Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's a Wrap!

The final grains of 2008's sand are swiftly slipping through my fingers. It seems appropriate - compelling even - to consider what has been wrought in 2008 before I heft 2009's sands into the hourglass.

What did I learn in 2008? It's a question I probably can't answer in its entirety as some of the things impressed upon & within me won't be clear until some other day, or year. Some not until eternity.

But here's some of what I know (either new, or again):


  • I cherish my family. No real news to that one, but an affirmation that digs deeper into my soul with each passing year.

  • I relish work and the using of my brain, being productive.

  • Books (even internet sites) are such a rare & wonderful way to collect information, insights and perspective.

  • Children crack me up. I am particularly fond of 3 - 5 year olds, but I enjoy them at all ages. They are honest, funny, lively, inquisitive, refreshing. I must learn to be more like them.

  • I can't eat 2,000 calories a day and not pay for it.

  • Whenever I view life as an adventure, it's fabulously intriguing.

  • Whenever I view life as something that happens to me, I'm pitifully victimized.

  • Woods and mountains and rivers are my favorite habitats (provided they offer blue skies).

  • I have added so many new friends to my already profuse bouquet of them.

  • I am closer to the grave than the cradle (a fact, not morbidity).

  • I loathe all forms of child abuse.

  • I am happiest in my kitchen (cooking for hubby or friends), or my den (reading the scriptures, or books, or meanderaing about the internet).

  • The older I get, the more intentional I want to be. In 2008 this was (and is) a recurring theme.

  • An era has already passed. No use belaboring that fact or whining about it. Kids may not play alone outdoors anymore; even in their own yards. One must be wise and prudent and vigilant as they go out, and come in. Ward Cleaver and Mr. Green Jeans don't live here anymore. All that to say I need to accept what is quicker, even though I don't have to like it.

  • Acceptance needs to be the watchword that follows me into 2009.

  • I've actually grown quite fond of my aging (rounding) frame. It may be a 2 on a
    scale of 1 to 10 (10 being really classy), but it's my 2. Better than a zero, I'd say!

  • I've got to develop a better method of handling my disdain for the liberal agenda.

  • God is in control; not me. Not such a brilliant conclusion, really. Yet ... sometimes I know this deeply - at the gut level. At other times I know it intellectually, but not so instinctively. Yet other times I forget it entirely.
Oh, I could go on and on and on ... There's so much that floods my soul as I pack up to leave 2008. It's been a year of highs and lows, gains and losses, adventures and boredom. It's included many "ah hahs!", a few regrets, lots of laughter, good health, a tear or two.
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It's been a year of such good living because of all these things.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Voice of Pain

Well, dear friends ... it looks like I've survived the misery of recent days, and I must say I'm grateful. So-o-o-o grateful!

I've had lots of time to think about pain. Not just the personal pain I've been enduring, but the subject of pain in general. Funny how pain moves in to take roost dead center in your life. It has incredible power that way.

Life seems to serve up hefty portions of pain now and then - whether it's physical, emotional or spiritual. Sometimes (probably most times) we bring it on ourselves. Yet there are those times & situations that appear to be built in, and that arrive like tornadoes. Their devastation can be likewise. That sort of pain touched down on Job, and Naomi, and Joseph, and so many others. I know I've felt it's hideous effects. Most have. Some more than others.

It's hard to be grateful for pain, but it truly is a servant of sorts. It tells us when something's wrong - often loud and clear, but more subtly too. Funny how quick are we (well, me anyway ...) to determine who/what is the culprit; never mind it might actually be moi. It'll move us in a specific direction if, that is, we're willing to do whatever it takes to move beyond it. Sometimes we hunker down and get cozy with the pain rather than move forward.

Then again, some pain simply doesn't allow for cozy. It requires action. I've been known to whine, blame, resent, judge or quietly swallow a faux martyrdom when I've been in pain, but more often than not I'm quick to take inventory (aka diagnose), and arrive at a plan of action. Sometimes that requires the help of a physician, mentor, dentist, pastor, friend or the Lord Himself. Sometimes all of the above.

I am not at all reticent to say "no thanks" to pain. But when it visits, like it has this week, I can also say "thank you". Pain either moves you nearer or farther from God's healing, tender touch. It's a catalyst that way, and for that I'm grateful.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Not So Sassy

Of all things, I've got an abscessed tooth that's giving me fits. I have superb and regular dental care, so this came on like an stealth freight train - unbidden, unannounced, unwelcome! I'm headed to the dentist in a few hours, but until then I am one not-so-sassy granny.

