Friday, October 31, 2008

Fast Forward

The week is moving much to fast! All I can think of is "whirling dervish", and how soon it will come to an end. Too soon.

The park and the pool have been, by far, the favorite destinations.
...
In between we celebrated Megan's birthday, finished the jigsaw puzzles, went bowling, played basketball, rented Scooby Doo and ate ice cream.
.
. .
The kitchen is getting lots of exercise (my nick-name is "kitchen") ... from pumpkin pie to corn bread, from potatoes au gratin to fettucine ....


Oh! the sweet, quiet tale of the shoe pile!

And playing on grandma's computer ...



Or making blanket camps in the play room.


Then again ... watching Madagascar on Grandma's bed for the 9th time is pretty cool.
.
Sometimes they even stand still (and make silly faces!
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And the big people have played too. Sunbathing, reading, mountain biking and gym workouts ( aka "play" for some, but not me!!!!).
..
With only two days remaining, I'm wondering how we can cram even more into a week that's been so chocked full of good stuff and incredible memory-makers.
.
Maybe another round of Madagascar. And ice cream.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Portals of Peace

We all have havens; places that enfold us in magical ways; places where our wearied selves find renewal; places that infuse our imaginations with otherwise hidden inspiration. They are places of safety and contentment. Some of them are literal places. Some of them are are states of mind or heart, conditions.

I dread it when I have to choose between them, for truly it's tough to be in more than one haven at a time. I do try, though.

A few of my favorites ...

1. My den at 4:00 AM. This is by far my favorite haven, where good books and The Good Book can be found dog-eared and well worn. The hour matters too. At 4:00 AM no one's tracked across the day's landscape ... yet. Whether I simply sit silently beneath a dim lamp, or busy myself with a reading or writing project, the room itself is safe harbor.

2. Hawaii. Kapalua to be exact. Just down the road from the Ritz Carlton is a quiet cove and sandy beach that is, I'm certain, the portal to heaven.

3. Napping with my fuzzy comforter. Perhaps a throwback to my childhood blankie days, it's a luxury I afford myself often. As a child, it was my mother's chenille robe that provided the snugly haven. The memory of her and it linger sweetly.

4. Books - like those dog-eared ones in #1. Reading sweeps me up like a flight with Peter Pan. It takes me beyond myself to places I might never know otherwise. Right now I'm reading The Other Queen about Mary, Queen of Scots. I just finished Better Fathers, Stronger Sons, and intermittently I digest another chapter from Footsteps of the Messiah (a deep work on the book of Revelation by Arnold Fruchtenbaum).

5. Home. No matter when. No matter where. When I'm home, the world could rock off orbit and I'd give it no mind. (Note: "Home" is wherever my fuzzy comforter resides).

6. Worship - both corporate and private. Nothing ... absolutely nothing can compare to the glory and power and beauty and tenderness of the God Who comes near. So near.

I'm already planning at least one haven-experience this week. Kapalua may have to wait, but not the den or the fuzzy comforter or home or 4AM quietude or worship. Come to think of it, I might combine all of them for a super-havening.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Heritage of the Godly

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The God of Israel spoke, the Rock of Israel said to me:
"When one rules over men in righteousness,
when he rules in the fear of God,
he is like the light of morning at sunrise
on a cloudless morning,
like the brightness after rain
that brings the grass from the earth."
2 Samuel 23:2-4
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May the fear of God and righteousness be this country's continued heritage.

Monday, October 27, 2008

What's That Smell? (Plus Addendum)

Have you ever sat down next to someone or something and found yourself proclaiming (aloud or in the silence of thought): What's that smell? The question always begs a context because it may well be an exclamation of delight, or an utterance of ugh!.

I recently found myself in the presence of a little one and was, at once, captivated by the aroma that danced all around her. It was a combination of laundry detergent & sunscreen, and the elixer was completely lovely.

I'm sensitive to scents: the spring bloom of Star Jasmine that is hypnotic; the fall air that carries with it the imaginations of nearly every fall I've ever experienced; fresh paint that stirs in me the desire to organize closets & drawers.

Then there's those other scents ... the ones that leave me far less inspired: The dairy farms not far from here that send miserable mentions when summer heat & summer wind collude; a wet dog; that something mysterious in my refrigerator that I simply must search out to be rid of.

