that I've held in my own hands a paint color spectrum ~ you know them, the sort we'd find at Home Depot and that are used to figure out what color to paint a wall, or which shade matches an already existing color.  

The trichromatic principle is a fact in Crayola's world; the one seen with the eye.  But it's also true in the spiritual realm, seen only with the heart.   Think about it ... From faith, hope & love come every good and noble feature of the inner man.  Mix various doses of any or all of them to come up with a spectrum of color that includes such hues as patience, or forgiveness, or self-control.

As a child, once I learned there were far more Crayon shades than the 24 to which I'd been limited, I was not happy until I had a box of 120 for my very own.  I'm working on that still, trading the trichromatic world of Crayons for the equally trichromatic world of the spirit; and wondering just how many new shades of faith, hope & love are even possible. I want them all!  Because I know those three and their offspring are the humble servants of a child that needs little more to bring life to their own visions.  



Vision is the art of seeing 
what is invisible to others.  
~ Johnathan Swift








Primary colors are sets of colors that can be combined to make a useful range of colors.  For human applications, three primary colors are usually used since human color vision is trichromatic. And the three colors that fall within each of the human cone cell sensitivity range are red, green and blue. 

Wikipedia:  Primary Colors



Thursday, January 1, 2015

Well Hello There Empty Canvas

As I crafted my So Long 2014 post I included a comment that I want to keep front & center as I begin applying color to 2015's canvas:  "The process of setting goals must be infused with humility."

Come to think of it, the epicenter of that comment is actually what I want to keep front & centera, & well in focus:  Humility.   Now there's a crayon I could use more often.    





I don't have a Bucket List, but there are things I very much want to do or achieve while I am among the living ~ and all the more so as the #70 is now clearly within view. Thus it shook me a bit when I realized how many of those things involve some form of vanity or another.  The list is too long to itemize so you'll have to trust me; it's a crayon I've pulled out & used far too often. 

But here we go, friends ... the first day of a new year.  I almost hesitate to step out as if I'll muss up new fallen snow or draw outside the lines.  Then again, some of my most precious masterpieces are the ones that were born in those ways.







"Come now, let us settle the matter,"
says the Lord.
"Though your sins are like scarlet
they shall be as white as snow;
although they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land ... "
Isaiah 1:18-19


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

So Long 2014







This year began with many questions looming large.  A few: 

Would our daughter beat Ovarian Cancer?
Would our dream to live in rural America materialize?
Would retirement finally come for hubby?
Would our youngest son finally find suitable employment?
Would our energy stores be sufficient for unfolding demands?
Could I actually train a puppy?
Would we find & enjoy a new Church?


Those and many other questions have been answered ~ at least in part, and largely in the positive (if not the powerful).  I am grateful. 2014 has been a mixed-bag year; a year of tears & frustration; of excitement & joy, of fits & starts & dead-ends; of holding on & letting go; of new adventures & exciting projects.  Yes ... a mixed bag.  



So, as I begin to pack away 2014 along with the glitter of Christmas, I find myself wondering about 2015.  It is the first year in many that I find myself with few, if any, real plans or goals.   That actually gives me pause as I've long subscribed to Benjamin Franklin's perspective:  If you fail to plan you are planning to fail.  

Come to think of it, it's a bit scary to step onto a clean, white canvass with nary a vision or thought in sight about what's to be painted there.    

Thus it is my hope & prayer that I will continue to hear God's voice in the days to come; that I will walk decidedly & courageously in the direction He leads; that it will continue to be my heart's desire to be at the center of His will; to overcome anything that sabotages that initiative (I could write a tome on that subject alone).   

When all else fails, it is always good to begin at the beginning because He is forever & always in residence there (Genesis 1:1, John 1:1).  In the beginning God ...  


However, just because we've done our planning
doesn't guarantee our goals will be met.  The process
of setting goals must be infused with humility 
~ See James 4:13-14

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gates.
~ Proverbs 30:29-31








Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas







From here in my little corner of cozy
I wish you and yours a very 
MERRY CHRISTMAS ~

As we moved forward into 2015
I pray it will be a year of 
growth & grace for all of us.


****** Kathleen ******



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

What Does it Matter?