Ouch.

I'll return when I have something besides a whine to share.

Ouch.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

An Ordinary Man?

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

While this prose begins with us scratching our heads, it ends with our wiping our eyes.

Immanuel: God is With us!

It is true. It is real.

Monday, December 22, 2008

I Heard the Bells

From the truly tragic to the truly magic ... Peace on earth - a promise that only God can make, and keep.




Sunday, December 21, 2008

Collision Course

Faith and fate often appear to be one and the same. To some, faith is little more than a Polyanna-like idealism, while fate is superstition. Both are seen as oogely boogely stuff that have no basis in rational thought. But, is it possible these two are related? Could it be that destiny actually has any root in reality?
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Guess I better hop over for a visit to Merriam. There I find:
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Faith: allegiance to duty or a person; belief and trust in and loyalty to God; belief in the traditional doctrines of a religion; firm belief in something for which there is no proof: complete trust
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Fate: the will or principle or determining cause by which things in general are believed to come to be as they are or events to happen as they do; an inevitable and often adverse outcome, condition, or end final outcome
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Destiny: something to which a person or thing is destined; a predetermined course of events often held to be an irresistible power or agency
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I may have some trouble connecting these dots, but connected they are.
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For it is by grace you have been saved,
through faith—and this not from yourselves,
it is the gift of God—not by works, so that
no one can boast. For we are God's work-
manship, created in Christ Jesus to do
good works, which God prepared in
advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:8-10
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Here we have a voice - one far more wizened that Merriam's - that says they are one and the same. What we believe (faith) is tied to who we are (destiny), and to what transpires (fate) in our lives. It's not pre-destination, by any means ... But an affirmation of what God Himself already knew and knows about us - - before we are even conceived, as well as the course we'll walk among the living, and what's to become of us when the span of our lives cease. It also pulls the power out of any self-righteous claim to one's own faith, or even the faith of another. It - like breath - is a gift!
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It's so very intentional, this business of faith ... which is where the similarities part company with the fickle fancy of fate that would have us tossed and tasked with whatever prevailing winds blow us about. Fate and destiny by themselves are little more than happenstance. They would have us believe we are little more than pawns in some huge cosmic chess match. Nothing could be further from the truth! Here is where fate and faith collide.
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I realize this is hugely over-simplified, but I fear any further connecting of the dots would lead straightaway to a length rivaling Gone With the Wind. One thing's clear, though: faith is not the oogely boogely superstition it's often made out to be. It's as solid as rock! If anything lacks body, it's fate and destiny apart from it. In fact, it's fairly safe to say that faith apart from Him is little more than foolheartedly whistling in the dark. It quickly digresses to become nothing more than false bravado.
.
Now faith is being sure of what we hope for
and certain of what we do not see. This is
what the ancients were commended for.
By faith we understand that the universe
was formed at God's command, so that what
is seen was not made out of what was visible.
Hebrews 11:1-3
..

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Spans

Sometimes I count down the days until Christmas along with everybody else. Or, I chuckle at the reminders from buddy Art at the office when, usually beginning sometime around mid-January and continuing on through spring, summer and fall, he begins sending e-reminders that Christmas is but umpty-umpty days away. Today he could rightly report that we have but 5 days remaining.
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Funny ... we begin counting, preparing, relishing or dreading this annual event as if it's altogether new each and every time. In so many ways it is, sort of like giving birth when each newborn is welcomed as if it were the first and only child ever delivered (or so we hope). Perhaps that's the joy of Christmas, just as it's the joy of delivery: labor intensive, welcome, captivating, indescribable.
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Yes, each Christmas is new and different, giving rise to deep thought and joyous wonder. In some strange cosmic way, it stamps the passing year with "closed" even as it stamps the one about to arrive with "new".
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Time's an amazing thing. I don't think of it much unless, of course, I'm running out of it. It is then that I am most aware - acutely so - that it's a creation just like all other creations. It's not eternal. As such it is finite. I have only so much; so does a rose, or a star, or a cookie, or a course, or a pair of shoes. Nothing is forever except forever.
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Now there's a word: span. Today I'm spanning the last of 2008 as I ready for 2009. I'm spanning the gap between have and have not in my bank account. I'm spanning the time between visits to see the grandchildren. I'm living a span.
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Time is rare, more rare than fine diamonds or spotted owls. That makes it precious ... priceless. We can't save it, or get back what's been frittered away, or add more when we begin to run out. When it's gone, it's gone.
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The length of our days is seventy years - or eighty,
if we have the strength; yet their span is but trouble
and sorrow, for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may
gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:10, 12
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I'm still thinking about those things I need to leave behind with 2008, and those things I need to embrace or drag along into 2009. I don't make resolutions, but I do renew the contract every year. And, as I number my own days in order to make wise choices, I find there are fewer of them (days and choices). Probably no more than 9,085 more sunrises if I live to be 90; far fewer if I live a shorter span. I have learned that I must approach all things with the end in mind, including what lies beyond the span.
.
I don't often check the clock or refer to the calendar. For some marvelous reason I always wake up long before the alarm, and my internal wiring allows me to remember a commitment or special occasion without constantly referring to days and dates. But the coming and going of years is an altogether different thing.
.
All I know is that 2009 will arrive in 12 days. When it does, I hope I've done my homework heartwork as I move into it. It will then again be 365 more days until Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The gods Among vs the God With Us