It all combines to put into context something I read in the scriptures:

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life. 2 Corinthians 2:14-16
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I celebrate my fellow-fragrances ... those life-giving mortals that infuse the air with the beauty of His presence. I needn't ask: "What's that smell?"
.
I already know the answer.
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Addendum: A precious comment posted by Melinda that personifies the generous love of God.
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When I was a girl, my father used to place a gardenia blossom on my pillow each evening while the bush was in bloom. The fragrance lingered on my pillow, a sweet reminder of his love and care for me as I drifted off to sleep. Later, when I married, his boutonniere was a gardenia blossom to remind him of the same.Whenever I read this verse about us being the fragrance of Christ, I think of this sweet gesture of my dad's and how he embodied that scripture. Oh that we would be mindful of the scent that lingers to remind others of a Love so sweet.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Pool, Parks 'n Parlor

Well, here it is 6:30 PM and I've just donned my jammies. I don't know about the girls, but this is one plumb-tuckered, not-so-sassy granny!





"Drive really, really fast, grandma!"
(Oh dear ... to think they'll
be behind the wheel one day)












"Make mine chocolate, grandma."


"Let's do this again tomorrow, grandma!"


Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep ...

Breakfast at Sassy's

With the smell of bacon and french toast wafting through the house, the morning begins with sounds of laughter and little girl chatter. Music to my ears ...

(Rylie & Molly, top l; Tom & Megan , r; Molly & Ava, l; Tom & Rylie, bottom r)


What more could a sassy granny want?
.
P.S. Can anybody say drama! With all these girls the word has taken on new meaning (just ask the outnumbered men!).

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dancing With My Stars



These are precious days for me (not to mention Grandpa). You simply have to believe me when I tell you that the girls, Molly & Rylie, are providing non-stop gratitude attacks for this sassy granny!
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They also make me laugh. .

Why is it that an already rich, full life still has so much room for more life? Why is it that a trip to the grocery store becomes an adventure when planning for a batch of blessing? What is it about life's daily rythyms that become a dancing cadence when daughters and mothers merely breath the same air? Why can I smell & hear & see so much better when my grandchildren are in a room?

Oh silly me.
.
But I'll bet there are many other grandmas out there that know exactly what I'm talking about!

P.S. Molly's friend Tom and his two daughters join us late tonight. I'll have a houseful, and likely the dancing cadence will be lovelier still (perhaps a jitter-bug)!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oh for That Day

Until He establishes, and makes Jerusalem a praise among the nations, we wait so very expectantly.

Even so, come Lord Jesus!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Come November 5th


Snarl ... *#!*"^$$!
......Grrrrrrr ... *#$!!"^#!$
............Ugh ... &%%!#*!!*^

Thank goodness there's only 13 days remaining until election day.
I, for one, am just plain tuckered when it comes to campaigns.

Enough already!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Drawing Blanks


Hardly anyone would figure me for a woman short on words.

I'm short on words.

My daughter Molly and granddaughter Rylie (12) arrive from Washington State tomorrow and all I can think about is jigsaw puzzles & Uno Spin, oatmeal cookies & popcorn, giggles & many hugs.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Troublesome Tyrannies

I paid a visit to Merriam again today, due largely to the helter skelter nature of so many of today's doings. Life is truly being lived in the fast lane, though many have identified that lane as being normal. Maybe it is, but normal is not necessarily healthy or right or even good.

Anyway, it seems to me that tyranny is the trouble. We have way too much of it, and often it's self-imposed.

Merriam tells us that tyranny is:

1: oppressive power; especially - oppressive power exerted by government
2: a-a government in which absolute power is vested in a single ruler ; especially - one characteristic of an ancient Greek city-state, b-the office, authority, and administration of a tyrant
3: a rigorous condition imposed by some outside agency or force

There's a wonderful essay penned by Charles Hummel titled "The Tyranny of the Urgent". It's well worth searching out, but only if you're willing to confront the boogey men in your life. He manages to expose our altogether schizophrenic pursuits, doing so with reason and poise. He drags us far, far away from our incarcerated state to show us the beauty of real freedom.

In fact, by the time you're through you'll likely have inventoried nearly everything, sorting between the essential must haves, and the urgent optionals.

