Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Live and Let Live

It's a trap.  "It" being just about everything with which I disagree these days. 

You name it, the things that ensnare me.  From feelings of annoyance to outright anger; from frustration to discouragement the list goes on and on: 
  • Television programming; political rancor and all things politically expedient 
  • morality, or the lack thereof 
  • jabber jaw media commentary 
  • violence in our land (child abuse ranking at the top, followed by the abortion of over 53 million babies in the U.S. alone) 
  • disrespect for authority (with the military and police being recipients of the worst of it) 
  • an anti-Christian sentiment as juxtaposed with an enchantment with all things worldly or vile ... 

Well, you get my drift.

Nearly every day I have to tune out or turn off, and then return to ground zero, reminding myself that mortals do not have the final say.  Peace between God and man is rooted in the bloody soil beneath the cross, while forgiveness and hope gush from a thorn-pierced brow.  He alone is the truth; and He alone is the way and the life. 

God, the Author & Finisher, the Alpha & Omega offers the attendant blessings or curses of man's choices.  I can put away my thumping tool, cease & desist from scolding the TV, and give up any notion of arguing with those who mock the biblical worldview upon which this country & its laws was founded.   
It is difficult for this often self-righteous mortal to live and let live, and to leave the results up to God.   

For now, I'm taking lots of deep breaths and reminding myself that people ~ all people ~  get to choose what and who they believe.  It falls to me to love them and, should God grant the opportunity, give them a reason for the hope that is in me.  Leaving it there is the trap.

For we do not wrestle against flesh 
and blood, but against the rulers, 
against the authorities, against the 
cosmic powers over this present 
darkness, against the spiritual forces 
of evil in the heavenly places. 
Therefore take up the whole 
armor of God, that you may be 
able to withstand in the evil day, 
and having done all, to stand firm.  
~ Ephesians 6:12-13

"...the whole world lies under the sway
of the wicked one." 
~ John 5:19

"...do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.... Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good."
Romans 12:2, 9

"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. For all that is in the world -- the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life -- is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever." 
~ 1 John 2:15-17

 "If you were of the world, the world 
would love its own. 
Yet because you are not of the world, 
but I chose you out of the world, 
therefore the world hates you." 
~ John 15:19-20

"Friendship with the world is 
enmity to God." 
~ James 4:4

"...the light has come into the world, 
and men loved darkness 
rather than light, because their 
deeds were evil. 
For everyone practicing evil hates 
the light and does not come tthe light, 
lest his deeds should be exposed." 
~ John 3:19-20

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Lessons from the Apple Orchard

Just a year ago, when first we settled here in the Okanogan Valley, this place was altogether foreign to me.  It's the apple orchard that runs adjacent to one of the cherry orchards that surround our home.  The trees are quite old ~ thick, gnarled branches firmly fixed to their sap-saturated trunks.     

When we began introducing our puppy, Maizie, to her surroundings, I began walking her along the perimeter of the property, all the while telling her:  "This is where your roaming ends, Miss Furball." Back then she was small enough to slip through the fence grates so I always kept her tightly leashed. Thankfully that was short-lived (she's now 75-80 pounds).  

It wasn't until Fall that I begin walking the far away fence lines.  It quickly became one of our favorite destinations.  There Maizie would make earth shattering discoveries:  moles & mice, a doe & fawn grazing, bird feathers, the hind quarter of a small deer, coyote droppings, and the like.  It was also where a Mule Deer doe was cruelly cornered by a pack of coyotes in the dead of Winter, and eaten. Blood stained snow told of that tragic episode, but so did my recollection of a disturbed sleep when awakened by the coyotes unmistakable yip-howls the night prior.  The apple orchard, you see, is not fenced.

The other day, while talking to the orchard manager ~ the "master gardener", if you will ~ I was told this will be the last season for this particular apple habitat. The variety grown there, Golden Delicious, are no longer in demand.  The trees will be felled and cherry trees planted in their stead.  Then he'll fence it, too.

It made me sort of sad.

These old, productive, fruit-bearing trees aren't aware they'll be gone by this time next year.  They've done nothing wrong.  They're vigorous and alive, doing just what they've been created to do, full of luscious fruit; loaded, actually.  But it's the wrong kind of fruit for an apple eating audience.

