Saturday, May 29, 2010

Amazing Hybrids

Incredibly bizarre or mysteriously beautiful, hybrids can be seen across the landscape of our human experience. Most notably we find them in our gardens.

Years ago, hubby Terry was smitten with the beauty of hybrid roses. Slowly, and with intentional stealth, he dotted our yard with a wide array of Jackson & Perkins offerings.

Here's the deal: Hybrids cannot reproduce, and they have no scent.

I know you know that, but for some odd reason this fact assaulted my spiritual senses this week. It occurred to me that, no matter how beautiful or weird, hybrids are short-lived creatures. Their mystery resides in, & revels at the composite DNA that makes for their existence.

Merriam tells us that hybrids are: 1 : an offspring of two animals or plants of different races, breeds, varieties, species, or genera, or 2 : a person whose background is a blend of two diverse cultures or traditions

In the realm of nature, not all bad.

In the realm of the spirit, not at all good.

Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers.
How can righteousness be a
partner with wickedness?
How can light live with darkness?
What harmony can there be
between Christ and the devil?
How can a believer be a
partner with an unbeliever?
And what union can there be
between God’s temple and idols?
For we are the temple of
the living God.
2 Corinthians 6:14-16 (NLT)

I don't mean to imply that believers and unbelievers ought not mix. Heaven's no! There are many unbelievers in my life, and I love them dearly. I think they'd say the same about me.

What st
ruck me in the hybrid-regard of which I speak is this:

We can mix
God's ways and man's ways; His words and man's words, all we want, but the outcome will be an oddity so absurd we can't believe our eyes; or so marvelously & deceptively beautiful it will bring tears. In both cases it's an aberration - sterile, unscented, unable to reproduce.

Not at all what God had in mind.

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 ...
the fragrance of life.
2 Corinthians 2:14-16

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Hello to all,

This is just a quick update to let you know that I'm knee-deep in the magic of ordinary days; magic that includes packing, travels, house-guests, and the general mayhem associated with a state-to-state move. But we're on track, and by July 23rd-ish we'll be leaving our Arizona roost for Washington State.

I realize I've been horribly remiss in my visits to you, and for that I'm truly sorry. Your wit & wisdom often color the somewhat lackluster shade of ordinary that arrives with routines. You have become a cyber-family I treasure greatly.

By next week I ought to have a less dramatic, ordinary existence (can that be?). You can be sure I'll head straight to your place!

With warmth & affection,


Monday, May 24, 2010

Got Awe?

Consider then and realize how evil
and bitter it is for you
when you forsake
the LORD your God
and have
no awe of me,"

declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty.
Long ago you broke off your yoke
and tore off your bonds;
you said,
'I will not serve you!'

Jeremiah 2:19-20

There are probably few among us that have not heard of God in the context of His awesomeness, whether believer or unbeliever. Indeed, our language is dotted with the term, not to mention the Biblical texts, where many and varied placements tell us that the object of our awe is worthy of being labeled awesome.

So what, exactly, is awe? And what, pray tell, is the downside of not having any, or having it for the wrong object(s)?

Merriam defines awe as a noun that means: emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime.

He also says that it's a transitive verb that means: to inspire with awe.

Therefore, someone or something that has the power to summon such a visceral reaction would thus be awesome. I only hope, for me, it's a designation I fully understand and relegate to God, even though I use the term to describe so many other things.

In the God-sense, without awe, one steps decidedly upon a path that leads away from trust and obedience, carrying with them suitcases filled with reverence and longing for some lessor god. The destination is always unknown, no matter our claims otherwise. It's noted with certain mile-markers along the way; mile-markers that always begin with: My way to ...

I believe it's safe to say that we yoke ourselves to whatever it or who we're in awe of.

With awe, we can (if we will) stand amazed at the wonder of God's power, or the mystery of His love. It's both a humbling and exhilarating condition, and it summons both dread of and a longing for The Most High God - - the One and Only God that stoops to meet us where we are.

It is the condition of standing willingly - and stock-still - while His yoke is laid gently on the one who's awed by the Most Awesome.