Tyrants are best routed with a boot. What remains is a much more manageable life.


"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened,
and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tag it Forward



Now that I've been tagged by the bold-n-lovely Jen (http://beboldjen.blogspot.com/) , it's now my turn to tag in return.

But first the seven things ...


1. I've traced one leg of my ancestry back to the mid-1400s France. Who knew? (I've always thought my heritage was strickly Irish & Dutch)

2. I cry watching shows like Meerkat Manor.

3. Toddlers fascinate me, especially their language skills (or lack thereof). They say the whackiest things that crack me up!

4. I thoroughly enjoy studying Bible prophecy.

5. I detest folding laundry.

6. I can't sleep without my ceiling fan on.

7. Music moves me. My faves are classical, Christian & country; in no particular order.

I don't know how I'm going to limit my forward tagging to seven people. I've met some mightly wonderful ladies in the course of my life, and many of them in cyberspace. Here are some of my favorite bloggers:

Elaine ... http://peaceforthejourney.blogspot.com/

Sharon ... http://www.technonana.com/

Kay ... http://notesfromthewall.blogspot.com/

Alicia ... http://www.truthportraits.com/blog/

Melissa ... http://mondaythroughsundaymelanie.blogspot.com/

Robin ... http://rlambright.blogspot.com/

Van ... http://www.vanwalton.blogspot.com/

How about you? Any wierd, random, zany facts about yourself you'd like to share?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

An Extraordinary Gift

Old Age, I decided, is a gift.
.
I am now, probably for the first time in my life,
the person I have always wanted to be.
Oh, not my body! I sometimes despair over my body ...
the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt.
And often I am taken aback by that old person that
lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!),
but I don't agonize over those things for long.
.
I would never trade my amazing friends,
my wonderful life, my loving family
for less gray hair or a flatter belly.
.
As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself,
and less critical of myself.
I've become my own friend.
I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie,
or for not making my bed,
or for buying that silly cement gecko that I
didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio.
.
I am entitled to a treat, to be messy,
to be extravagant.
I have seen too many dear friends
leave this world too soon;
before they understood the great freedom
that comes with aging.
.
Whose business is it if I choose to read or
play on the computer
until 4 AM and sleep until noon?
.
I will dance with myself to those wonderful
tunes of the 60&70's,
and if I, at the same time,
wish to weep over a lost love ... I will.
.
I will walk the beach in a swim suit that
is stretched over a bulging body,
and will dive into the waves with
abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances
from the jet set.
They, too, will get old.
.
I know I am sometimes forgetful.
But there again, some of life is
just as well forgotten.
And I eventually remember
the important things.
.
Sure, over the years my heart
has been broken.
How can your heart not break
when you lose a loved one,
or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved
pet gets hit by a car?
But broken hearts are what give us
strength and understanding
and compassion.
A heart never broken is pristine
and sterile and will never know the
joy of being imperfect.
.
I am so blessed to have lived long
enough to have my hair turn gray,
and to have my youthful laughs
be forever etched into deep grooves
on my face.
So many have never laughed,
and so many have died before their
hair could turn silver.
.
As you get older, it is easier to be positive.
You care less about what other people think.
.
I don't question myself anymore.
I've even earned the right to be wrong.
.
So, I like being old.
It has set me free.
I like the person I have become.
I am not going to live forever,
but while I am still here, I will not waste time
lamenting what could have been, or worrying
about what will be.
And I shall eat dessert every single day. (If I feel like it)
.
I did not write this. I wish I had. It came to me via 23 forwards so I can't even tell you who actually did write it. Whoever they are, I'll gladly share my dessert with them any day!!!
.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Nested in Safety

