Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas 2007

There were 11 of us for Christmas dinner, more than we've had in years. Alan came with Wayneen, his fiancé, and Hannah, who was only here for a few days from her new home in Boise and enjoying her break from three jobs. With Kev's mom here, my folks coming, and Brett home for almost three weeks, it was going to be so much fun to have everyone here.

I made overnight caramel pull-aparts, but I totally forgot to hide the baby Jesus in foil for someone to find! Winner gets to put Him in His manger. Oh well, no one remembered to even take Him out of the manger for Christmas morning. Our traditions are loosey goosey. It's more traditional for us to say, "Oh, yeeaahhh..."

We opened presents, and Jylle was our disburser. We each take a turn so that we can pay attention to who got what from whom. Kev's mom is the most gracious receiver I've ever known. She always makes you feel like you've just given her the very thing she'd been wanting all year. So much love and consideration.

I called a friend I hadn't talked to in months and got an earful. She's gone ahead and consented to a relationship with a married man. She's been quiet on her side because she didn't know if I even wanted to hear what's going on in her life nowadays. But I can't be gotten rid of that easily. She knows what she's doing is wrong. I know what she's doing is wrong, and she knows that I know that. We weren't done talking, but Alan's team arrived. Still on the phone, I opened the door for him and his overladen arms, then went back in my bathroom to finish up and say goodbye. Two minutes later, Kev came in and motioned impatiently for me to come out. I tried, but he came back in a minute later, saying "We need you. We need a buffer."

From here on out, this is the journaling I do to make sense of things that bug me and just to let it out. It's far too long, but this is how things have to come out sometimes.

When I came out I knew something was wrong. Hannah was sitting on the couch plugged into her iPod. Kev pulled me aside explaining, "Your mom said something to Hannah, and she didn't take it well. She said, 'Hi, Jeslyn.' She meant it as a joke, but Hannah didn't take it that way, and it didn't go over well. Now Hannah's hurt, and we need you.' " I woodenly walked over to Wayneen to say hi. She was squatting next to my mom saying her own hello, and as soon as she looked at me she asked, "Are you okay?" I couldn't stand it. Tears ambushed me, and I couldn't stay. I mumbled a weak No, did a 180 and started tackling the dishes in the sink. When I could not get a handle on my emotions, I went out to the garage and sobbed. I saw Hannah through the garage window out with the horses. She stood there and petted Howdy, and I was immediately 16 again, petting my own horse, my own silent therapy in times of personal crisis. It took a minute, but I was able to go back in and pretend nothing happened.

Brett was the first to meet me in the kitchen, and he started telling me something. But when he looked me in the face, he said, "Your eyes are all glassy....." I just smiled a cardboard smile. "What's the matter?" I said I didn't want to talk about it, I just wanted him to keep talking. That seemed to startle him, but he continued.

At dinner, Mom asked Hannah a couple of questions about school and work, and Hannah politely answered but without ever looking at her. I sat between Hannah and Dad, and I noticed that Dad seemed a little more amused than usual at Hannah's conversation, as if to try to let her know that he was interested in her and didn't want to be categorized with Mom.

Lord knows I love that girl. She has a naturally loud laugh like her mama, and she was completely herself at the dinner table, and then again when she was doing dishes. I rinsed and dried while she talked and laughed, all loudly but innocently. Alan finally asked her to take it down a notch, which completely shut her down. Her countenance turned to stone, and she clammed up. I tried to engage her further, but her replies were the distracted kind we give when something hurts inside. Alan told me later that it was a lose-lose situation. Hannah is loud, and that’s how she is. She hurts Mom’s ears because of Mom’s hearing aid. But what happens when you ask a laughing person to take it down a notch—they stop laughing altogether. Hannah’s hurt, and Alan gets the blame for her humiliation.

Aaaarrrrrggghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!

SOOooo...... other than those two episodes, the rest of Christmas Day was just swell!

Just like on Thanksgiving, we didn't take one picture. Bummer! Just like it could've been our last holiday with Jeslyn for a long time at Thanksgiving, this could've been our last holiday with Hannah for a long time. Somehow though, going pictureless this time isn't the too-bad that Thanksgiving was.

