Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cleaning for a Reason


This incredible information came to me by way of a forwarded email -- you know, the kind we RARELY read and often delete? 

Well, I'm delighted this didn't find it's way to cyberspace's garbage heap because I know all too many women waging war with cancer (our beloved Elaine and Kathleen come to mind).

Check it out, and pass it on.

 The Cleaning for a Reason website will give you all the particulars, but basically this is a service that provides free (spelled F-R-E-E) cleaning service for four months for women undergoing chemotherapy. 

Their tagline says it all:  We focus on your home so you can focus on your health.  All one has to do is sign up and have the doctor fax a note confirming the treatment. Cleaning for a Reason will have a participating maid service in the corresponding zip code area arrange for the service.

This organization serves the entire USA and currently has 547 partners to help these women.  How cool is that?

Be a blessing to someone you know that needs to focus on their health.  Pass it on ...

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Drab Side of Aging

There are no seven wonders of the world
in the eyes of a child. 
There are seven million. 
~Walt Streightiff


Among we older types there exists an unending litany to the downside of aging.  The list might include many unpleasant conditions, like the onset of arthritis, or the inability to sleep (potty runs), or diminishing eyesight, or bunions, or loneliness.  For some, it may include failing health. Getting older does come with side-effects, and affects. :)

It occurs to me that many of my age (some younger, and some older) suffer an oft-overlooked condition:  the loss of curiosity.  I confess: it's a virus I battle on occasion myself.

Among my greatest joys in spending time with the grandchildren - or ANY child for that matter - is how insatiable is their appetite for discovery.  Big worlds offer big opportunities to look-see, poke, prod, ask why?, stare long, or grab and run.  They'll sit stock-still to ponder a bug, or to listen to a story (well, maybe not exactly stock still).  Before their querying little minds entire worlds are born.

For many, that childlike condition never ceases.  But alas, for the greater majority it simply recedes; often slowly ... and without much notice.   When it's no longer the stuff of daily living, daily living becomes altogether predictable and drab.  We cease reading.  We cease investigating.  We cease turning over EVERY rock on life's shore. 

Curiosity, and curiosity alone is the green crayon of life.  Hard to make a full array of color without it.

    
Children find everything in nothing;
men find nothing in everything. 
~Giacomo Leopardi

Kids - they dance before they learn
there is anything that isn't music.
~William Stafford

Monday, January 24, 2011

Affects & Effects

Odd words: affect and effect.  They're cleverly close, as if related - and to some degree they're symbiotic.  One begets the other.

Merriam and I argued a little over his definitions because he uses such big words to convey small nuances.  Oh well, he always wins this argument.  We learn ...

Affect =

1: feeling, affection

2: the conscious subjective aspect of an emotion considered apart from bodily changes; also : a set of observable manifestations of a subjectively experienced emotion
 
Effect =
 
1a : purport, intent b : basic meaning : essence
2: something that inevitably follows an antecedent (as a cause or agent)
3: an outward sign : appearance
4: accomplishment, fulfillment
5: power to bring about a result : influence

For me, both words - even in their nuanced state - relate directly to outcome.  What I FEEL as well as what I DO have implications.  My affections always lead to effections (new word), even though effections do not always lead to affections


It's not so much about "do"s and "don't"s, as it is about the choices I make about my responses to life, and to living.  It's about having 20/20 foresight in proportion to 20/20 hindsight (is that even possible?) ...

Everyone has heard about your obedience (affect),
so I rejoice (effect) because of you;
but I want you to be wise (affect) about what is good (effect),
and innocent (affect) about what is evil (effect).
Romans 16:19

For if you possess these qualities (affects)
in increasing measure, they will keep you from
being ineffective and unproductive (effects) in your
knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
But whoever does not have them (affects) is nearsighted
and blind, forgetting (effects) that they have been
cleansed from their past sins. 
2 Peter 1:8-9


Either way, these conspiring kin can either make my day, or break it.  It all depends on how the affects of my heart move me towards the effects they engender.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Encourage One Another


It was such a dark night in my soul.  The years have blurred the details of it somewhat, but never in a lifetime will I forget that darkness, or the cold that accompanied it.   

How & when that dreadful stretch unfolded are details that aren't really necessary for this particular reflection.  What is important, is how one woman (an unbeliever) lit a fire that kept my soul's Winter at bay and Spring's hope alive.  Her name is Georgia, and she is the face I envision whenever I see or hear the word encourage.

Merriam tells us that it means:

1a : to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope : hearten b : to attempt to persuade : urge
2:    to spur on : stimulate 
3:    to give help or patronage to
 
Georgia had been through horrendous losses in her life.  Her husband and two of her three children had been swept from life, and her arms in a devastating plane crash just years before she & I met.  When it came to pain and to living out life on pain's heels, Georgia had street cred with me.  She knew of what she spoke.
 
So what did she give me that is so invaluable to me even today?  These words:  I believe in you.
 
Oh, she said a lot of other things too, though nothing I can remember today.  For whatever reason, her encouragement was all I needed to cling to that knot I'd tied in the end of my proverbial rope.  Georgia said I was capable of hanging on so, by-gum, I would!
 