David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. Nothing was missing: young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back.
I Samuel 30:18-19
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Don't you just love David? How like us he is in so many ways; none more so than his human failings & frailties. Besides the infamous Bathsheba episode in his life, we remember David as leader extraordinaire; full of passion and courage, and truly a man after God's own heart.
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The scripture above is part of the sequence of events that occurred when the greedy Amalekites raided David's camp while he was away. They made off with his possessions, among them his wives and children as well as those belonging to his band of warriors. It's a great story of high drama. But nothing stands out to me more than David's zeal for his own.
.
Since David is a "archetype" (defined by Merriam as: the original pattern or model of which all things of the same type are representations or copies) of Jesus, the referenced scripture gives me amazing insight ... if not incredible comfort. Believers belong to Him, just as David's family belonged to him. Once sealed, nothing can snatch the believer from Jesus hand, for He will fight as fiercely - - no ... more fiercely - - than did David when retrieving that which is His.
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Yes, I am among those that believe that once a person's named is penned into the Lamb's (Jesus) Book of Life (when saved) and His seal placed upon them, that they can never be taken plunder by the world again. Oh ... they (we) might be carted off by this or that, but we'll not be left in the carted off condition.
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You see, "if nothing was missing" in David's case, it is far truer in Jesus' case. His eye is on the sparrow.
.
Tweet, tweet.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Cut 'n Paste


Have you ever been baffled by technology? Its marvels are endless, and changes come at break-neck speeds I can barely fathom, much let embrace. At one time even blogging was such a mysterious function I thought it might have something to do with programming.

But I'm glad to say I've got this computer stuff down, at least for the most part. Uploading and downloading, vimeo and twitter, linking and favorites, even blogging are all part of my usual routines. I gather news from Dubai or Zimbabwe as easily as I gather news from Phoenix or New York. I scope out recipes and gardening tips and ponder commentary on just about every subject imaginable.

So, while cutting a item from one source and then pasting it into an email recently I had what can only be described as a perplexitudinous (new word that I'm certain Merriam would approve of) revolt. I'm sure there's a technological explanation for my stymie, but even that wouldn't dislodge my catatonic-like befuddlement.

Tell me, if you know ... When once I highlight & then click on data to "cut" (or "copy") it, and before I click again to "paste" it, where does it go? It is in my computer mouse? Has it been sent to cyberspace where it will reside until my "paste" summons?
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These are rhetorical questions, no doubt. Because I really don't want an answer. I much prefer living with the mystery of it all. Besides, I doubt I could grasp the explanation anyway.

P.S. Don't get me started on cell phones!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Lollipop Guild - New & Improved!

Like so many, I'm watching the financial markets in awe. It's bizaar. Some seem to think there's a magical answer, or perhaps even a wizard-like leader that will, surely, get us outta here.
.
Well ... maybe there is!

Who knew?
.
ODDER THAN OZ
Copyright 1998 by Hugh Downs

(This is rather lengthy article; a bit of history and a whole lotta fun)

What do you suppose Alan Greenspan, Judy Garland, and the American Civil war have in common? Give up? They are all connected to turn-of-the-century U.S. monetary policy, of course! Not so obvious? Let me explain.

Just before the American Civil War broke out, Americans used dollar bills that had been issued by banks. The government didn't make any money, except coins. When the war began, the government (like all governments at war,) needed a great deal of money fast. President Lincoln decided to print it just like banks did. These early government notes were called "greenbacks" and, as you might expect, printing all those greenbacks led to rampant inflation.

Eventually, about 15 years after the war was over, people who held Federal notes, the greenbacks, could redeem them for gold coin. Few people bothered to make this trade because the war was long over, gold reserves were healthy, and people had faith in the government. Money was once again backed by real gold, but this created a new problem. The government could not print any more money that was not backed by gold, and that constricted the money supply.

People who already had money, that is rich people, didn't want any more money added to the supply because an inflated money supply, devalues savings. Inflation is always bad for people with money because their money becomes less valuable. But people without money, especially poor farmers, were clamoring for the government to print more. Inflation always helps the poor because debts can be repaid in cheaper dollars and money becomes more available for loans, investments, for everything. By 1874 a new political party called the Greenback Party demanded that the government mint unlimited amounts of coin, print more paper money and give $50 to every U.S. citizen. Poor farmers were demanding an inflationary monetary policy.

The Greenback Party dissolved in about 10 years, but a new party emerged and took up the inflationary baton. They were known as the Populist Party and legions of Midwestern and Southern farmers joined. The Populists eventually supported the Democrats because both parties were part of the Free Silver Movement. Remember the problem with the gold standard: the government couldn't print any more without discovering more gold to back it up. The Free Silver Movement wanted the government to add silver as yet another standard, in addition to gold. Having two standards would allow the government to inflate the money supply and provide relief to farmers. The price of crops had plummeted but debts still had to be paid in gold backed currency.