As I've been making my way through the Bible book of First Kings, I am struck anew by the fickle, violent, creepy nature of the lesser god Baal. It may seem an odd blog theme given the present Christmas season. Maybe. Yet somehow it seems most appropriate, especially because of the season upon us.
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Once again, believers around the globe are, with the wide-eyed wonder of a child, considering the incredible nature of Christmas ... literally, and ever so mysteriously - God coming to be with us. It was a promise given, a prophecy foretold, and a historical event so well-documented it boggles the mind.
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Others will bend their knee, either knowingly or unwittingly to their lesser god(s). How do I know? Because we all worhsip something, and gods need not be called "gods" to actually be such. If you dig just beneath the surface, you see that most of them are iterations of Baal, the god that represents everything from pagan deities to humanism, from hedonism to rationalism.
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We don't hear about or talk much of Baal worship these days. The god Baal seems consigned to the realms of Sumerian lore. It was Baal that asked of his adherents that they do his bidding and seek his favor in the most bizaar ways; ways that often required extreme violence and promiscuity. He still does. Without his approval, crops fail, gains are reversed, and fertility is blighted. But gaining that approval will cost you dearly!
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On the other hand, the God of the scriptures (while disdained by many today as being a restrictive and narrow minded fable), would have us understand our vital value. He tells us that we must do nothing to gain His favor and, furthermore, that He'll actually provide the method and means of safety, as well as the blessings we'll need to navigate the challenges of life. He loves us in that manner as a loving parent does a beloved child. And gaining His approval cost Him dearly!
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One seeks to be among us; the other seeks to be with us.
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As I said, it really is an "odd" theme. But stay with me if you will.
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The worship of Baal goes back to the early centuries to at least 1400 BC. He is the son of Dagon, and actually arrived on the scene to displace the Phoenician/Caananite god El. He is one and the same as the god Hadad. The name "Baal" is, itself, a divine title. It is synonymous with "owner, master, husband", and throughout the earliest records of religious belief systems we find there were greater and lesser Baals. To determine the god of one's life, we might ask: "Who or what owns me?" or "Who or what is Lord of my life today?"
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In the grandest scope, Baal was believed to be the "giver of life" and mankind was dependant upon him for providing what was necessary to sustain their farms, flocks and herds. He was also called the son of Dagon (who was in control of the grain), and Hadad the storm god who would provide plentiful rains after hearing his voice (thunder).
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Spires & obelisks associated with Baal were made of symbols that represented reproductive powers. Thus, their worship ministered to sexual indulgences, which - by its very practice - was legalized and encouraged. Further, there was placed side by side with the Ba'al a corresponding female symbol, the Ashtoreth (Asherah - Ashtar - Ishtar); the relation between the two deities was set forth as the example and the motive of unbridled sensuality. In that way Baal had a consort, or co-god. Thus Baal was the supreme male divinity of the Phoenician and Canaanitish nations, as Ashtoreth was their supreme female divinity.
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One ritual they practiced was the sacred orgy. The people would get together, get very drunk, and engage in promiscuous sex. The stated reason for this ceremony was to celebrate fertility: By acting out acts of reproduction, they thanked their gods, Baal and Asherah, for their success at bearing children, breeding animals, and growing crops, and prayed for more of the same.
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Another ritual was child sacrifice. This was supposed to be an act of adoration to their god: they sacrificed the thing most valuable to them in the world -- their children -- to the god.
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Ba'al-ze'bub (Beelzebub = aka demon) was the form of the name of Baal who was worshiped at the Philistine city of Ekron. Baal, under this aspect of worship, was viewed as the producer of flies and therefore able to control this pest so common in the East. Literally, "Lord of the Flies"!
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In the most real sense, Baal is a false christ. It should be obvious that all worship of self, even though disguised as worship of Christ but which evades the principle of the cross is, in reality, Baal-worship.
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"The apostasy prevailing today is similar to that which in the prophet’s day overspread Israel. In the exaltation of the human above the divine, in the praise of popular leaders, in the worship of mammon, and in placing of the teachings of science above the truths of revelation, multitudes today are following after Baal."
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Baal, as chief among the lesser gods, resides among us even now. Performance is pivotal in following hard after him, with a heightened emphasis on sexual perversion. Gaining his approval, then, requires we be degraded and devalued as mortals ... with or without our consent. He is exalted in our debasement. His mantra is that we are free to do and experience everything we desire, no constraints. Never mind the sorrow or danger it brings.
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Let's contrast Baal's persona to that of Immanuel's, God (is) with us. The word "with" itself gives us some clues. As Merriam tells us, it is: a participant in action, and a statement of equality. It would seem, then, that Immanuel seeks to honor the mortal, granting us value as brothers, and esteem as His beloved. Instead of requiring we sacrifice our own precious sons, He - The Son - is sent and sacrificed for us. He would hedge us with boundaries that safeguard us, alerting us to the dangers of our doing anything we think might make us happy. His work is sufficient; no co-regent, co-god/goddess is required. In Him, it is finished!
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When it all boils down to the lowest common denominator, we worship either the gods among us, or the God that actually came to be with us. In reality, we become what we worship.
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Which is why this is not such an odd post afterall... God is with us, and for us.
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For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace
there will be no end. He will reign on David's
throne and over his kingdom, establishing and
upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever. Therefore the
Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin
will be with child and will give birth to a son,
and will call him Immanuel.