What simple words:  I believe in you.  What power they wield.  What possibilities they inspire.  What encouragement they impart.
 
By the way:  I believe in YOU!
 
Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration,
encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace.
And the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11

Therefore encourage one another with these
words (about the Lord's return).  
1 Thessalonians 4:18

He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep (dead),
we may live together with him.
Therefore encourage one another and
build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.   
1Thessalonians 5:10-11

I long to see you so that I may impart to you
some spiritual gift to make you strong—
that is, that you and I may
be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 
Romans 1:11-12

... encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,”
so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.  
Hebrews 3:12-13

Friday, January 14, 2011

More or Less

The Future is something which everyone reaches
at the rate of sixty minutes an hour,
whatever he does, whoever he is.
~ C.S. Lewis

Which sweep of the clock's hand is the more significant? 
Is it a milli-second that occurs just before dawn, or at the close of day? 
Is it the one just ahead of lunch, or might it be 
the collective force of an entire hour?


   
Which note among a symphony's score would be missed were it not included, or if it were played as a sharp when it is designed to be a flat


Which letter nestled within the poet's,
or the author's design could be eliminated?  Which
word formed is the least among the greats? 
Might it be "but", or "and", or "if"? 


Which star residing within the starry hosts is the 
least noticed; the least needed?  Could one star or amass of stars be lost and not affect something; anything?


He determines the number of the stars
and calls them each by name.
Psalm 147:4

“Who dares despise the day of small things,
since the seven eyes of the LORD (that)
range throughout the earth ... "
Zechariah 4:10



Who among mortals is the most worthy,
or the most notable? 
Is there a life, or many lives more deserving
of breath - or acclaim - than another? 

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked,
“Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him,
and placed the child among them.
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless
you change and become like little children,
you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child
is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 
Matthew 18:2-4


Every moment is a golden one for
him who has the vision to recognize it as such.
~ Henry Miller


“I did not come to destroy (the Law) but to fulfill. 
For assuredly, I say to you,
till heaven and earth pass away,
one jot or one tittle will by no means
pass from the law till all is fulfilled. 
Whoever therefore breaks one of
the least of these commandments,
and teaches men so, shall be called least
in the kingdom of heaven;
but whoever does and teaches them,
he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.  
Matthew 5:17-19

My life and yours are made up of jots & tittles,
nicks of time, layer-upon-layer of living. 
They are a collection of days,
which are a collection of milli-seconds.
I am left to wonder which of them I could eliminate,
without affecting all the others; the ones
that have already passed, and those yet to come?
Perhaps the least among the moments
of my life are, in fact, the greatest.
It would sure be in keeping with His economy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Simple Equation


To live is so startling
it leaves little time for anything else.
~Emily Dickinson

In Him was life,
and that life was the light of all mankind.
John 1:4



To live.  Odd how often I arise thinking that I must do this, or that; or not.  Rarely do I rise thinking my day is simply about life; about the simplicity of humbly living it out.  Breathing & heartbeats & grace are the grandest of dawn's gifts.

I've got plans and purposes and dreams, an agenda - even when it's not obvious.  I'm not always certain of the motives behind these, but I have them nonetheless. 

Lest anyone think I advocate scrapping plans or cavalier living, I disclaim such a notion.  I am an ardent advocate of intentional living, and planning is a huge part of that.  To fail to plan is to plan to fail (wish I'd said that!).

It just seems to me - today anyway - that I make much too much of all that - - me, and my intentionality, my plans, my agenda.   

Now what I am commanding you today
is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach... 

See, I set before you today life ... 

For I command you today to love the LORD your God,
to walk in obedience to him,
and to keep his commands, decrees and laws;
then you will live ...

Now choose life ...  For the LORD is your life.
Deuteronomy 30:11, 15-20

For life is more than food,
and the body more than clothes.
Luke 12:23

Stand firm, and you will win life.
  Luke 21:19

I have come that they may have life,
and have it to the full. 
John 10:10

Now this is eternal life: that they know you,
the only true God,
and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 
John 17:3

  ...the powerful play goes on,
and you will contribute a verse.
~ Walt Whitman

 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Miopicitis

There you have it, another new word:  Miopicitis.  Deadly stuff! 


This subject-matter came to mind as I considered several scriptures related to lack, or lacking.  I found myself stopping long enough to ask:   What might I lack?  (Notice the self-preserving use of the word might.)

That's all it took to set me upon a course that lead here; to a better understanding of just how deadly is Miopicitis

From the Mayo Clinic we learn a little bit about it's symptoms - never mind the causes (too many and too varied, congenital, or altogether too mysterious).  The first thing we glean is that it's near-sightedness - also known as myopia.


■Distant objects appear blurry
■You need to squint to see clearly
■You have headaches caused by excessive eyestrain
■Need to sit very close to the television, movie screen or blackboard
■Hold books very close while reading
■Seem to be unaware of distant objects
■Blink excessively
■Rub your eyes frequently


Then, if we head over to Merriam's, we consider what it looks like ...