Much dreaming and many words are meaningless.
Therefore stand in awe of God.
Ecclesiastes 5:7

Dominion and awe belong to God;
He establishes order in the heights of heaven.
Job 25:2

My flesh trembles in fear of You;

I stand in
awe of Your laws.
Psalm 119:120

"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
my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28-30

Monday, May 17, 2010

Blue Grass Bound

Soon after, I returned home to my family,

with a determination to bring them as
soon as possible to live in Kentucky,
which I esteemed a second paradise,
at the risk of my life and fortune.
Daniel Boone

My dear friends, for the next week I'm going to see for myself if Daniel Boone was correct.

I'm headed to Kentucky, again to meet up with cyber-friends. These two I've known since 2003, and I can't begin to tell you how eager I am to get & give some real hugs.

In a rare concession, I'm leaving my laptop at home. So, until next week, I'm off to ascertain Daniel's reliability.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Putting Context Into Context

It's a good day to drop in on my friend Merriam. A word's been clunking around in my thoughts like a cerebral marble in the clothes dryer.

The word? Context.

Even before I dropped by Merriam's place for some help, the term rose up again - and powerfully - in my reading yesterday afternoon.

In Art Lindsley's masterful work ,"True Truth"
(a must read! for everyone), there's a chapter devoted to contextualization. The entire book is gripping, but this particular portion gave me a better idea of why, exactly, such a word might be important to understand.

It derives from the Latin root contextus which means the connection of words, or coherence. The deepest aspect of the word means to weave together.

In today's vernacular (do you like that one, Beth?), it means ...

  • 1. The parts of a discourse that surround a word or passage and can throw light on its meaning
  • 2. The interrelated conditions in which something exists or occurs (i.e., environment, setting, history)
So, equipped now with linguistic armor, I just might be able to put context to the context that's interrupted all my other thoughts.

Let me first share a couple of favorite sayings:

It's never what it (fill in the "it" with
ANY circumstance) seems.

We don't know what we don't know.

These statements simply serve to remind me that I often do not, or cannot discern the context of a situation or challenge. I try, and sometimes I even think "I get it!". However, it's typically not until the passage of time, and with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight that a picture comes into clearer focus.

As if to turn the telescope in the right direction, my rear-view sight is often far more wizened than my sight when looking straight onto something (the forest versus the trees condition).

Either I view a situation as it really is, or I enlarge or shrink it depending on which end of the telescope I peer through.

Typically it's not until later - sometimes MUCH later - that the fuzziness of my my vision clears. At some point I see exactly what Merriam suggests - the context is finally woven together.

The true truth of the word context, as well ANY of the content associated with it, is that there is none apart from God. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

God's providence is on the side of clear heads.
Henry Ward Beecher

Phew! The marble has been silenced.

And we know that in all things
God works for the good of those
who love him, who have been
called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

The longer I live,
the more faith I have in Providence,
and the less faith in my
interpretation of Providence.

Jeremiah Day

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Bloggers Just Wanna Have Fun

I will go before you and will level the mountains;
I will break down gates of bronze

cut through bars of iron.

I will give you the treasures of darkness,
riches stored in secret places,
so that you may know that I am the LORD,
the God of Israel, who summons you by name.

Isaiah 45:2-3

What a day!

Debbie from Heart Choices, Mary from Pile of Smiles, and I gathered
yesterday in the cool of Prescott's charm for a blogGirl-fest-n-feast extraordinaire!

Following a long "hello" we made our way to the Gurley Street Grille (yum!), where we roosted for a solid four hours.

Our time of feasting was fabulous, but not half so fabulous as our feast on God's word and promises.

For hours we shared the highlights of each of our lives, as well
as our insights and experience; our certainties and quandaries. We laughed. We pondered. We prayed.

When it came time to part company, I was left with the sense that this would not be our last such gathering. Debbie and I hugged Mary farewell, and then continued on our way back to the Phoenix valley.

Throughout the 90 minute re
turn-trip we extended our chatter & laughter, filled now with the gratitude of our day away, and Mary's VERY real friendship.

I know many among us feel, at times, that blogging is a questionable pass-time. I've even asked myself: "Surely there's something more productive you could be doing, Kathleen?"

But ever-a
nd-always I am reminded that community was God's idea; not mine. It's formed in the strangest of places, and roots deeply - one heart by one heart after another - to form the whole of it.