Isaiah 9:6-7, 7:14

Sources:
http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/index.jsp
http://www.bible-history.com/
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/index.html
http://www.pregnantpause.org/index.html

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Year of the Catered Party

2008 Staff Christmas Party
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BEHIND THE SCENES

With my trusty Home Team helpers (who are also fabulous cooks, organized whiz-kids, and darn good friends) - Nancy, Judi, Toni, Jane and Kim ... We embarked upon catering for a group of 50. What was I thinking????

It all began with an empty room and some tables ...

With a little sweeping help from my coffee sipping hubby ...





Then it morphed to some tables covered with festive linens ...



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Eventually guests arrived, and a jolly good (yummy) time ...

But as most parties go ... it ended with clean up.
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Thanks to the help of some hard working hubbies, the job went quickly (laced with fatigued fun)!

Thank you, my dear, dear helpers. I couldn't have done it without you!!

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(Special mention to Gary, Dan, Greg & Terry for their help)
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(Super special mention to Michelle for crafting a fabulous dessert!)

Monday, December 15, 2008

All That Glitters

I just read an article about what people are doing in order to pay their bills during our present tough economy. Most of us are cutting back and assessing "needs" versus "wants", and some are really having to get creative about how best to stretch a dollar. Some, like the owners of these fine jewelry pieces are literally pawning what they cannot use to pay for what they absolutely must have - - must haves that include house payments, water, electricity, food... and this process occurring amidst the Christmas season.
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It saddens me, but it encourages me too. Tough times call for tough choices ... In my own experience, the tough times and tough choices have really helped to put into perspective what's truly important. Funny, though, how quickly I forget.
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I do not mean to over-simplify the tragedy of losing a home or of not being able to buy your child a Christmas present or - worse - not being sure how you're going to feed that child. It's a rugged experience, no two ways about it. Financial strife can truly break a heart. But I would hope that these days, these opportunities, would help each of us to measure and weigh the vitally needful things in our lives. Most likely the list would include things like: health, family, friends. I would hope it includes faith.
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That's my New Year's challenge to myself: What do I really need? Right now the list will be quite lengthy. I'm thinking hoping it'll be brief by the time I'm through. I've got roughly two weeks before I step into 2009, and maybe ... just maybe ... I'll be toting a lot, lot less - at least, that is, until I forget again.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Yes Elaine, No More Strike!