1. pertaining to or having myopia; nearsighted.
2. unable or unwilling to act prudently; shortsighted.
3. lacking tolerance or understanding; narrow-minded.


The remedy?  Simple, but oh-so tough ...

His divine power has given us everything we need
for a godly life through our knowledge of Him
who called us by His own glory and goodness. 

For this very reason, make every effort to ...

... add to your faith goodness
... and to goodness, knowledge;
... and to knowledge, self-control
... and to self-control, perseverance
... and to perseverance, godliness
... and to godliness, mutual affection
... and to mutual affection, love.

For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure,
they will keep you from being (myopic) ineffective
and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind,
(suffering from Miopicitis) 
forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.  
2 Peter 1:5-9

In closing the loop, let me just say that my question about lack did not lack a response.  It is certain that I lack much, but He more than fills those voids! 

Let perseverance finish its work so that you
may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.James 1:4

For in Him you have been enriched in every way—
with all kinds of speech and with all knowledge ...
Therefore you do not lack any spiritual gift as you
eagerly wait for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed. 
He will also keep you firm to the end,
so that you will be blameless
on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:5-8

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Setting Pace

Then your light will break forth like the dawn,

and your healing will quickly appear;

then your righteousness will go before you,

and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;

you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

Isaiah 58:8-9


My husband of 44 years has a lot more experience, and a lot more stamina than I do when it comes to navigating mountain terrain.  Built for endurance, Terry spent much of his youth hiking or skiing in the Olympic & Cascade mountain ranges of Washington State.  As a teenager he scaled the heights of Mt. Rainier.

I've gained on him in recent years as my own experience has accumulated and my stamina increased.  But even today he graciously, wisely allows me to take the lead on our hikes; and for good reason.    

There are few places on earth where "the great outdoors" is as apt a description as it is in the Pacific Northwest.  It is certainly among the myriad reasons drawing us back here after our ten year sojourn in Arizona.

Years ago, when our children were no longer at home, we took to hiking.  Once we'd selected a trail and charted our course, Terry would insist I take the lead and establish our pace.  His rationale was (and is) that he could fall easily into step with the pace I set; but that I might fall behind were he to expect me to keep pace with him. 

I took very seriously my role as pacesetter (and a peculiar sense of satisfaction when I'd leave hubby in the dust behind me!).  I also learned very quickly to take a backward gander periodically to make sure I DIDN'T get too far ahead of my "expert", or forget to take much-needed breaks.

So went my early lessons in hiking along mountain trails - some of them lazy saunters; others a steep assault (mostly on my calves & shins).

I learned, and continue to learn a good many things from and about nature, and much of it in the context of hiking.  What a teacher is all of God's creation.  But the whole pacesetter thing has stirred anew in me.  It is good to set pace, but it's only good so long as you know you've got a rear guard!

It's counterintuitive to allow the slowest, or the weakest in our midst to take the lead and establish the pace.  In families, in business, in schools, in life in general we often (if not always) take the brightest and best, setting them at the forefront to establish the lead.  That's not all bad, for surely we need our role models - - unless, of course, they are attempting to leap tall buildings in a single bound, expecting those that follow to do likewise.

Steep, high, rough terraine is rarely scaled in a single bound.

“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

Today I am wondering how often, and in how many ways I've taken the lead with  younger ones in tow, expecting them to keep up with - even comprehend - the rigors of the climb ... my climb ... any climb?

Pacesetting is never more critical than when there's a weak one, or an unseasoned one in the equation.

Jacob said to him (Esau),
“My lord knows that the children are tender
and that I must care for the ewes and cows
that are nursing their young.
If they are driven hard just one day,
all the animals will die. 
So let my lord go on ahead of his servant,
while I move along slowly at the pace
of the flocks and herds before me
and the pace of the children ...
Genesis 33:13-14




(This bundle of thought derived from my reading on January 3 in Volume I Streams in the Desert.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Breakin' from Bloggin' for Bits of Braggin'

Bear with me ... I'll get this over with quickly & all at once -
My collection of Grands, beginning with Baby Blue Eyes.



Kole's First Christmas



Daddy & Mommy loving on Kole



Kole's a scene-stealer!



Somebody will pay for this someday!




Not only does he now have a walker,
but he's been crawling since he was 5.5 Mos old. 
Watch out world!



Hangin' with cousin Erik (16) and brother Kaden (12)



Allie - soon to be 13!



Our beautiful Katie - 17



Kelly - Being cool at 16





The light-hearted Rylie (14) (being tormented
by Uncle Kelly)

OK ... so I front-loaded a few more photos of Kole than of the others. 
I confess:  he's captivating! 

I also confess that I couldn't love any one of these more than any other.  They're a precious batch of Grands that I will forever cherish! 


FAMILY GROUP LEGEND:

Parents/Youngest Son Kelly & DIL Katrina -
Katie, Kelly, Kaden & Kole

Parents/Daughter Molly & Fiance Tom - Rylie, Meagan, Ava

Parents/Olddest Son Brad & DIL Megan - Erik & Allie


P.S.  I don't have a current photo of Meagan (9) & Ava (6),
our two NEW grands since Molly is about to marry Tom.  I'll
be adding them soon.