Friday, February 28, 2014

The Dispatching of Goliath

There's no way we could have known last August just how rugged our daughter's life & the battle to keep it was about to become. Goliath, in the form of Ovarian Cancer looked her square in the eye; hinted at sinister plans; and taunted her with boasts. Emblazoned just over his heart was the word death.

Goliath did not know Molly.

Goliath did not know God.

Late yesterday Molly and her husband Tom met with her Oncologist.  The visit was to be her first post-treatment report since undergoing two major surgeries last Fall, and a regimen of 18 weeks of aggressive & often-times difficult Chemotherapy that culminated just two weeks ago.

The result?  

Molly is Cancer Free

Today we are marveling at the inert, lifeless form of Goliath as it lays, headless, on the battlefield.  A victorious Molly stands over that form, and emblazoned just over her heart is the word life

Then they cried to the Lord
in their trouble, and He saved 
them from distress.
He sent forth His word and 
healed them; He rescued them
from the grave.
Let them give thanks to the Lord
for His unfailing love and 
His wonderful deeds for men.
~ Psalm 107:19-21

P.S.  My personal thanks to the many of you, and in particular, Luther, Judy Martin, Elaine Olsen, Sonja Goodson, Beth Endean, Debbie Petras, & Lisa Shaw, who have stayed tuned, offered encouragement, prayed, emailed, prayed some more, and come to love Molly as we do.  I love you.

To read more about Molly's journey to health, go:
Here:  When Goliath Comes to Call
Here:  Caring Bridge Molly Flanagan-Fisher Journal

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cautions, Warnings, Alerts

We've been visited by torrents of rain for a solid 48 hours now; not that I'm complaining.  After all, many across this land are suffering far worse with drought, or ice storms, snow drifts & power outages. 

For the average, run of the mill Washingtonian rain's hardly noteworthy.  And for those who love to ski, it's synonymous with winning the lottery.  What falls in the form of rain down below, falls as snowy powder on high.  Winter here is the skier's happy place.

I never mastered skiing.  It didn't help that I was the victim of arrested development with this particular sport when, at 43 I took my first lesson ~ and that with two other young ladies (operative word = young).  Our handsome, equally young instructor was quick to ensure their success.  Apparently I was invisible; no doubt my white ski jacket didn't help.  From the git-go I didn't much care for the sport.  

Today I was listening to local news on my car radio.  Several times weather reports were given; drivers cautioned to be alert while navigating.  When it came time for the ski reports a different warning was given:  "High avalanche danger.  Stay out of the back country!"  The warning was repeated no less than three times in the course of some 5 minutes.

Sounds reasonable to me ~ someone who's happy to stay out of the front country, not to mention the back country!  But to others it's a dare.  In fact, there are those for whom the back country has such charm that they choose to ignore the winter warnings; the danger. In their minds the thrill of skiing those steep, undisturbed snow courses is worth the risk.  They may or may not be the same people who disregard other warning signs:  Thin ice...  Soft shoulder... Steep grade...  Don't feed the bears... Strong rip tide or under-toe ...     

I'm always saddened when I hear reports of a back country skier, or skiers claimed by an avalanche.  

I could connect so many dots to this one collection of thoughts, but I fear the diminishing return of so doing.  Suffice it to say, when God says, "Danger.  Stay out of the back country.", I best listen.

Some enchantments and thrills just aren't worth it.  

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Branches & Boughs

We're pilgrims on the journey of the narrow road.
And those who've gone before us light the way,
Cheering on the faithful, encouraging the weary,
Their lives a stirring testament to God's sustaining grace,
~ Steve Green

When Abigail Warren married Anthony Snow in 1639, little did they know that I would be among the progeny they bore.  They are my 8th great-grandparents.

Abigail is the daughter of Richard & Elizabeth Walker-Warren, the same Richard Warren who was signatory of the Mayflower Compact, and who traveled to America aboard that great vessel in 1620.  He traveled alone, ahead of his family; followed by Elizabeth and 5 of their children in 1623 aboard the vessel Anne.

Abigail was born in 1618, so in 1623 when the Anne sailed she was but a wee child.  She would grow up in the new world alongside her siblings; and eventually she would meet & fall in love with Anthony Snow.  They would marry in 1639, bearing several children ~ among them another namesake by the name of Abigail. 

Collectively these, my kin, would settle in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where they established their homesteads among the many other pilgrims of their day.    

Eventually, Abigail the 2nd would grow up and meet Michael Ford, another Plymouth resident.  They married in 1667, going on to have numerous children, among them yet another Abigail (the 3rd) ~ like her mother and grandmother before her.  

This youngest Abigail would eventually meet Johnathon Grinnell, a descendant among the long, deep lineage of Grinnells/Grenelles from the Argon region of France who settled the Americas far & wide.  His own grandfather, Matthew, had emigrated in 1630, settling & raising his family in Newport Rhode Island.  

In 1698 Abigail would become Johnathon's 2nd wife; his first wife having either died or divorced.  She left her family environs in Massachusetts to live among his in Rhode Island.  In 1711 they would bear their one and only child, Johnathon Jr.  Then, a mere 7 years later, Abigail would die at the young age of 40, leaving a bereft child and husband to mourn her passing and to carry on her legacy.  

From young Johnathon, Jr. would come Nathaniel, the first to leave his home in Rhode Island for New York.  From Nathaniel would come John; and from John, Thomas.  Thomas would give birth to Elisha, and from Elisha came Fred, my mother's father.  Elisha eventually made his way from New York to Wisconsin, and then onto South Dakota, where my mother was born & raised.  

Unbeknownst to the lot of these, and during eras that reached far into a future they could not possibly envision, they had set in motion the genealogical destiny that would ultimately provide for my birth.