"I am the Alpha and the Omega",
says the Lord God, "Who is, and Who was,
and Who is to come, the Almighty."
~ Revelation 1:8




I wonder how often I've heard the question:  "What does it matter?".  Hundreds of times, no doubt.  It's quite likely the largest portion of such challenges came from the lips of my very own teenagers when, long ago, they lived at home.  I can hear it still:  "Mom (in indignant huffs), what does it matter if I do it today or tomorrow?" Or, "What does it matter if my bed's made or not?" And then there's the now famous, equally indignant response from Hillary Clinton when questioned about the tragedy in Benghazi, "What difference does it make?

One would think many matters do not matter from those of us who have a different take on what really matters.  (Did you get all that?) 

By definition matter is both a noun and verb.  As a noun, it can have physical properties or be a specific topic.  But as a verb, it becomes something quite different, something synonymous with a consequence, or of significance or import.  Matters matter.  

In our increasingly secular and socialized world, many things that once mattered greatly are now relegated to the What does it matter? Pile; and some rightly so.  After-all, what does it matter if I eat fish on Friday or not?  Then again, all too many precious & priceless matters have been relegated to the same Pile. 


  • What does it matter if I read/study my Bible or not?
  • What does it matter if the 10 Commandments are posted in the public sector?
  • What does it matter if I regularly attend church?
  • What does it matter if I do this or that (something known to be immoral or unethical) since it doesn't affect anyone but me?
  • What does it matter if I have an understanding of Bible prophecy?
  • What does it matter if I don't forgive _______?
  • What does it matter which God you believe in?

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera

In recent days, during the Advent season that would have me preparing Him room, I've been considering (and convicted) by the question:  "What does it matter if I seek first His Kingdom?"   It's a perfect segue to the coming of The King.


For the Son of Man is going to come in 
His Father's glory with His angels, 
and then He will reward each person 
according to what he has done.  
~ Matthew 16:27 

So, as this Advent season draws to a close I am giving much thought to that greater Advent that is today and every day until we see the literal whites of His eyes.  Preparing Him room doesn't end with this or any Christmas season.  And that matters.



You also must be ready, because the Son of Man 
will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.  
~ Luke 12:40





... He was taken up before their very eyes, 
and a cloud hid Him from their sight.  
They were looking intently up into the sky as 
He was going, when suddenly two men dressed 
in white stood beside them.  
"Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you 
stand here looking into the sky?  This same Jesus, who 
has been taken from you into heaven, 
will come back 
in the same way you have seen Him go into heaven."
~ Acts 1:9-11






Joy to the World!

MERRY CHRISTMAS



Monday, December 15, 2014

Back Roads Living

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger,
or more complex, and more violent.  
It takes a touch of genius ~ and a lot of 
courage ~ to move in the opposite direction."
 E.F. Schumacher


Most you know I'm a word junkie.  It's not necessarily big words I gravitate towards, but the little-used ones that are packed with meaning; that make me think.  Well, now I want you to know that I'm a photo junkie too.  

In my computer is a file I've titled:  "Pretties & Sentiments". That's where I house hundreds of lovely things I've grabbed or scanned from various sources.  I can go there anytime and fill up on the sensory reminders of the indefatigable glory & goodness of God. You know what I mean.  It's the sort of glory displayed in great & small ways before our very eyes if & when we look.

Today I want to share just one photo among the many.  Not only is the snow scene lovely & inspiring, but the sentiment noted resonates with me on so many levels.  After all, I have chosen to live on life's back roads literally.

So grab your mittens & a warm blanket, and climb aboard to join me on a quiet meander in the snow.  The only sounds we'll hear are the muffled plopping of the horse's hooves on the crunching snow beneath them, and the strain of our carriage as wood & metal & leather obey their gait.  Sweet.   


Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!  


Life is simpler on the back roads.





"Eliminate physical clutter.  More importantly, 
eliminate spiritual clutter."
~ Terri Guillemets

"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
~ Leonardo da Vinci

I rejoiced greatly in the Lord ... for I have learned
to be content whatever the circumstances.
... I have learned the secret of being content in
any and every situation ...
Philippians 4:10-12 (portions)




P.S.  Many of your photography skills are prolific, which is why I thoroughly enjoy visiting your Blogs.  One in particular stands out as I write about the sort of scenes that bless us by their beauty and simplicity, and that's Just a Little Something hosted by my friend Judy.  Go see for yourself ...    