On July 8, 1896, during the Democratic national convention, a young 36 year old congressman named William Jennings Bryan gave a brilliant rhetorical flourish to the crowd's sentiments. Bryan exclaimed: "You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns, you shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold." The ecstatic crowd elected William Jennings Bryan as their presidential candidate.

The "cross of gold," of course, referred to the single standard; the rigid link between gold and money. The gold standard, favored by Eastern bankers and financiers, was also known as the "hard money policy." Bryan and his friends championed bi-metallism instead. With two standards, the government could create and back more money - a policy known as "easy money." Farmers were burdened by bank mortgages on their farms. They were forced to borrow gold backed notes. But the price of gold continued to go up, while the price for crops continued to go down. If U.S. monetary policy eased the money supply, farmers might have a chance to survive.

William Jennings Bryan lost the 1896 election to William McKinley. He lost again to McKinley in 1900 and then, in 1908, Bryan lost yet another presidential election to William Howard Taft. But the dream of a looser money supply, and hatred of Eastern bankers lingered on. The Democratic and Progressive Parties, and others, adopted some of the economic principles forged in the Greenback and Populist Parties.

Most interesting, though, is that the spirit of the Free Silver Movement and its resentment for Eastern bankers found its way into one of America's most original fairy tales: the Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

In 1900, Frank Baum, the author of the Wizard of Oz, was a staunch supporter of the Free Silver Movement and, like many Americans at the time, he distrusted the East coast banking establishment. And now we learn a fascinating story told to us by anthropologist Jack Weatherford. Weatherford tells us, in his new book THE HISTORY OF MONEY, that Baum's tale of Oz is a thinly disguised parable of turn-of-the-century monetary policy. The Wizard of Oz is the wizard of the gold ounce, the abbreviation of ounce is, of course, oz.

Dorothy, the lead character made famous in the screen version by Judy Garland, represented the average rural American. Dorothy, says Weatherford, was probably modeled on the populist orator Leslie Kelsey who was known as "the Kansas Tornado." Dorothy, and Toto, are flung by the tornado to the East where they discover the Yellow Brick Road - meaning a gold road. The road leads to Oz "where the wicked witches and wizards of banking operate."

The Scarecrow is the American farmer. The Tin Woodman is the American factory worker, and the Cowardly Lion is William Jennings Bryan.

Weatherford says: "The party's march on Oz is a re-creation of the 1894 march of Coxey's Army, a group of unemployed men led by ... Jacob S. Coxey to demand (a) public issue of 500 million greenbacks...for (the) common people." The Wizard himself represented Marcus Hanna who controlled both the Republican Party and the McKinley administration.

The Munchkins " were the simpleminded people of the East who did not understand how the wizard ... pulled the levers ... that controlled the money, the economy, and the government."

The simpleminded residents of Oz were required to wear green tinted glasses fastened by gold buckles. Off to the West, the Wicked Witch of the West had enslaved the yellow Winkies, which Weatherford explains, "is a reference to the imperialist aims of the Republican administration, which had captured the Phillipines from Spain and refused to grant them independence."

At the end of the story the Wizard and the Witches are exposed as crude fakes. This dramatic revelation makes everything better. The scarecrow, who represents the farmer, discovers that he is really intelligent and not stupid. The Cowardly Lion, who is really William Jennings Bryan, finds courage. And the Tin Woodman, actually the American factory worker, "received a new source of strength in a bimetallic tool - a golden axe with a blade of silver."

In the original edition of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy returns to Kansas by clicking the heels of her silver slippers together. The moviemakers decided that red looked better on screen than silver and that's the way most of us remember the tale.
As you can see, and thanks to Jack Weatherford for pointing it out, most of us have completely forgotten the secret story behind the Wizard of Oz.

Today, the Federal Reserve Bank determines America's monetary policy, but the Fed wasn't created until 1913. The modern equivelent of the Wizard of Oz - or Marcus Hanna - is, of course, the ever-charming Alan Greenspan.

So now you know. The Civil War, Judy Garland and Alan Greenspan, really are connected.
.

Guess we're looking more-and-more like these guys all the time!