O Lord, we WILL all get along splendidly one day. I wish it could've happened on the day we celebrate as Your birthday, but I know it WILL happen one day. No more fights, no more misunderstandings, no more offense, pettiness, OCD, snarling, meanness, and smallness of spirit. Only You and the All that You are. Till then, Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday. XO

~2 Cor. 9:15

Friday, December 14, 2007

say that again?

I don't know about where you live, but around here, people mispronounce words all the time. That is one of my pet peeves (that and being asked if I washed something yet that wasn't even in the dirty clothes, I mean come ON). Even with a friend of mine who is well-educated, experienced in life, and even cosmopolitan, I have experienced her occasional bouts of what I now deem "syllabaloney."
  • chic - French word pronounced "sheek" not "chick".
  • Washington - It's "wash" with no R in it, see? no R.
  • hunting - not huntin'. Unless you're from the deep South, the "ing" is still there.
  • basil - BAY-zuhl.The only people allowed to pronoune this BA-zuhl (short A) are the British and anyone in Basil Rathbone's family.
  • Aesop - The Greek fable guy. It's EE-sop, not AY-sop. The entire district staff is saying it wrong! Look it up; ask a kid; click here--or here.
  • nuclear - NOO-klee-er. I know even President Bush says NOO-kyuh-ler, but it's not right!
  • grievous - GREE-vuhs, not GREE-vee-uhs; only two syllables.
  • realtor - REEL-ter, not REEL-uh-ter; again, only two syllables.
  • Abednego - ah-BED-nih-go. The lastly mentioned pal of Shadrach and Meshach. Most people say ah-BEND-a-go. Good name for the twisty slide at the Focus on the Family campus in Colorado Springs.
Maybe I'll add to this list if more syllabaloney comes to mind or if I occasion new ones. So far, so bad.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

stuff gets bigger

You know that story in the New Testament about the man delivered from a demon, after which he gets possessed a hundred times worse because he didn't fill his life up with God after he was saved the first time? I liken that story to our nation. We're right with God, and then we fall away. We get right again, and then we fall away even harder. And so on. Every time we fall, we fall deeper and harder until look where we are now. No wonder every generation thinks it's the one that's going to see the end times.

What we're seeing now is the worst morality and crime our country's ever seen. I bet Rome was worse, but that's a different country. I'm talking about seeing this good-then bad-then good-then worse routine for my own self, in my own land, and it's depressing. I'm re-memorizing 2 Timothy, and chapter 3:1-5 nails it: "But mark this, there will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying its power."

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

no condemnation

"How could you?"

The accusation hovered in the air meeting dead silence. What did she want to hear? No reply would satisfy, no words could meet her conditions. It wasn't a question. It was a damning.

Her unblinking stare was like the laser heat of a desert sun. I would die in its intensity if she would not turn away.

I would not defend myself. I would obey You and be silent. I love You, Lord. You must be righthererightnow, the shield of my heart and mind , or I will fail You again.

She stood there and stared for a hundred years, and then finally pivoted away in slow motion. Seeing her through my Abba's eyes, she seemed to be enveloped in a reddish fog, the color of judgment and condemnation. And she smelled bad, too.

Thank you, my lamb. You did what I asked you.

Abba, that was so hard. I thought You would bear the burden. I thought you said your yoke would be easy, and my burden light.

Could you have endured that if you knew I was not rightthererightnow with you?

No, but why was it still so hard?

The blow to a helmet is still felt, even if not fatal. The sound of the wasp is still heard, even if it does not sting. The smell of death is still grievous, even if not your own.



I am filled with pity and grief for this one who accuses so completely, content in her own rightness. My spirit is troubled being around darkness. I would rather be the accused than the accuser, silent rather than defensive, protected rather than threatening. I pray for her and hope He will make her His own someday soon. Not so she won't hurt me, but because I want her to be my sister. I want to share Him with her, this Jesus Who is so knowable and unknowable, so fearsome and lovable. Someday, Daddy......? XO

Monday, December 10, 2007

He's engaged!