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Naked & Unafraid

I confess:  I watch far too much television.  My viewing proclivities range anywhere from large doses of Hallmark movies to a periodic Say Yes to the Dress.  I'm a huge fan of British programming ~ Downton Abbey and Monarch of the Glen among my favorites.  I find it difficult to pass up anything about nature, so National Geographic and PBS often have me popping in.  But nothing ... absolutely nothing prepared me for exposure to Naked and Afraid (pun intended).

It was quite by accident that I stumbled onto said program.  In case you've never done so yourself, here's the premise:

"Two complete strangers (a man and a woman) 
meet in a very unique way:  They're stranded 
in a dangerous, desolate location without food 
and water, and they're completely naked.  
Each episode follows the two as they attempt 
to survive on their own for 21 days, 
with nothing but one personal item each ... ".

Seriously?  That's someone's idea of great television viewing?

Well, I further confess that I watched the entire episode, grateful that producers provided a modicum of viewing decency by blanking out private body parts.    

So why am I telling you all this?  Because I see in the story line an eerily familiar condition for all of us.  The world is, indeed, a desolate and dangerous location.  There's a life lesson associated with anything labeled "dangerous" for the believer ... 

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, 
but against the authorities, against the cosmic powers 
over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces 
of evil in the heavenly places."  
~ Ephesians 6:12 

"Do not love the world or the things in the world.  
If anyone loves the world, the love of 
the Father is not in him."  
~ John 2:15

Roaring lions stalk our every step with dogged & determined ferocity.  We are ~ know it or not; like it or not ~ naked and vulnerable.  But, unlike the aforementioned reality TV program, we need not be afraid.   Unlike those uncovered characters, we are covered.

I look back upon the years of my sojourn here.  Far too many of my steps were calculated; anything BUT transparent or vulnerable.  It mattered too much to me what others thought of me.  In a sense, I attempted to cloth myself in ... well ... you name it:  Appearances (how I looked), good doings (works before men), camouflage (hiding the real me or my flaws), and the like.  I have vestiges of those things lingering in my flesh still, but this I know: I am no longer afraid to be who I am, confident that God's got that covered too.  

Begin naked before Him is the freedom He grants me, and that allows me to be real among my fellow sojourners.  

Life lessons show up in the strangest of places, even whacky television programs.




"I am the vine; you are the branches.  
Whoever abides in Me and I in him, 
he it is that bears much fruit, 
for apart from Me you can do nothing."  
~ John 15:5

"... he who was born of God protects him, 
and the evil one does not touch him."
1 John 5:18

Monday, November 17, 2014

An Era of the Uncompulsed


I need to get busy on my blog.

I should pay a visit to my friends in the blogosphere.

I need to figure out what I'm going to blog about.

I wonder if I'll ever get back to blogging?

I wish I felt like blogging.

Can a blog collect dust or rust?

I miss my favorite bloggers.

... and on and on it goes.


It's been many weeks since I put in an appearance here.  Instead, I've been settling into rural America, raising a puppy (Maizie, who is now 5 1/2 months) and shifting yet another retirement gear.  Had anyone told me just five years ago that I would actually want to move at a snail's pace I'd have laughed. But now I snail on ...

Many were the years, especially as I raised children & worked full time that my life resembled that of a Circus Performer.  I was forever just one breath aware from implosion, balancing ten tiny tea cups on pencil-thin sticks while simultaneously juggling bowling balls.  I still can't believe I survived it.  Such were the days now long gone.

As I was driving the vast four miles between home and town the other day it occurred to me that I am completely free of compulsions or, to be exact, I'm uncompulsed.  My mind ruminates on the above thoughts and many others with nary a sense of urgency or guilt.  I sift & sort, looking for ways to make these days rich & sweet.  Such sifting often entails the baking of cookies, or a walk in the nearby orchards with said puppy, or a nap.  

My mother would be apoplexed (yes, I'm aware that isn't a real word, but it fits) at my choices.  In the world in which she grew up, as well as the one in which she raised we four girls, to move snail-like was synonymous with lazy.  She never left anything undone, Industrious was her middle name.  God forbid anyone should nap.  

I hardly feel lazy.  Thinking, sifting and sorting can be quite exhausting.  

There is much I hope to accomplish in the coming days, weeks and years.  I'm not done with the blogosphere or writing.  In fact, I hope to spend many, many hours penning a tribute to family.  I have many dreams and an equal number of projects ~ a goodly number of which may accompany me to the hereafter should I not get to them in the here and now.  I'm totally OK with the undone.