..

No help here. The Wizard's out to lunch AGAIN!

Nobody gets to see the Wizard;

Not nobody.

Not no how.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

One by One

This morning I've found myself thinking about the things in life I thoroughly relish. I must admit, in recent days I have considered how different life would be (will be?) if our economy is truly tanked and we are being catapulted into a depression - never mind recession. It seems a timely maneuver, this taking stock of what is really important.

Well, I needn't worry. As I tabulate my inventory of treasures one-by-one I have discovered they are recession/depression-proof! What a relief.

A few of my favorite things (not in any particular order) ...
  • The scent of newly mowed lawn
  • Clean bath towels & a hot shower
  • Baby kittens (at someone else's house)
  • Dawn
  • Reading or recalling the scriptures
  • Laughter
  • The company of my children & grandchildren
  • The sound of the sea
  • A rousing thunderstorm
  • Friendships
  • A restful nights' sleep
  • Long walks
  • A stirring book
  • Memories
  • Pictures, especially of my children as babes
  • Working with my head and heart and hands
  • Scented candles
  • Visiting the perfume counter at a department store (the smells are free)
  • Holding my husband's wrinkled, aging, strong, familiar hand
  • Thinking (about anything)
  • Writing; creating word pictures
  • Organizing drawers, pantry, cupboards and closets (well ... sometimes)
  • Music - of all genres

Oh dear ... the list could go on and on and on. Guess I needn't fuss about what I could lose with so many un-losable gains.

Monday, October 6, 2008

True Grip

That amazing Light holds me still. It is a firm grip, and it is how I walked away from the rubble of my drinking career as well as my own futile gripping efforts.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Confessions of a Prosperous Pauper I - Big Gulp


Few memories are as vivid or bold as the one associated with my drinking career. Short-lived as it was, it was none-the-less a detour of significance in the bookends that represent my 60 years of living. I didn't have many such detours, but the ones I did were doozies!

It probably began long before I ever sipped my first glass of wine. In my family's DNA resides a propensity for alcoholism, with a list of examples as far back as I can dig - among them my own father. By the time I arrived on the scene he had licked his Barleycorn foe, thanks in part to my mother's considerable support (aka ultimatum). Thankfully I grew up in a stable home where alcohol was not given any undue eminence.
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Like most children of the 60s, I had a great time groovin' with the best of them. I managed to steer clear of the marijuana craze, but weekend parties were hardly successful without getting blasted. Can anyone say hangover?

It wasn't until I had been married some years that alcohol became a fast friend. In fact, it wasn't until 1973 when I was sequestered alone in a city far from home with three small children and a husband away most of the time that my enchantment with alcohol took root. Loneliness became a first cause (aka excuse), but it was soon followed by frustration, fear, worry and incredible disappointment.
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I had dreams, and those dreams included a fair amount of ideology about what a marriage and family ought to look and feel like (Remember ... I was the youngest of four girls born late in life to my parents. I was a princess!!!). I didn't have anything even close to my dreams. I had married young at 18, so I was barely more than a child when attempting to figure out life. Today, when I hear people speaking of the need to build a strong foundation, it makes sense. Then, it simply meant to seek after that which I wanted. And all that I wanted seemed to evade my grip. (It was much later that I learned how "grip" - aka control - was actually part of the problem.)

Even though I had the Lord (having accepted salvation at the age of 22) during my days of despair, my prayers seemed to rise no further than the top of my refrigerator. (I could write an entire thesis on why my faith was so sterile, but space and time do not permit me to do so here. Suffice it to say it took me some years before I could say "the anchor holds!".) At 23 and 24 years of age I really thought life had passed me by. I could transcribe a list of woes that would have you wringing the tears from a hanky, but said woes were as much a product of my imagination as they were any true experience.

Fast forward to 1974. By now we'd returned to Tacoma and began setting roots among family & friends. Life ought to have been simpler for me, but it wasn't. And even though I didn't drink often, when I did drink the outcomes were far uglier than I could ever have imagined. Those outcomes, by most standards, were fairly harmless. They largely entailed making an idiot of myself among friends, saying things I ought not to have said (and was forever apologizing for), and headaches ... lots of headaches! Yet I couldn't seem to quit. Thus, not only was my drinking career brief - it was also quite boring. Brief ... boring ... but oh so troublesome.