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Ok ... I spent yesterday morning advancing upon local purveryors of artificial Christmas trees with a vengeance. My cyber-buddy Elaine had convinced me that MY tree (the pretty artificial one at a price I could abide) was OUT THERE. So out there I went with little more than Elaine's word (and a wee bit of faith)!
..
Almost everything I could abide pricewise was 7 foot or less. Given the 20 foot nature of my ceiling, that simply wasn't good enough. But the big ones cost the equivalent of a roundtrip airfare to Hawaii. So I nearly despaired, thinking I'd have to remain on strike until at least 2009.
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BUT THEN I saw it ... a 12 foot, prelit tree that would fit perfectly into the corner of the living room. The best part: It was less than $200!!!
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Thanks, Elaine. Without the gentle shove I might still be home sipping cider with the snow people.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Lemonade Anyone?

Blogger buddy Robin has graced me with this delightful award. She tells me that it recognizes blogs that reveal great attitude and/or gratitude. Robin goes on to write:
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Sassy Granny has a unique wit and depth, you may read about history, science, her daily life or just what’s on her mind. I enjoy stopping by for my daily dose of this Sassy Granny. I can now claim my gray hair and unattractive neck as “credentials”. Now I call that a great attitude. Love ya Sassy Granny.
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I must say that I'm always honored and blessed when valued, no matter how that value is expressed. Thank you, Robin!
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In order to keep my award, I am now tagged with the delightful exercise of paying it forward. So here are the cyber-buddies I take great delight in myself:
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Elaine writes amazing, deep, soul-stirring lessons on every subject imaginable. She wrestles transparently with life even while finding "peace for the journey" in the Provider of such peace. She also cracks me up!
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Terri is, by far, the e-voice of writing inspiration, challenging bloggers everywhere to put on their intentional best and get with it! An avid, prolific writer herself, she offers a treasure trove of resources and encouragement. She's also a sassy granny!

Sharon is yet another unabashed grandmother and creative blogger. Visiting her site is a trip to cyber-Hallmark, a hallmark event in itself. Witty and wise, she is quickly becoming a great cyber-friend.

Beth is about as real as they come. Like a familiar buddy, she writes with heart and humor, captivating us with authenticity. If you rush right over, you can read her posts while enjoying delightful Christmas music!

Melinda offers creativity and warmth, and fun insights into her world. Her blogroll alone is worth a million bucks, connecting us to a world of fabulous writers and commentators on all things wholesome!

Kelli writes from her very "ordinary" perspective of a great many extraordinary things. Her personal and family sagas are great fun, and I absolutely delight in her spirit of adventure!
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Melanie harbors astute insights. She writes of hearth & home, and always warms my own.
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Portland Granny, like me, offers an eclectic assortment. Hers is a comforting, fun site; one that boasts a Molly of her own. That makes us kindred sassies!
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Dave, an ESPN sports caster, author (When Bad Christians Happen to Good People), and public speaker posts a compelling commentary on so many subjects, so many levels. He is always good for a dose of reality that often includes laughter and/or tears.
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There are others as well ... too many to mention but well worth visiting when you're doing a blog-scan. Each deserves the Lemonade Award! Just a few more to check out:
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Season for Everything
Rosezilla
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The "pay it forward" baton has now been passed. Here are your rules:

• Nominate at least 10 blogs which show great Attitude and/or Gratitude!
• Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
• Let them know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
• Share the love and link to this post to the person from whom you received your award.
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So now I have my very own lemonade cart. Catch you guys on the corner ... it's only 50 cents and a cyber-hop away!

Kathleen
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Friday, December 12, 2008

The Joy of the Twelfs

HAPPY BIRTHDAY
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MOLLY & RYLIE
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The number "12" long ago became our favorite!
...

Today our one and only daughter celebrates, along with her one and only daughter, their joint birthdays. It's more than a coincidence, for truly these two were forever meant to share far more than merely the day of their birth.
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My recall of the day's delivery delights in 1970, and then again in 1996 is vivid, acute. I didn't know a heart could be swept so completely away by maternal love, or saturated so profusely with gratitude. It still is.
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Thus Rylie turns 12 on 12/12.
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How fitting - a triple dose of 12s much like the triple dose of joy these girls ladies bring to our lives.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What, No Tree?