My little brother is getting married! He met Wayneen through eHarmony, and they've been dating for about six months. She's everything we've been praying for for him. She's charming, funny, healthy, and she has no baggage into the bargain! I know that's hard to believe, and we thought the same thing, but what you see is what you get. Her parents are gone, and of her two sisters, one is an angry biker chick, and the other is schizophrenic. Neither care for her (which I just don't get). She's humble, thoughtful, generous, witty, and intelligent, and we're all so deeply grateful for this match. They go well together since Alan is all those things too (the good stuff, not the angry/schizo part).

They don't know exactly when the wedding will be, but Alan wants to get married in Hawaii on the beach. Be awfully nice to be able to go, but with the price of gas and airline tickets, we'd have to win the lottery. And that'd be difficult since we don't buy lottery tickets... Anyway, go Brawno! I love you!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Enchanted

I saw “Enchanted” yesterday with a dear friend, and I liked it. I was surprised at the beginning because it was about 10 minutes of that 2D animation of those early Disney movies. Made sense to do it that way though because when the characters got fleshed out, there was this great clarity of contrast, which was quite entertaining in itself.

There was so much unreality in it that I couldn’t help but be reminded that this was a fairy tale. The melodrama, the plot, the clear line between good and evil—all delicious ingredients for a make-believe story.

However, I found myself getting choked up several times during this movie. I thought This is just a fun little story, light Disney fare--where’s this coming from?

It hit me toward the end of the movie that this story was yet another example of our heart’s desire to experience and share in that one story of the ages, the one God tells in His word that crashes against the reality we experience: There IS a happy ending, a happily ever after. It’s true, even if it’s something that we’ll experience after this life when we are really and truly alive. The tale of good & evil, peril & rescue, and that haunting desire we know as True Love is a true story, ever alive in eternity, and deep down, we know it. This is what I felt, and as always, my reaction to it was strong and deep and unexpected.

But I keep forgetting. I keep living like this is where it’s all at. Then when His story, my story, Our story, reintroduces itself, I’m taken aback and hugged full-on by it all over again. It’s rather like loving the movie “Casa Blanca” and going for years without seeing it or even thinking of it, and then having it be the girls night out film one night. It just gets you “right here.” [tap your heart twice]

It was a fun, beautiful time with my unself-conscious friend, and I treasure the memory. I was thinking we were two that day, but that’s never the case, is it? There were precious Three of us… †

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Lunch with two friends

I had lunch last Friday with two friends I hadn’t seen in years, Rae two years ago, and Carrie, ten years ago. We met at Chili’s, and I’d have been there ten minutes earlier if I could’ve just found a parking spot! It was ridiculous. Like packin’ a size 12 woman into a size 6 dress—the excess runneth amuck.

As soon as Rae saw me, she motioned me to the table. I gave her a quick but meaningful hug, and I don’t know how else to describe it but I got a large measure of comfort from her beautiful, sweet face. Like going home after a long time away and nestling into your favorite sofa. Carrie stood to greet me, and when we hugged, I felt this swell of emotion rising. I would cry if I didn’t tug it back down. I hadn’t expected to be emotional, just happy. I drank in her face and marveled at how her eyes can still swallow me whole.
We sat down and began the catch-up. How are all the kids? What are you involved in? How was your Thanksgiving? Didn’t take long before we got into what I deem the only thing worth taking time for—Where are you with the Lord, and what are your struggles and joys? More emotion.

Rae and I are doing really well, so what we had to share was mostly about how great our kids are doing and how grateful we are for the downpour of blessing our whole lives have been. I realized afresh that You’ve been washing my feet my entire life. It is not even in me to begin knowing how to live a life that thanks You for that.

Carrie is another story. There is heartache with her family, both extended and immediate, so every time she related a situation, I’d tear up, especially when she did. It’s hard for me not to ask clarifying questions when someone’s relating something. I’m so visual that I don’t get it if I don’t see it. It’s also important to respect someone’s right to finish a sentence without being interrupted. I knew I would leave, and a hundred questions would pop up on the way home. Thank goodness for email.

What blessing in the extreme to have so little time and yet still connect in matters of the heart. What a satisfaction to have communion with two souls I have not been able to meet with in a long, long time. Time and distance have no foothold there in the spirits of those who are His own. Thank Ya, JEEsus!

We talked about our class reunion next year and whether or not we wanted to go. Noneof us wanted to go, all for different reasons. Rae feels chubby, Carrie’s tired of going by herself, and I figure I already keep in touch with the people I want to, so there’s no draw in it for me. However, after getting an email from Jerri Sue saying she’s going, I’m reconsidering. I haven’t seen her in 20 years.