There's any number of life lessons here, but the one that strikes me powerfully in this portrait is how fickle are the tastes of mortals.  What was once good for their bones (and souls) no longer appeals to their appetite.  

Maizie and I grieve the loss of this very special domain. 

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Surely It's Not a Weed?

All around me life is teaming.  There's the usual prairie-fare on the valley floor below; alfalfa, barley, corn.  On the hillsides high above are flower-like thingies appearing in profusion with each uptick in the thermometer.

It's all just so spectacular.

What strikes me in these scenes is how lovely are the weeds; sometimes more lovely, even, than their non-weed soil companions.  They're referred to as noxious in these parts, which is to say they're harmful or poisonous.  They've been known to completely destroy a crop meant for market.  From the unskilled eye it's hard to distinguish them from the unharmful plants ~ plants like the lovely wild Lupine, Snap Dragons, Violets or Sunflowers.

All that to say, the noxious & obnoxious here makes it's much easier to comprehend the Lord's teachings on sowing & reaping, tares & wheat, or sheep & goats when considering their polar opposites.  It would seem there's little difference  between right & wrong, holy & vile, pure & polluted.  Sin often (always) is dressed all up in finery and fancy.  Only later do we see the rash (or worse) it's produced in us.  What's more, we don't recognize its stealth in choking out the genuine, healthy, truly lovely blooms alongside it.

"He who hunts flowers will find flowers;
and he who hunts for weeds will find weeds."
~ Henry Ward Beecher 

I realize this is not popular subject matter.  More's the pity.  It surely ought to be. Not the hellfire & brimstone iteration, but the exposing of those things that may tantalize today and torment tomorrow. Rather than cozy up to what the world says is OK (the list is endless) when we know it is not, we choose to embrace & live according to His higher, better standard.  

First we have to recognize what is & 
isn't a weed.  

It is true:  "Sin will take you farther, keep you longer and cost your more than ever you intended to pay." (Unknown)

Roses are red;
Violets are blue;
But they don't get around
Like the dandelions do.
~ Slim Acres

"Sweet flowers are slow and weeds make haste."
~ William Shakespeare
Don't water your weeds. ~ Proverb

"A man's nature runs either to herbs, or to weeds; therefore let him seasonably water the one 
and destroy the other."
~ Frances Bacon

The kingdom of heaven
may be compared to a man who sowed
good seed in his field, but while his
men were sleeping, his enemy came in 
and sowed weeds among the wheat and
went away.  So when the plants came
up and bore grains, then the weeds 
appeared also.  And the servants of the 
mast of house came in and said to him,
'Master, did you not sow good seed in
your field?  How then does it have 
weeds?'  He said to them, 'An enemy has
done this.'  So the servants said to him, 
'Then do you want us to go and gather them?'
But he said, 'No, lest in gathering the 
weeds you root up the wheat along with them.
Let them both grow together until the
harvest, and at the harvest time I will appear
and tell the reapers, 'Gather the weeds first and 
bind them in bundles to be burned,
but gather the wheat into my barn.' "
~ Matthew 13:24-30

Photos:  Taken in the hillsides and orchards adjacent to my home just last week.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Remembering to Remember

Every time I think life cannot get any better, it does.
Many times when I thought life could not get any worse, it did.

These thoughts come to mind today as I walk alongside several people who are really struggling at the moment.  Through no fault of their own, life has visited upon them hurts and hurdles that threaten to rob them of hope and joy.  It is little wonder people face despair.  I know I have.  

The years, my years are mounting; one upon the other; layer upon layer.  Time, like a glacier, has a way of moving under its own weight, often accompanied by the stress that shifting weight creates.  And yet ... that very shifting creates the glory & beauty that is the very life of a glacier or, in my case and yours, the life of the life.  Moraine fields are stunning though born in a crush.

I don't understand why some people appear to lead charmed lives; lives seemingly free of heartache or obstacles.  I've known a few such.  But mostly I've known of the other sort ... the lives with peaks and valleys; sunny slopes and shadows of death; songs of rejoicing and dirges of sorrow.  These things are no respecter of persons ~ they visit indiscriminately.