What's precious to me at this moment is the freedom to pace myself, to savor the moment, and to pack away those tea cups & bowling balls for good.

Amen.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The Lord of Fires


Wherefore glory ye in the Lord of fires
even the name of the Lord God of Israel ... 
~ Isaiah 24:15


Temperatures here are beginning to dip nightly into the low 40s. Soon the plummet will continue downward into the 30s and 20s. This is snow country, and one can even expect a few bone-chilling days in the teens.  The how to of staying warm obviously becomes relevant. 

It's been a long while since we owned a wood burning fireplace, but here in rural, cold America they are common fare.  From pretty contraptions that match fine decor to pot-bellied stoves and everything in between most folks in this valley put them to good use.  Since we are now among them, we plan to do likewise.  So I've been preparing for those declining, numbing numbers.

In years gone by my husband and I would trundle to the trees, chainsaw at the ready, to cut our own firewood.  We loved the entire process of tramping through the wood, kicking through newly fallen leaves ~ some dry & crispy; others beginning to decay ~ sniffing out the profusion of organic scents, finding the right tree, then cutting & hauling log rounds home.  Those forays typically entailed flannel shirts, warm gloves, boots & a dose of hot cocoa. That was long ago when we had a limber lumbar for lumber. Today we pick up the phone and order it instead ~ hot cocoa in hand, of course.   

No matter how it arrives, I always enjoy surveying those parts of the yard where cord wood is stacked.  It's as if I've given winter the green light to begin in earnest; a sort of neener-neener.  It gives me a sense of security.  I feel ready.  

It has occurred to me that getting & staying warm and raising a fire has linkage to my growth and/or effectiveness as a believer, too. Wood ~ fuel ~ is but one provision for being ready.  One cannot get too secure or too complacent too soon, if ever.  There's much more to consider, not the least of which is the kindling necessary to spark a fire into a flame.

  • "Is is possible that the seemingly dry spells in my life are highly flammable & necessary for a burst of flame?"
  • "What sort of tinder in my life am I fanning?"  
  • "Am I looking for a quick light, an easy fire; or am I willing to submit to the tougher burn?" 
  • "Once the kindling's caught fire, what fuel have I given it to burn?"
  • "Am I in for the slow burn, or do I burn-out, fizzle quickly?"
  • "Is the aroma of the burn pleasing & useful to God?"

These & like questions have rolled through my thoughts like waves upon the shore as I ready for winter.  They're not intrusive thoughts, just persistent.  And I know they're important; which is why I am prayerfully considering each as I consider/gather the right stuff for a blaze: the sort of tinder that's meant to bless as it burns.






But thanks be to God, who always leads
us as captives in Christ's triumphal
procession and uses us to spread the 
aroma of the knowledge of Him everywhere.
For we are to God the pleasing aroma of
Christ among those who are being saved
and those who are perishing.
To the one we are an aroma that brings death;
to the other, an aroma that brings life.
~ 2 Corinthians 2:14-16



I remind you to fan into flame the 
gift of God, which is in you through 
the laying on of hands.  
~ 1 Timothy 1:6


These (trials, kindling) have come so that the 
proven genuineness of your faith 
~ of greater worth than gold, 
which perishes even though refined by fire
may result in praise, glory and honor 
when Jesus Christ is revealed.
~ 1 Peter 1:7


Behold, I have refined thee, but not
with silver; I have chosen thee in the 
furnace of affliction.
~ Isaiah 48:10



Thursday, September 25, 2014

H2O Lessons



I grew up with webbed feet, having lived most all of my days in the drizzly Pacific Northwest.  As children we learned to play in the rain.  Rubber boots and a rain slicker made possible all manner of H2O adventures; and even my walk to school was a charmed & charming experience.  The rough-and-tumble sort didn't bother to cover their heads.

Yesterday the wind picked up and something in the air clearly spelled change.  The organic scent of recently fallen & now decaying fruit laced the air.  Dirt & dried grass competed for olefactory supremacy ~ all of it carried here-and-there upon an Autumn breeze.  Rain drops eventually joined the convention, becoming torrential with each passing hour.  At once I was a child again, remembering the-rain play of yesteryear as well as the inspiration unique to the changing seasons.