All of these particular ancestors derived originally from England; some from Surrey, others from London, and yet others from Dorset.  Much is written in the public record about their adventures and mis-adventures given their close proximity to the early settling of America.  Millworkers & ministers, farmers & homemakers. militia & teachers, they all managed to make their way to a new land and a new hope, never imagining that one day I'd be penning this blog.  

Often I travel my way out onto these limbs; the ones that feel so much like rockabye-baby-boughs beneath me.  When I do, I am mindful of the myriad biblical genealogies recorded for our benefit ~ some to demonstrate how noble & godly were many; some to demonstrate how wicked were others, with the caveat that often one's lineage was a contributing factor in which of those camps you resided.  Yet high above and through it all was (and is) God's advancing purpose; His providential hand in crafting history.

These are the providential means by which I came to be.
Mother (a young girl, standing)
Grandfather Fred (sitting, far left)
Great-grandmother Adelaide (next to Fred)
Great-grandfather Elisha (next to mother, holding child)
Grandmother Etta (holding baby)

The remainder are mother's siblings and/or other relatives.

I realize and cherish the tectonic shift that took place when Jesus made His way, with the Father's sanction, to the cross.  His shed blood forever altered the course of our future, our eternal estate, should we choose (and be chosen) to embrace salvation.  But one bloodline supplanted any and all contenders.  Such a sobering reality.

Even so ... and yet ... my past is my past.  Upon the many branches from which I come I find myself intrigued, awed, mystified.  I can almost see up ahead, just where the branch is about to be pruned (often as I squawk), the names of the new formations forming ever-so-close to my own growth; some that have yet to be born. 

It is truth:  we cannot alter the past, but we can forever impact what lies ahead.  

Oh may all who come behind us find us faithful.
May the fire of our devotion light their way.
May the footprints that we leave, 
lead them to believe;
And the lives we live inspire them to obey.
~ Steve Green

Knowing where you came from may
help you understand where you are going.
~ Anonymous

Anything & everything you ever wanted to know about the Mayflower:  Mayflower History

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Where's the Beef?

Oh how I miss those sassy grannies who showed up some 30 years ago to lay down the rhetorical gauntlet:  "Where's the beef?".  

These particular ladies were the no-nonsense harbingers of Wendy's (fast food chain) claims about the quality of their hamburgers as compared with their competitor's offerings.  With that one question, they put places like McDonald's, Burger King, Jack-in-the-Box, & others on notice:  Beef matters!  

The point was made ~ plain, simple, clever, powerful, provoking. 

With giggles.

I feel much the same way when I listen to various comments or claims about the Bible and its veracity.  Many a self-styled expert (sadly, some from church leadership among them) would have me believe it's a flawed tome; that it doesn't really mean or say what it means or says.  Worse, they have asked that I set aside the plain sense of God's word to embrace some aberrant form of it.  Some are long on grace but short on truth.  Still others don't give a rip about either. 

In essence, they serve up a burger embellished with lettuce, onions, mayo, relish but sparingly little or absolutely no beef.   

Sound familiar?

Now the serpent was more crafty than any 
of the wild animals the Lord God had made.  
He said to the woman,  "Did God really say
'You may not eat from any tree in the garden'?". 
... "You will not certainly die.", 
said the serpent to the woman. 
Genesis 3:1, 4   

Every word of God is flawless; He 
is a shield to those who take
refuge in Him.
~ Proverbs 30:5

For the word of God is alive and active.
Sharper than any double-edged sword,
it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, 
joints and marrow; it judges the 
thoughts and attitudes of the heart.
~ Hebrews 4:12 

Man shall not live on bread alone, but
on every word that comes from the 
mouth of God.
~ Matthew 4:4 

Beef matters.   

"Truth is the agreement of our ideas 
with the ideas of God."  
~ Jonathan Edwards

Thursday, February 6, 2014


For the better part of three hours I sat, riveted, to this debate between:  

Together these men addressed a meaty & much maligned subject:  the relevancy of the Biblical creation narrative in today's modern & technologically advanced era.  Two guesses who took which side in the debate? (Big cheesy grin)

I don't expect anyone to sit through this three hour juggernaut unless, of course, you feel it worth your while.  There's just way too many worththewhiles in our lives as it is, so one must be judicious in making selections.  

What I will say is that believers need not hide from this Hot Button Issue of origins.  These two passionate men give us a powerful demonstration of how to have the debate with conviction and respect.

Postscript:  This debate aired live on television.  The audience was 800 deep, and included a myriad news reporters from assorted venues.  The post-debate commentary was almost as interesting as the debate itself, with proponents from both sides claiming victory (think football mania).  I didn't see it as a win/lose contest, so I didn't keep score or give a hoot what the media thought.  Yet throughout the discourse this scripture ran through my thoughts:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven 
against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, 
who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 
since what may be known about God 
is plain to them, because God has 
made it plain to them. 
For since the creation of the world 
God’s invisible qualities—His eternal power and 
divine nature—have been clearly seen, 
being understood from what has been made, 
so that people are without excuse.
For although they knew God, they neither glorified 
Him as God nor gave thanks to Him, 
but their thinking became futile and their foolish 
hearts were darkened. 
Although they claimed to be wise, 
they became fools and exchanged the glory of 
the immortal God for images made to look like 
a mortal human being and birds and
animals and reptiles...
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, 
and worshiped and served created things 
rather than the Creator—
who is forever praised. 
Furthermore, just as they did not think it 
worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, 
so God gave them over to a depraved mind, 
so that they do what ought not to be done... 
Although they know God’s righteous decree 
that those who do such things deserve death,
they not only continue to do these very things 
but also approve of those who practice them. 
~ Romans 1:18-32, selected