If there's one thing I relish, it's predictability. If there's one thing I disdain, it's predictability. That may consign me to the contrarian class, or sound as if I'm duplicitous (aren't those great words?), but I see both - relish and disdain - as being on flip-sides of the same coin.
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I love all things Christmas. It's an incredible, awesome, unbelievable, miraculous marker that never ceases to amaze me. It takes little more than a round of O Come All Ye Faithful and a cinnamon scented candle to flood my soul with good old fashioned Christmas spirit. Add a dose of It's a Wonderful Life and I'm as content (or fidgety) as a 5 year old waiting for Santa! Top it off with a cup of mulled cider and a gingerbread cookie and life doesn't get much better.
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So why don't I have a Christmas tree?
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Expediency, thrift, rebellion.
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You see, fresh trees don't last more than 89 minutes indoors in Arizona unless, that is, you like your tree in neat needle piles on the floor. I find said piles difficult to decorate, so fresh trees are out.
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We had a rather cheesy fake (aka artificial) tree that actually looked rather lovely by the time I strung 1700 lights (saying bad things the whole time) and hanged 32 bolts (or reams, or bushels ... whatever they're called) of ribbon, along with assorted ornaments. Never mind that it took the better part of two days to make the silk purse out of the pig's snout (a favorite euphemism of my mother)!
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Advancements have occurred even in the realm of fake trees, and now that there's pre-lit ones, I'm on strike until I get one. Don't ask me who I'm striking, but I'm striking anyway. They cost too much. When the price comes down (though that won't happen until 3 days following my purchase of one at a higher cost ... Murphy's Law, you know ...), I'll relent. So for now I both love and loathe Christmas trees. I'm OK with the seeming contradiction.
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Guess my snow people and I will sip cider sans tree until I'm no longer on strike.
..





Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More About Those Dry Falls

Last week, while enjoying our drive-about, we inadvertantly routed ourselves through new territory while traveling the eastern realms of Washington State. It was then that I discovered the Dry Falls near Ephrata. I wrote about them on Day Five, Sunrise to Sunset.
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Those falls have cropped up in my thoughts ever since.

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As much as I like to ponder things, I also like to ponder facts and findings, so I began digging a bit further. I realized then, as I do now, that secular science wants to put a trillion + year evolutionary spin on their formation, but in my heart-of-hearts I'm not buying it. Straight away the falls have the earmark of catastrophy (a term that fit them long before I ever read the following article), and we all know how quickly and easily hydro-power can revamp the contours of the land, even the toughest rock.
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Here's what I found out from the Creationist point of view.

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History
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Harlen Bretz named this area of eastern Washington the Channeled Scablands. The idea that sites, such as the Palouse Falls Gorge or Dry Falls, were the results of floods was thought to be outrageous, and described by some as near lunacy since the area receives very little rainfall today.
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It took many decades for Harlen Bretz to finally receive the credit he deserved. In fact, it was not until the area was observed from the air that many of the Scabland features were accepted as flood deposits, such as the giant ripples, which are up to 30 feet high and 250 feet apart.
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Almost fifty years following his original proposal, Harlen Bretz
was hailed as a hero, and in 1979, at the age of 96, he was given geology's highest honor — the Penrose Medal, which rewards one researcher each year for exceptional contributions to geology. The Channeled Scablands have now been dedicated to Harlen Bretz, and it is commonly known that this area was destroyed by a massive flood catastrophe. The flood was caused when a large glacial lake, called lake Missoula, broke through its natural dam and destroyed the majority of eastern Washington. During the Missoula flood, stratified layers and canyons were formed rapidly. These features are common to our world and geologists are quick to interpret them as the result of slow and gradual processes because they cannot accept that the Biblical global flood was responsible.
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"Bretz knew that the very idea of catastrophic flooding would threaten and anger the geological community." Andrew Macrae, University of Calgary, Department of Geology & Geophysics
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Bias against catastrophism
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The Channeled Scablands illustrate the strong bias held by modern geologists against a catastrophic interpretation of the Earth's geology. Prior to the 19th century, most geologists were catastrophists who believed that the earth's fossiliferous rock was the result of the Biblical global flood. Around 1850 a major shift in thinking started to take hold, and the geological discipline began to develop into what it is today. As evolutionary theory began to spread, so did the idea that the earth was very old. Geologists began to interpret features, such as flood plains and canyons, based on current rates of deposition and erosion. Uniform rates and intensities were instead proposed as being the force behind the monumental quantities of flood sediment that covers the world. Uniformitarianism still governs the study of geology today.