At one point I donned my rubber boots & hooded jacket. I leashed up the furball in residence and away we went. She seemed to enjoy the kicking of leaves as much as I did, though I did not share her enchantment with worms ~ those slimy, squirmy Lumbricina summoned to the surface by a too much saturated earth.  Just beyond the fenced orchard in which we reside we encountered deer, three of them.  We must have been up-wind because they paid us no heed, continuing as they did to rob the neighbor's deer-proof, fenced orchard of as-yet unpicked apples.  I giggled a bit before "shoo'ing" them away.

The return trip brought a lump to my throat.  I was saddened to think that so many unsung, rainy days have long since passed from my life; my childhood but a fading chapter in my story.  How much of the rainy realm have I disdained as an inconvenience, or as an ugly substitute for the glories of summer?  How often have I missed an opportunity to kick leaves or watch grazing animals, even naughty ones through the mist?  How many years has it been since I owned, much less wore rubber boots & a slicker?  

"Too long!", I concluded; "too long".

So now I'm gathering up my rain gear once again to see what I might discover in today's downpour.  I hope it won't include worms.



" ... rejoice in the wisdom of a Father's heart 
and richly enjoy what is handed you day-by-day; 
that is the secret of life." 
~ Ray Stedman





What was a torrent only 
moments ago is now passed.
~ Me

Friday, September 12, 2014

Life at the Lodge

While the earth remains, seed time and harvest, 
and cold and heat, and summer and winter, 
and day and night shall not cease.
~ Genesis 8:22


Life in our little corner of the world couldn't be richer or more diverse.  The sweltering days of summer have suddenly morphed into the organically scented & cool air of Fall.  Temperatures have plummeted from 85/65 to 75/35.  My choices of attire have made an equally decided change as well.  Flannel shirts, sweaters & clogs occupy the space where once capris, sleeveless shirts & Flip Flops resided. 

The newest aspect of our lives is Maizie, the Labrador, Border Collie puppy that took up residence with us four weeks ago.  Nine weeks old when I picked her from the litter, she is definitely a treasure; & a smart treasure at that!  I probably needn't outline the work associated with having and raising a puppy (think toddler), but suffice it to say she is rarely out of sight.  I thought long & hard about having a dog since I'm allergic to them; cats are worse. However, I've yet to have an allergic reaction thanks to Zyrtec.    

What's more, we've found a Church home and have begun to sink roots.  Little-by-little we're meeting people, checking out Home Groups (aka cell, life or small group) & making our way around to determine where best to serve.  It's bound to be a bit of culture shock for us, going from a large body (2,000+) to one that's 250 people.  But that's what we signed on for given our choice to live rural.

It's also been a summer of company & more company.  We've thoroughly enjoyed the many opportunities to share our home & hearth almost every weekend since we moved here.  

Right now the valley is abuzz with all things harvest.  Huge trucks
filled with apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, apricots and assorted vegetables are making their way to the local processing plants.  Just yesterday the last of the pears in the orchard below us were picked.  Did you know that Bartlett pears are picked early, in late July (rock hard & green); while D'anjou pears are picked late?  Me neither.


Indeed, the Lord will give what is good, 
and our land will yield its produce. 
~ Psalm 85:12

We've even got our very own mystery to solve.  Deer aren't welcome on the property due to the orchard environs we call home. Thus a 12' high fence borders not only our 1.5 acres, but the 10 around us. Even so, deer tracks have been spotted (thanks to Maizie), and a newly planted Cedar is absent a few boughs. Hmmmmm


And then there's the county fair ~ a truly Norman Rockwellish event free of all things commercial. Sheep, goats, chickens, bunnies, cows, pigs & ponies were either decked out or displayed in festive finery.  





The same is true of locally grown vegetables & fruit.  The only commercial venue was allotted to tractors & harvesters (with hubby secretly wishing he could have one).  We took a thorough sweep and were done within two hours.  From our home on the ridge above the city & fairgrounds we could hear the Gospel & Country Western singers late into the evening.  What an oddly beautiful juxtaposition.


And the seed whose fruit is righteousness 
is sown in peace by those who make peace.
~ James 3:18

I'm not fond of long blog posts, & I'm way past my own, personally established boundary lines.  Time to offer a farewell. But I'll be back; and for sure I'll be dropping in on you.

May each aspect of Fall serve to bless you as they have me; and may those blessings inspire both of us to bless others.




Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Pros & Cons of Camouflage

It happened so fast it was a near miss.  

Me:                Oh, oh ... Slow down.  Look over there.

Husband:       Which there?

Me.                There, in that jumble of bushes. 

Husband.       What jumble?