In fact, it roots deepest in hearts after God's own!

Thank you, "girls", for the new and powerful memories, and for honoring me with your time & camaraderie.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Informing the Soul

We are in danger of forgetting that
we cannot do what God does,

and that God will not do what we can do.

We cannot save ourselves nor

sanctify ourselves,

God does that;

but God will not give us good habits,

He will not give us character,

He will not make us walk aright.

We have to do all that ourselves,

we have to work out the salvation

God has worked in.

Oswald Chambers
The above is a quote from "My Utmost for His Highest" yesterday, May 10. The overriding thought was linked to virtue, but that's not what summoned my notice. Something else gripped me, and that had everything to do with intentionality. What's more, it was the very answer to a prayer I've been praying for many weeks now.

Wringing out the wisdom of God's way versus my own still challenges me. My way would be to allow my feelings to inform my thoughts, and from there craft a decision, or take aggressive action (unless, that is, I take the passive part and do nothing).

His way is that I would permit HIS MIND to inform me. All of me. His thoughts are the filter by which my feelings are brought under His control. I gain perspective and balance, and from there I am able to craft a decision or action that is, hopefully, the most God-honoring - even if it requires a bent neck on my part. Both aggression and passivity are flushed.

This then is the route & way of walking in the light. (Ever notice He never tells us to sit in the light?)

What a HUGE distinction lies between my ways and His! Either my feelings are life's rudder, or His word (His mind, His spirit) is.

This is not new stuff, either for me or you. It's merely (can such be said of anything ordained?) the wisdom we wring from doing life His way in lieu of our own. It's obedience that will, eventually, result in peace.

Unless God has an eye that does not see, neither love nor faith is blind! He will always lead us to the higher ground, and our steps will be intentional - not contrived nor coerced.

My way just might settle for the shadows or a hasty retreat. Worse, they might entail a frontal assault to the jugular.

No thank you.
... as God's chosen people,
holy and dearly loved,
clothe yourselves with compassion,
kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
Bear with each other and
forgive whatever grievances you may
have against one another.
Forgive as the Lord forgave you.
And over all these virtues put on love,
which binds them all together
in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts,
since as members of one body
you were called to peace.
And be thankful.
Colossians 3:12-16


Saturday, May 8, 2010

Mother's Day

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD
is to be praised.
Give her the reward she has earned,

and let her works bring her
praise at the city gate.
Proverbs 41-30-31

Born Helen Evelyn Grinnell on August 26, 1907, my mother was anything but typical.

Oh, you can be sure she enjoyed all things prissy - frilly dresses, fancy "do"s, and the like - but she also had an eye for the adventurous.

She was a bold & courageous woman, though such sturdy attributes were often shaded by her tendency towards fretting, and the fact that her tongue was sometimes sharp.

From her young years on a farm in South Dakota, to her making her own way to Washington State (where providentially she met and married my father), mother was first-and-foremost a "lady".

I cannot recall her memory, or honor her motherhood without somehow linking her to her young years. She was a much-beloved child, and so it is no wonder that we - her four daughters - were equally beloved.

Too, mother was every bit my father's equal. Certainly they had diverse roles in the family, but she never missed an opportunity to join him in fly-fishing, berry picking, yard puttering, or basement chores. His workbench could be seen just feet from her laundry sink. Often they spent their evenings together attending to their respective chores; and every Saturday night you'd find them watching Lawrence Welk together; snuggled closely and munching popcorn. Oh how they loved to dance! I am the youngest of Helen's four daughters. While my sisters leaned strongly on their bonds to our father, my own formed closest to my mother. Perhaps that's because I was unplanned, unexpected, but never unwanted (as was my own youngest) - the child of their mid-40s; mother 42 and Dad 46 when I arrived.

(I can't help but notice the resemblance in this picture of me at 6 mos, and the one of her above at the same age.)

She's gone now, leaving us in 1976 for a better land. I'll see her again; of that I'm certain. She loved her Jesus, and he well-worn Bible the most enduring of her legacies. I will tell her, then, all those things I forget or neglected to say while she was nearest my hands, or I in her arms.