Carrie got the check, her treat. Rae brought a fat jar of jam for each of us. I got peach apricot, and Carrie got strawberry. Wish I could do that from time to time. It’s really such a kind and generous-hearted gift. Me, I brought pics of me and mine, even of the house, the dog, my cat, and a couple of the horses. Cyndi’s friends gave. Cyndi took. Story of my life. I’ll get over it.

Carrie was the first to leave. She wrapped her long coat around her tall, slender body, and I kissed her on her blond head and hugged her to me, wishing for just one more hour. “We should do this at least every six months,” she said. At first I thought That’s so long. But then I realized it was pretty realistic. Six months goes by quickly. My oldest son was just ten, but he turned 21 yesterday.

Rae and I visited for ten more minutes, and I was able to ask her more about her dad, who’s in a long term residence. I love the way she talks. There’s something Cupie Doll about her that’s absolutely adorable. But we both had to go, so she donned her scarlet coat and we hugged goodbye.

I walked away with a full tummy, a full heart, and a mind full of memories, questions, and a couple of comments I’d wanted to share but forgot to. These friends of mine are like rooms in my heart, which is a palace. I don’t enter every room of my palace every day, but I know they’re there, and I can go in when I want. They are beautiful, wonderfully unique, with their own fragrance and atmosphere and decor. The scarlet thread that weaves us together is the One whose presence we are actually enjoying as we pour into and receive from one another the heavenly Sweetness that is His Spirit.

For 90 minutes, I left the land of me-me-me, and my soul basked in tropical trade winds that swept me warmly into others’ far off lands, brought close for one moment. A lovely new ornament of remembrance to savor in their rooms in my heart. Thank You... †

Saturday, December 01, 2007

familiar pub smell

For those Britons who drink in pubs but miss the atmosphere as it was before smoking bans (for example, who may be disoriented by "new" smells that are no longer masked by cigarette smoke), the company Dale Air has introduced, in aerosol cans, a fragrance that it says mimics the musty, ashtray-based scent so familiar to veteran pub-goers. [The Sun (London), 9-19-07]

[Source: Chuck Shepherd's News of the Weird]

When I'm accustomed to something and then it changes, I tend to dislike the change, even if it's better for me. A creature of habit, I completely understand how an abused woman might stay in a dangerous relationship. There is hope that he will change, and there is comfort in the familiar--even if it's a deadly soothe. Soooo, I
can’t really shake a crooked, bony finger at these people who miss the stale, smoky smell of their favorite bar, but I can laugh at them for preferring it. I just think that is cattywampus. Call me narrow minded.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

something to look forward to

I’m lazy. And prideful. My windshield needs scraping, but when I can’t find a scraper, I might pull out my credit card, which is right with me rather than walking 20 steps to the garage where a tool specifically designed for that job hangs ready and available. The pressure arches the card, and I end up with ten times the work because I have to do the same spot 3-4 times because I can’t press as hard, AND my fingers cramp because my VISA card doesn’t have a nifty grippo handle. I convince myself that I’m practicing for an emergency when I’ll need to do just this very thing and won’t have a scraper handy. My cold and crippled fingers don’t buy it. I keep repeating “This is a GOOD idea, Cyndi. You are special.”

I need something to look forward to. When our college junior leaves for his next three months of study, I set up a countdown on my calendar so I know just when he’ll be home. Something to look forward to instead of dwelling on his leaving. This sounds like a complete departure from the topic, but I do have a point. I need to buy a snow scraper that is so deluxe, so premium, so chuck full (I know it’s “chock”, but that’s the way we say it) of comfort and speed that I will not only overcome my laziness and walk those 20 steps to it, but I will go against my lifelong aversion to winter driving and actually look forward to the next snowfall just so I can use my new thingy.

Monday, November 26, 2007

cat love lesson

Leonardo jumped up on my lap as soon as I started this quiet time. He is completely obvious about what he wants. Today I was actually happy to give it to him. (Usually my lap is busy with books and notebooks, and he's too uneven a surface to read or write on.) He curled up on my lap, and I scratched his head, his ears, his chin, I stroked his back, and he purred like a generator. I was so happy to have him right there with me that I hugged him to me and just held him there for a minute. When I released my embrace, I was delighted to see that he hadn't budged. That hadn't chased him away. He was content to stay right there. He just changed his position a little and then hunkered down for a nap.