So I remind myself that the best is always yet to come.  Wherever I am today ~ high or low or in-between ~ the promise of better, greater things is as sure as sunrise.  Truly we must remember to remember that.

So we do not lost heart. 
Though our outer self is wasting away, 
our inner self is being renewed day by day.  
For this light momentary affliction is 
preparing for us an eternal weight of glory
beyond all comparison, as we look not to the 
things that are seen but to the things 
that are unseen.  
For the things that are seen are transient, 
but the things that are not seen are eternal.  
~ 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother on My Mind

I stood there looking at heaven's rays
Thinking I might just grab a gaze
Of her brown eyes or gnarled hands
Where she now lives in heaven's lands.

I held my breath & willed a prayer
As if she might descend a stair;
Coming near with tender touch ~
I longed to see her, oh so much

The years have ripened since she went;
My own life nearly all but spent.
My hands now gnarled; my eyes now dim,
At heart I am her child again.

I stood there long at heaven's rays
Knowing she has caught a gaze
Of her wee lass who'll come her way
Because she was a mom who'd pray.

I cannot see her from this place.
So I must, I will run out my race.
Then one day I will climb that ray
Upon the route of heaven's way.

I love you, Mom; I'm glad you wait
For me to join you through that gate.
And until then I'll long to see 
Your tender eyes look back at me.  

~ Me

In loving memory of the
amazing lady known as
Helen Evelyn Grinnell Wells

My Mother

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

When Reason Returns

Jesus spoke these things; and lifting His 
eyes to heaven ...
~ John 17:1 (in part)

"I raised my eyes toward
heaven and my reason returned to me ..."
Daniel 4:24

Nearly every day, & sometimes several times a day I walk to the front windows of my home & survey the valley below us.  Watching the seasons come-and-go from on high still leaves me in awe.  Right now the farmlands are a rich, lush green; and trees once naked are again festooned in leaves.  

While walking the dog a few days ago I took the above photo from the vantage point of the blossom-laden pear orchard below the house.  It occurred to me that I've likely missed a bounty of beauty by not training my gaze equally upward as outward & onward.   

What a simple concept:  Look up.

Many were the days of my childhood when I lay upon a grassy cushion to watch the sky.  My imagination was vivid in those days, so it fired on all pistons when I'd survey the placement of clouds or a starry array. Even the blank of a sunny, blue expanse drew my breath away.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but
on what is unseen, since what is seen 
is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
~ 2 Corinthians 4:18

How lovely it is to look up ~ to the vast, unending abode of God and angels; of the beloved departed; of dreams & visions; of hope & glory; of omnipotence and omniscience.  No wonder earth pales by comparison.

The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are no rules of architecture for
a castle in the clouds. 
~ G.K. Chesterton

It's wonderful to climb the liquid mountains
of the sky.  Behind me and before me is God
and I have no fears.
~ Helen Keller

I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward
heaven and my reason returned to me, 
and I blessed the Most High and praised 
and honored Him who lives forever.  
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, 
and His kingdom endures 
from generation to generation.
~ Daniel 4:34

... let us run with perseverance the race
marked out for us, fixing our eyes on 
Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.
~ Hebrews 12:1-2

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Life's Intersections

I've never really given much thought to the beauty of the traffic signal's simplicity; the primary colors used as indices to stop, go or be careful.  I couldn't begin to calculate the number of intersections I've navigated with nary and nod to a signal's existence.  My autonomic system responds on queue (unless, that is, a rare outbreak of disobedience overtakes me).  Come to think of it, I'm often not even aware of the mumbling under my breath when said signal, or other drivers disobeying it aggravates me.     

With such a clever tutor at my disposal, I confess to my love of life's green ~ the yes.  With it I'm allowed to move forward unimpeded; since I'm given to decisiveness, the momentum suits me just fine. Green's also my favorite color!

Except for bananas and daffodils, I'm not particularly fond of yellow.  In the context of the traffic signal, yellow is the color of caution or hazard ~ the whoa. That always feels somewhat ambivalent to me. "What to do? Do I have time to slow to a stop or must I slam on my breaks?"  "Shall I dash through the light and hope it doesn't turn red before I clear the intersection?"  "Speed up or slow down?"  It's the short-sighted part of me that thinks I can dispense with yellow.  