Today I simply wish to honor her, to rise up and call her blessed. Her worth, to me, is far above rubies!

A mother is a person who,
seeing there are only four pieces of pie
for five people, promptly announces
she never did care for pie.
~Tenneva Jordan

Thursday, May 6, 2010

And Then There Were Five

This is a longer-than-usual post. I've penned it for my youngest son, but you're welcome to read on. It's actually far more than a blog post or story. On so many levels it's a miracle; and it continues to be that! Marvel along with me, if you like:

With a wide-eyed, glassy stare, the look on my face told the doctor I was incredulous, stunned. Beyond stunned.

A little background ...

It had been a particularly difficult Summer, 1972. Since giving birth to my daughter in 1970 I had been plagued with a common plight among the women in my family, hemorrhoids. I decided it was time - long past time - to do something about them, so I agreed to a surgical procedure that would, hopefully, end that particular brand of suffering once-and-for-all.

So, in the Fall of 1972 I underwent the surgical procedure and, within days, began to feel a tremendous sense of relief. Problem was, for many weeks following, I simply had no energy, and just couldn't seem to rally my usual stores - - not good for a mother of two small, lively little ones - then 3 1/2 and 2.

Finally, come January I decided I had better get to the bottom of my malaise so I again visited the doctor. He very quickly assessed my lingering impediment: I was four months pregnant. Pregnant?! Four months pregnant?

Here then, was the source of my referenced stunning!

I'd given little thought to the bazaar behavior of my body, concluding the surgery must have sent it into a tailspin. By his calculation and mine, I was barely pregnant at the time of the surgery, which meant the wee one within had endured that invasive process too.

Worry set in; and throughout the drive home, and for many nights following, I wondered how I could deliver a healthy child given the surgery, the anesthetic, the shuffling of his own secret lodging during exams & surgical procedure, and the pain medication following.

Furthermore, this baby was not at all planned. I'd given away the crib and infant paraphernalia thinking we were a complete family at the whole number, four. Besides, it was an era in our marriage when affections were threadbare; times troubled and money scarce. Surely it would not be prudent to expand our borders (and belly) with a larger family. Surely.

When I shared the news with hubby, we sat for a long while in a stuporous state, just staring at each other. Then we broke into fits of laughter. How funny it was to consider the question:
"How'd this happen?" We knew exactly how, and we knew exactly when.

As I looked ahead to a late June delivery, it was with a mixture of excitement and fear, joy and trepidation. How would I manage three children? Was the infant growing beneath my heart a boy, or a girl? Would that wee one (how prophetic such a term came to be) survive; and would it be OK? What if my marriage couldn't withstand one more pressure? So many "
what"s, "would"s, and "how"s ...

In April of 1973, nearly 2 months ahead of my delivery date, my body began to ready itself for the baby's arrival. We made a midnight run to the hospital because of the early onset of labor. The doctor was quick to share his concern, as well as the reasons why they'd do everything possible to stop the labor. It was simply too early for this little one to show up. To their credit and our relief, the labor ceased and I was sent home.

For several weeks I laid low, or as low as a mother with two toddlers could lay anyway. But just after midnight on May 6, 1973, my body made it enormously clear that it meant business. Labor came on with a vengeance.

Once I'd been admitted to the hospital, I was quickly hooked up t
o monitors and tubes while the nursing staff hustled to make ready a delivery. The heart monitor clearly indicated the baby's distress, so they opted NOT to give me anesthesia until they could do a para-cervical just ahead of the doctor's arrival.

But this little one would not be deterred. He fully intended to arrive with or without the doctor, and with or without a pain-free mother! Thus labor progressed rapidly.

Almost before we had time to settle in, and just as the doctor arrived, a tiny bundle - just 4 pounds,
10 ounces worth - made his grand entrance. Kelly Michael had arrived, and his fragile little frame was quickly whisked away for special attention, and then into an incubator.

For quite some time I was not able to see him, though hubby assured me he was beautiful - fully formed, and quite capable of letting the world know he was on the scene now. My mother's heart would not believe it until I actually laid eyes on him myself; and that meeting seemed hours in the coming.

With tremendous apprehension, I was taken by wheelchair to the nursery. As if it were yesterday, I vividly recall our first encounter. So tiny. So fragile. So utterly beautiful.