Modern geology
has been largely founded upon the need by naturalists to explain our world independent of supernatural Biblical references such as the global flood. Even a suggestion that massive floods were involved with the formation of geologic features can subject a person to scorn and cause them to become ostracized by their peers. An example of this attitude is illustrated by the story of Harlen Bretz, who proposed in the 1920s that the topography of eastern Washington State was the result of a massive catastrophic flood.
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The geological community is threatened by the idea of catastrophic flooding because the most obvious interpretation of the fossil record
is a global flood. Unfortunately, geologists cannot correctly interpret the world's geology because today the community is comprised exclusively of naturalists.
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The Bible says there was a supernaturally-based global flood and animals are only alive due to an act of supernatural intervention. Contrary to this testimony, the deposits that cover the world must be explained by naturalists as though these animals survived the formation of the flood deposits naturally. Although the earth is completely covered in hundreds of feet of flood sediment, they must instead propose that it all accumulated so slowly and gradually that life was able to exist atop that material during its formation.
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If geologists cannot recognize that the Channeled Scablands were the result of a flood, how can they recognize the Biblical gobal flood?
"In the end, the ‘truth’ of catastrophism did win, but it took more than 50 years to see the project through. And this was despite the fact that the event in question was relatively easy to document through field observations." E. K. Peters, No Stone Unturned: Reasoning About Rocks and Fossils, 1991, pp. 78 and 84.
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In a 1999 paper, several geologists presented a paper showing evidence suggesting one Flood, or a few, and refuted the theory of many floods of a period of hundreds of years. (Shaw et al, 605-608)
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In the six hundredth year of Noah's life,
on the seventeenth day of the second month—
on that day all the springs of the great deep
burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens
were opened. And rain fell on the earth
forty days and forty nights.
For forty days the flood kept coming
on the earth, and as the waters
increased they lifted the ark
high above the earth.
The waters rose and increased greatly
on the earth, and the ark floated
on the surface of the water.
They rose greatly on the earth,
and all the high mountains
under the entire heavens were covered.
The waters rose and covered the mountains
to a depth of more than twenty feet.
Genesis 7:11-2, 17-20

Monday, December 8, 2008

Why Believe? Bus Wars

As disgusted as I've been with the atheistic agenda to eradicate God from the country's foundational worldview (is it just me, or do they seem especially virulent these days???), I am grateful for the talking points they've raised. I especially appreciate the bus wars.

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I'm going to leave it at this, rather than grab my own personal soapbox (I'm saving it for 2009). Afterall, it's CHRISTmas time and my thoughts stir along the line of Peace on Earth, Goodwill Towards Men themes.

Sunrise to Sunrise - Day 11

3,986 miles. Five states (AZ, UT, MT, WA, ID). Temps ranging from 21 to 55. Snow. Rain. Fog. Sun. Mists. Road grime. Extra pounds (you can't eat 3,000 calories a day with little or no exercise without side effects ... ). A pile of laundry.
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That about does it. We're officially whooped, and officially back in AZ - 4 days ahead of schedule (when Terry takes a notion, all veto power is negated). But oh what a blast it was!

Time to get back in the groove, whatever that is. We have so come to relish our rather atypical, spontaneous life-style that normal or groove merely implies we have a modicum of routine.
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Today's highlight? Sipping coffee ... for now. No doubt my traveling buddy will later take another notion that entails cooking.
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P.S. I'm so glad I had my laptop along in order to keep up with blogs, news, email and the like. I've now cleared out all my SPAM (aptly named), which included at least 53 notices about my having won some lottery or been gifted millions by a South African philanthropist. Golly.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Sunrise to ....

It's true: You can never go home again.
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While we relish all that is dear about our roots here in Tacoma, Puyallup, University Place and Federal Way, we connect with it as one might an heirloom, or an antique car. It is no longer home. Rather, it's vintage habitat that is best savored. Come to think of it, we're a bit vintage ourselves!
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So for now I'll flip the e-switch on blogging while we rest a spell (now that's a word you don't hear very often!). Said rest will probably not be all that restful considering we have lots of family and friends here, and we'll do our best to connect with each. Besides, we need to digest all we've seen and discussed thus far; sorting out the ying from the yang. Afterall, this is an intentional drive-about we're having; one focused on the chapter that reads "Growing Old."
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But not today. Today we're loving living with youthful vigor and many dreams yet to dream.
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P.S. I'll be checking email and peaking in on my favorite bloggers, news and study sites. But the camera and wordsmithing will be collecting some dust for the next few days.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sunrise to Sunset - Day Five