Then there's red.  I run hot and cold with it ~ the no. Besides being a shade that doesn't look particularly good on me, I often view it as an impediment.  It slows me down or thwarts my trajectory.  In the realm of interpersonal relationships, it's often a tough tangle of the tongue when I have to respond to something I cannot or choose not to do.  Red just seems so ... so ... red.  

So it is that I find myself musing on the simple analogy that parallels the way in which God guides and protects us.  How often in the ancient texts do we read the words go, do not, or the cautionary beware? A bevy of bereavement is bypassed when I obey.

It's fairly safe to say I think I'm onto something this year.  The simple things in life are so simple.

Be patient, then brothers and sisters, 
until the Lord's coming.  See how the 
farmer waits for the land to yield its 
valuable crop, patiently waiting for the 
autumn and spring rains.  
You, too, be patient and stand firm, 
because the Lord's coming is near.
Above all, my brothers and sisters, 
do not swear - not by heaven or by 
earth or by anything else.  
All you need to say is 
a simple "Yes" or "No."
James 5:7-8, 12

But I tell you, do not swear an 
oath at all:  either by heaven, 
for it is God's throne; or by the earth, 
for it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, 
for it is the city of the Great King.  
And do not swear by your own head, 
for you cannot make even one hair 
white or black.  
All you need to say is 
simply 'Yes' or 'No'; 
anything beyond this comes 
from the evil one.
Matthew 5:34-37

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Complexities of Keeping It Simple

I'm bound & determined to live life in the primaries (think simplicity) this year.  But for the life of me I can't find a combination to equal the days' doings, or the months' for that matter.

It all began last summer when, shortly after moving into our lodge perch, my husband twisted an ankle & fell down a slope while carrying a weighty load of bricks. Immediately he realized he'd damaged his knee in the process.  Now, many months & no little pain later, he's had a full knee replacement. That took place three weeks ago.

I'm pleased to report his surgery went very well, and he's done better than anyone expected in getting up & going again.  It's been rugged, no doubt.  But thanks to modern medicine (think pain meds) and an indomitable spirit, he's pressed on.

Last week he had yet another surgery for the removal of a cataract.  No big deal. And it wasn't.  Not only were they able to extract the murky lens from his right eye, but they rendered his vision 20/15. Definitely a success!

Here's where the crayon scramble gets messy ...

In the night following his cataract surgery he woke with a start only to discover his backside covered with huge hives. From his neck all the way to backsides of his knees he was festooned.  By morning we were in the doctor's office.  They juggled some meds, added Benadryl, assured him they'd abate, & sent us on our way.

Well, those wicked hives are now the size of small pancakes (both diameter & depth) and as vigorous as ever.  We spent most of today at the local clinic. They've pretty much determined they're the result of the pain meds he's been taking for his knee, so he's stopped taking them to see what happens.

The good news?  The hives are diminishing.
The bad news?  The pain is quite unpleasant.

How like life, huh?

Anyway, I'm back to my box of Crayolas now in search of something that approximates these very colorful days.  There's a lot you can do with red, yellow, blue & green.  I think.

That about does it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Coloring Book Wisdom

Great necessities call out great virtues.
~ Abigail Adams

For many years I had a large Christmas cookie tin full of crayons in various stages of life:  some long, barely used; others broken or near-nubs.  They've long ago vanished, but today I remember them. As much as I prefer a fresh, full box of them, many a coloring foray has been passed pawing through that tin-bound assortment for something suitable.

I still prefer the perfect ones.

On so many levels that is a truth that confronts me often; sometimes daily.  Oh how I love the perfects of life.  Oh how few of those perfects exist.  Anywhere.

Over time I have had to settle for the imperfects; for the broken crayons in my life or the lives of others.  Typically I assess them as failures at the onset.  But my assessments evolve and eventually I can look at such broken things as anything BUT that.  

Make me to hear joy and gladness.
Let the bones you have broken rejoice. 
Psalm 51:8

For you do not delight in sacrifice, 
otherwise I would give it;
You are not pleased with burn offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; 
A broken and contrite heart, O God
You will not despise.
Psalm 51:16-17

The violets in the mountains have broken the rocks.
Tennessee Williams

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