The nurse watched closely, then asked: "Would you like to nurse him?"

I hadn't been successful nursing either of my other children, but I felt fiercely confident now.
"Yes!", came my immediate reply.

Slowly and gently, Kelly's tiny body was placed in my arms as all the worry of prior days fled. I searched his face, his feet, his minuscule fingers. I wondered then - and again, and now - how a mother's heart can contain such incredible, incredulous love?

And then there were five, a WHOLE number. Our family was, and is complete!

The rest is history, as they say. But oh what a history it has been! I'll save the larger telling for another time, but suffice it to say that Kelly Michael was, and is, a gift indescribable.

Unplanned ... unexpected ... but never unwanted, the tiny form that showed up early that portentous May night (the ONLY time he's been early) has grown into a fine man these 37 years. He is ...
  • a brother of laughter & affection
  • a friend of loyal leanings & gaiety
  • a husband of devotion & honor
  • a father of fierce love & pride
  • and a son most noble & affectionate
Today I thank God for him (again), and send heartfelt wishes for a very ...


For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully
and wonderfully made; your works are
wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the
depths of the earth, your eyes saw my
unformed body.

All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your
thoughts, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!

Psalm 139:13-17

Monday, May 3, 2010

Let There Be Peace for the Journey

Drum-roll, please ...

She's been in labor a long, long time. The gestation period for this particular work has been an adventure in discipline, in joy, in waiting, in prayer, in tears, and - remarkably - in peace.

I am so proud to announce that, as of today, Elaine Olsen of "Peace for the Journey" has officially released her maiden work in authoring, aptly titled:

Peace for the Journey ...
in the Pleasure of His Company

Please note: These two precious sojourners are Elaine's own!

For a video presentation of Elaine's book (in itself, a lovely creation), click here.

To order your own copy, click here.

Please join me in congratulating one of our own,
Elaine, on the success of her amazing, God-honoring, compelling collection. Drop by her blog-home, and be sure to leave her a comment.

May it be the first of many books that reveal your heart, dear friend.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Standing Before the Wind

The LORD said, "Go out and stand
on the mountain in the presence of the LORD,
for the LORD is about to pass by."

Then a great and powerful wind
tore the mountains apart and
shattered the rocks before the LORD,
but the LORD was not in the wind.
After the wind there was an earthquake,
but the LORD was not in the earthquake.

After the earthquake came a fire,
but the LORD was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

1 Kings 19:11-12

Years ago, when the children were young and money was scarce, we often spent our vacations with my husband's parents. They had a spacious waterfront home on Whidbey Island, and a rustic beach retreat in the San Juan Islands - both locales in, or acquainted with WA State, and only a few hour's drive from our home.

The memories of those days are vivid and kind. They conjure up images of curious children at play; play that included turning over every single rock they could manage to lift, just to see what treasure lay beneath it. Many a downright, hideously ugly pretty rock found it's way to pockets and, eventually, to my wash machine. Innocent babes slept soundly following a day of such adventure, ever-ready the next day to do it all again, as if for the first time.

Perhaps, though, my most vivid recollection is of the five of us lined up, arm-in-arm, to stand before the assault of the raging sea winds. They made their way just ahead of a storm; and then they'd crescendo to a warp-force as the storm brewed to it's intended fervor. I can still hear their laughter and ours, uncertain as to who among us was the most childlike on those occasions.

Today the wind again comes to mind as I recall it's gentle, soothing force. I also recall the power of it's fierce gale; a gale that, at times, I thought I'd not withstand - - many of them summoned by my own call, often unwittingly.

... (My people) rejected what is good ...
They set up kings without my consent;

they choose princes without my approval.
... they make idols for themselves
to their own destruction.

"They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.

Hosea 8:4, 7

Even so, I can look back to those days upon the windy shores, when apprehensive but giggly children were in tow. And just as we stood clutching them tightly lest they fall prey to the wind's harmful power, so too does my Father (and yours) clutch us ... His gentle whisper ever a reminder that no wind, and certainly no storm - regardless of it's origins - can blow us from His safe grip.

When the whirlwind passes by,

the wicked is no more,

But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.

Proverbs 10:25