I lived in Washington State nearly all my life. I would have guessed I'd traveled nearly every road and visited every scenic site - or at least known of them. Today I found that was but a myth as I beheld, with incredulity, the Dry Falls. Looking much like Niagara Falls sans H2O, these massive rock formations deserve far more acclaim that they've been given.
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The Dry Falls are on the opposite side of the Upper Grand Coulee from the Columbia River; at the head of the Lower Grand Coulee. It's a 3 1/2 mile crescent-shaped precipice, ten times the size of Niagara! They're thought to be the greatest known waterfall that ever existed. Geologists speculate that during the last ice age catastrophic flooding (ya' think?) channeled water at 65 miles per hour through the Upper Grand Coulee and over this 400-foot rock face. At this time, it is estimated that the flow of the falls was ten times the current flow of all the rivers in the world combined.
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Whoa! What a way to start our day - beauty, mystery, eons, cataclysms, speculations ... (By way of a disclaimer, I have to add that I'm a Creationist through-and-through. Regardless of what is served up by the geological community, these falls could well have formed during creation and/or certainly during the violent hydro-power forces attending the noahic flood. Thus I will probe the theories proferred by the Christian community of scientists and geologists to compare claims.).
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Everything paled from that point onward.
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In hindsight, the falls experience humbled me on several levels. Not only are they awe-inspiring, but they serve to remind me of the powerful fact that many things - large and small - have escaped my notice.
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I ask: What else don't I know?
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And in the next breath I answer myself: More than I do know!
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As we moved further south we were pleasantly surprised by the earthy scents and plowed perfection of winter wheat fields. By now we'd gone as far as Yakima and Selah. Selah? Isn't that the biblical pause between any number of David's Psalms? (A Hebrew word that means to weigh or measure.) Mmmm ... Seems almost prophetic as we weigh so many things.
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Our trek today was quieter than other days. It's as if we each sought to absorb all we'd seen or considered. Rather spontaneously, Terry pointed our wagon train west up the White Pass (the one spent with infant grandson 12 years ago) and dead-headed to Puyallup - home to our children and grandchildren.
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Tonight's rest is particularly sweet. Tomorrow begins a period of several days when we'll connect with our beloved family.
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For now, selah. .

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sunrise to Sunset - Day Four

Our enchantment with the mist and fog that had settled over Spokane ran out today. In fact, it created a sense of blah in our otherwise idealic sojourn - - a condition that took most of the day to remedy.
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It lifted noticeably when we made our way along the mighty Columbia River, and then as we climbed out of the gorge cut deep into the rocks by her tenacious power. The wide-eyed wonderment returned, and with no particular destination in mind, and no particular agenda to follow, we allowed the river to map our way.
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When we rounded what seemed like the 83rd winding curve along the Bureau of Indian Affairs Route 10 (how DID we find this route, anyway?), we came upon a vista that revealed the Omak Reservoir far, far below. Ahhhhh, once again creation sang chorus after chorus the song of God's majesty. Enchantment had again taken me captive.
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We talked and pondered; pondered and talked. Again and again we shared our dreams for the latter days of our lives. It's too soon to make any final decisions, but this window shopping stuff has become a compelling exercise. It's so intentional! If for no other reason, it is a worthwhile stock-taking.
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We scoped out the highlands and lowlands. Our wandering eventually lead us to yet another of my childhood escapes, Lake Conconully. It had been a favorite camping and fishing destination for my dad and his kin, and eventually became a favorite of my mother's as well. I grew up thinking it a wondrous place where little girls rode horses and men fished; where good food came from a camp stove, and night fell hard, and early.
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In fact, it was just above the lake, at Salmon Meadows, that I had my first encounter with the God I've come to know so personally. I was little then ... very little. Yet I remember so vividly how aware I'd become of His gaze. I didn't know Who He was, or why He'd watch me. But He was; I was sure of it! I wasn't afraid, but I was certainly mystified. It was and is a moment forever etched on my soul, so it is no surprise that my heart is drawn there still, and now.
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We stayed long enough to see the deer, and to navigate the narrow road that surrounds both the lower and upper lakes. As we left, I longed to look back over my shoulder and see my dad gearing up his fishing line.
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Tonight, as I turn down the volume on today, Salmon Meadows whispers to me again. He is watching, and this time I watch back. He knows my name, and I know His.
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She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her:
"You are the God who sees me," for she said,
"I have now seen the One who sees me."
Genesis 16:13

Sunrise Song

I do believe I'm going to cry this entire trip!