So early in 1975 I joined the league of rehabers. I could pen a commentary on how that came about. Simply put, it was a God thing ...

Rehab is quite a familiar, sassy term these days, especially if you're young, a celebrity, and have lots of money. That was not the case in '75, I can assure you. To be 26 years old and in rehab was a shameful thing, if not altogether odd. Young women simply did not have drinking problems - or so the story went at the time. We now know different.

The night I made my way to the rehab facility it was dark & cold & foggy - as if representative of what my life had become. To say I was afraid or full of sorrow or guilt would be to put it mildly. I was terrified and grief-laden. I thought I would never stop crying.
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It wasn't the Betty Ford Clinic I'd call home for the next month of my life, either. It was a rudimentary, refurbished Naval installation that was ever so humble. There'd be no bragging about a Ritz-like experience!
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The first days were awful. The tears were an impediment, to say the least. Then, on the third night I was awakened by an annoying light that some thoughtless soul had left on. It was shining in my eyes. I sat up in bed. At first I looked to my dresser to catch a glimpse of the picture of my three small children - the very one you see here. They were my tether to hope, and it was for love of them I longed to be whole & healthy.
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It was then that I realized there was no light turned on. I thought I must be dreaming. But at once I began to feel a warmth flood me - first my feet, then my arms, and eventually my very heart. If it sounds wierd - like a "nanu-nanu" thing - it was! I saw no one. I heard no one. But in my heart was a knowing. All would be well with my soul. I knew I had been touched by the Lord.

That night my life changed forever. I never felt the need to drink again, but drinking had never really been the problem anyway (but it's taken a lifetime to get over that gripping thing).
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It's now been nearly 34 years since that fateful night of light, yet it seems oddly recent. I learned so much then but little strikes me dearer or deeper than what I penned on the morrow:
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Walls of brick please let me see,
All the lives that came to be
People, whole, and free of fear,
Sheltered by enclosures here.

Let me dwell upon their past,
That I may finally find a last,
A way of life that sets me free,
From bondage to obscurity.
.
In your shelter you have known,
People who've felt so alone.
Peace you've seen develop too
In seedlings born, as if anew.
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Show me, please, the things you know,
So I may one day stand aglow;
Fresh and clean I'll surely feel,
For being sane, completely real.
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May you guide my life each day,
Knowing others passed this way,
Sharing in my winged flight,
Praying through each blessed night.
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Some years later when I ran across these words from Job, I realized that my story was not so different from his. And of all the things I learned back then in rehab, none has blessed me more than the truth of it: it was ... it IS ... a God thing.
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My ears had heard of You
but now my eyes have seen You.
Job 42:6

Friday, October 3, 2008

Cause and Effect

Don't you just love it when you stumble across a gold nugget of truth or wisdom that's embedded in life? It has the ability to startle us, to shape and change our thinking, or to alter the way we go about living. Like fine Dresden China we cherish such things and place them prominantly in our hearts.

Truly I appreciate some nuggets more than others, while some even leave me wondering if I needed the nugget at all. I'm thinking there are greater & lessor nuggets!

But few nuggets (among the greaters) have thumped me more than the following one, so I'm sharing it in various interpretations - none of which cut me any slack. It can be found in 1 Samuel 15, verse 23a.

NLT
Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols.

NKJV
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.

NIV
For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry.

NAS
For rebellion is as the sin of divination, and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.

The dots I've connected in order to unearth the nugget go like this: Rebellion = witchcraft = Yikes!

I pride myself on the lack of Quiji Boards and Taro Cards in my possession. I wouldn't dream of visiting a fortune-teller, nor do I hold stock by the astrological signs. I never did abide the channeling efforts of J.Z. Knight, and all forms of new- agerism leave me cold.

But let me tell you, I know something about rebelliousness. I've even thought it rather smart or clever from time-to-time - - that is, until I unearthed the referenced nugget. The challenge is to know what is right & true to begin with, and then to obey. That's the antidote for rebellion, not to mention the protection from all that is sorcery.

I wonder how many headaches and heartaches I've welcomed into my life because of rebellion?

I'm liking obedience more all the time!