Me.                The one that HAD the deer in it.

Husband:       What deer?





It was rather funny, actually.  I so wanted my husband to see what I was seeing, but to no avail.  Either I was not clear in the way I communicated, or he was blind to it, or the opportunity to comprehend the event had passed.  By the time he computed that jumble was synonymous with thicket, the deer was nowhere to be seen.

That got me thinking.

Isn't sin like that?  Doesn't it cleverly camouflage itself against the backdrop of all that is normal, as if blending into the landscape of life, or in an attempt to evade detection?  Isn't it hard to get people to see what's hurting them (or others, because of them) sometimes, even when we do our level best to describe what and where it is (without being critical, of course)?  Isn't that same stuff hard to see in ourselves at other times?  

If anyone had asked my husband if there was a deer in the bush during our park visit, he'd have said "no".  But whether I described it well enough or not, or whether he saw it or not, that camo-wearing Odocoileus Hemionus was alive & well in the jumble.  

Just thinking ...


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Who's Gonna Fix This?



RANT WARNING

Even though I'm somewhat sequestered from the more worrisome aspects of life: heavy traffic, violent crime, financial woes, etc., the television (and my own flesh) ensures I not become entirely immune.   Emblazoned in cinematic detail (under the often mis-guided notion of news) are troubles beyond comprehension.  I find myself chewing rocks & throwing stones, only to retreat in facile frustration.  

Horrific natural disasters and their aftermath make for much work among FEMA and Red Cross organizations.  Wars and rumors of wars call for no little wringing of hands.  Epidemics and plagues seize lives with no apology, and the CDC works overtime to ensure nothing truly hideous takes root in America. On some continents we see or hear of starving children; and, what's worse, the beheading of those children.  We cry because there's no way to get food or aid to them; no way to stop the hideous slaughter.  We ponder the implications of nations surrounding Israel with a bent towards total annihilation.  

It all conspires ~ rightly or wrongly ~ to give the impression of perilous times.  

Surely someone's to blame for all this?

Surely someone needs to and/or can fix it?

Such questions and their ilk bring out the pointing, wagging fingers. Regretfully I confess that, at times, my own are among them.

Not long ago I listened as several of our more robust talking heads ascribed escapism to Christians ~ as though the Christian worldview were a panacea for that which I highlight above and more.  Even so, I balked at the dumbing down of the biblical worldview in favor of what:  government?  guesswork?  green thumbism?  

  • This one thinks the government ought to fix things (more power; more control; go to war; exercise diplomacy; retreat; etc.).
  • That one thinks I ought to fix things (higher taxes). 
  • Another believes that that other nation (fill in the blank) ought to do something (employ democracy, kill/oust their leader, feed their own people, etc.)
  • Still others look to Hollywood or sports figures for advice.

The list goes on and on.  Talk about escapism ...

I need this reminder today for myself.  Man does not have man's answer.  Never did.  Never will.

Still ... we labor while it is yet day; we do what we can as good stewards; and we wait while night descends even as we wait for the return of Jesus.  We look up. 


"Teacher", they asked, 
"when will these things happen?  
And what will be the sign that they are 
about to take place?"

He replied:  
"Watch out that you are not deceived.  
For many will come in my name, 
claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.'  
Do not follow them.  
When you hear of wars and uprisings, 
do not be frightened.  
THESE THINGS MUST HAPPEN first, 
but the end will not come right away.

Then He said to them:  
"Nation will rise against nation, 
and kingdom against kingdom.  
There will be great earthquakes, famines 
and pestilences in various places, 
and fearful events and great signs from heaven.  
BUT before all this, they will seize you 
and persecute you ... 
and you will bear testimony of Me.  

BUT make up your mind not to worry 
beforehand how you will defend yourselves.  
For I will give you words and wisdom that 
none of your adversairies will be able 
to resist or contradict.

STAND FIRM, and you will win life.

Be careful, or your hearts will be 
weighed down with carousing, drunkenness 
and the anxieties of life, and that day will close 
on you suddenly like a trap.  

Be always on the watch.

~ Luke 21:7-15, 19, 34, 36


If being alert and looking up is escapist, I am guilty as charged.  If remaining at peace while the nations rage and leaders run to-and-fro is escapist, then bring out the tar & feathers.  I'll wear them gladly.

One man's definition of escapism is another man's hope.





I lift up my eyes to the mountains ~
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Make of heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1