Teach me knowledge and good judgment, for I believe in your commands.
Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word.
Psalm 119:66-67
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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Antidotes

The further you go from this moment,
the more likely anxiety will increase.

Now that's pretty sassy, I'd say. I heard it said by a family therapist on talk radio, and at once I wished I owned it.

Living in the moment - the little sweeps. Oh how difficult that is for we time travelers that long to muse upon (or fret over) the past; or dream about (and borrow from) the future. Fact is, life is best lived in the present ... the little seconds ticking by as we inhale/exhale in the nano seconds of living.

Everything's manageable in the moment. There's plenty of elbow room. Here I am far, far away from less noble days. I haven't yet set my heart or foot upon afternoon's soil. It is well; it is well with my soul!

Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:30-34

Think I'll just savor this moment. No worries!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dark Energy

Fascinating stuff our scientific community comes up with.
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Dark energy? Mmmm

Scientists: Earth May Exist in Giant Cosmic Bubble
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
By Clara Moskowitz
Foxnews.com

If the notion of dark energy sounds improbable, get ready for an even more outlandish suggestion. Earth may be trapped in an abnormal bubble of space-time that is particularly devoid of matter.

Scientists say this condition could account for the apparent acceleration of the universe's expansion, for which dark energy currently is the leading explanation.
Dark energy is the name given to the hypothetical force that could be drawing all the stuff in the universe outward at an ever-increasing rate.

Current thinking is that 74 percent of the universe could be made up of this exotic dark energy, with another 21 percent being dark matter, and normal matter comprising the remaining 5 percent.

Until now, there has been no good way to choose between dark energy or the void explanation, but a new study outlines a potential test of the bubble scenario. If we were in an unusually sparse area of the universe, then things could look farther away than they really are and there would be no need to rely on dark energy as an explanation for certain astronomical observations.

"If we lived in a very large under-density, then the space-time itself wouldn't be accelerating," said researcher Timothy Clifton of Oxford University in England. "It would just be that the observations, if interpreted in the usual way, would look like they were."

Scientists first detected the acceleration by noting that distant supernovae seemed to be moving away from us faster than they should be. One type of supernova (called Type Ia) is a useful distance indicator, because the explosions always have the same intrinsic brightness.

Since light gets dimmer the farther it travels, that means that when the supernovae appear faint to us, they are far away (brilliant!), and when they appear bright, they are closer in. But if we happened to be in a portion of the universe with less matter in it than normal, then the space-time around us would be different than it is outside, because matter warps space-time.

Light travelling from supernovae outside our bubble would appear dimmer, because the light would diverge more than we would expect once it got inside our void.
One problem with the void idea, though, is that it negates a principle that has reigned in astronomy for more than 450 years: namely, that our place in the universe isn't special.

When Nicholas Copernicus argued that it made much more sense for the Earth to be revolving around the sun than vice versa, it revolutionized science. Since then, most theories have to pass the Copernican test. If they require our planet to be unique, or our position to be exalted, the ideas often seem unlikely.

"This idea that we live in a void would really be a statement that we live in a special place," Clifton told SPACE.com. "The regular cosmological model is based on the idea that where we live is a typical place in the universe. This would be a contradiction to the Copernican principle."

Clifton, along with Oxford researchers Pedro G. Ferreira and Kate Land, say that in coming years we may be able to distinguish between dark energy and the void. They point to the upcoming Joint Dark Energy Mission, planned by NASA and the U.S. Department of Energy to launch in 2014 or 2015. The satellite aims to measure the expansion of the universe precisely by observing about 2,300 supernovae.

The scientists suggest that by looking at a large number of supernovae in a certain region of the universe, they should be able to tell whether the objects are really accelerating away, or if their light is merely being distorted in a void.

Let's hear it for those VOIDS ...

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. Genesis 1:1-4

He uncovers deep things out of darkness,
And brings the shadow of death to light.
Job 12:22

Is it not yet a very little while
Till Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field,
And the fruitful field be esteemed as a forest?
In that day the deaf shall hear the words of the book,
And the eyes of the blind shall see
out of obscurity and out of darkness.
The humble also shall increase their joy in the LORD,
And the poor among men shall rejoice
In the Holy One of Israel.
Isaiah 29:17-19

So much for that dark energy!