He wanted my attention.
I gave it to him.
I wanted his nearness.
He gave it to me.
We are both happy.

Daddy, You want my attention, and You are delighted when You hold me close, and I don't go away. Forgive my going away... Feed and water my desire to stay. I want to give You joy. XO

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving

It was a sweet day. There were nine of us at the table, the presence of the absent ones strongly visible in our minds. Thanks were expressed one by one, the corn kernels deposited in the bowl as symbols. The sun was winter bright and so very welcome. We drank in the faces we love that we just don't see as much as we'd like.

My poor Kevin... He's so sensitive. He wanted someone else to say grace over the meal, but they deferred. I would so have loved for my dad to say it, but he remained silent, and we remained respectful. He made it through though, I think the first time ever. Mom began the "corn praises." We each get two kernels of unpopped corn and express two things for which we're thankful. Mom started us off, and because Kev was the one who announced the praise time, Mom looked at him when she began. It only took her one sentence to launch into prayer mode though. She closed her eyes, and she began to speak to Him instead of to us. Out poured one thing after another, a veritable cornucopia of heartfelt gratitude for family, health, relationships, and most of all, Jesus. Kev summoned all of his steeliest machismo to keep it together.

This was my first attempt at injecting a turkey with a basting concoction, and it turned out great! I just love garlic butter. I'd eat that on just about any meaty or bready kinda thing. Alan brought his turkey fryer, which I love for two reasons: 1) The turkey turns out delicious in only an hour, and 2) Someone else cooks it. I made the pie crusts with butter this year instead of shortening, and I decided I like that better. Thanks, Hosey.

My folks only stay a few hours so they don't have to drive in the dark, so they took Jeslyn back with them, but Alan and Wayneen stayed. Ryan and Jylle disappeared downstairs, and we four adults settled in the living room for football and conversation. Within two hours after dinner though, the three of them had gotten in a nice little nap while I surfed the 'Net for jobs for Wayneen in hopes of getting her over here a little quicker than April.

Hearts we know and love sitting round the table. Absent ones we know and miss still with us in the missing. Lives so full--of family, true friends, good health (well, Mom's is mediocre, but at least it's not horrid), almost shameful material abundance (almost =)....... It won't always be like this. At the next holiday get-together there could be an empty chair, even two. I won't future-trip, but I acknowledge how quickly life can change.

I just want to say simply and meaningfully, Thank You, Daddy. You are everything Good and Lovely, and this silly wee lamb just wants to say Thank You. XO

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

what I like

  • having my family home and I'm in the kitchen baking
  • getting to stay in on a stupidly cold day
  • Ya-Ya time
  • drop-in friends who take me out to dinner
  • savoring a warm book
  • how my dogs love me no matter what
  • Grace
  • the color of my cat's eyes
  • when my family likes what I made
  • a bargain wardrobe
  • salmon-colored roses
  • milk chocolate when it's bendy but not melting
  • a full yellow jacket trap
  • thinking of better days for Jewelee
  • imagining Jamara having a good day
  • justice
  • but I like mercy more
  • my daughter's auburn hair
  • an honest answer
  • Napoleons
  • novel arrangement of words
  • buffet pants
  • when Kathy is content and appreciated
  • father-bride dances
  • seeing something familiar in a new light
  • baby belly laughs
  • the smell of rain on a hot sidewalk
  • knowing I encouraged someone
  • one wrinkled hand in wrinkled hand
  • real butter
  • gel pens
  • clear pictures of my kids' faces
  • Jylle's exuberance
  • quiet kindness
  • campfires
  • Jewelee's sense of humor
  • Glenice's heart
  • Rosie-isms
  • Tina's face when she's thinking out loud and planning something fun
  • lovin' on Chelsea
  • Cheryl's excitement
  • Kim's love for me
  • the color of Jeannie's eyes
  • good manners
  • the first heavy snowfall
  • the first warm spring day
  • croissants
  • vibrant color
  • shiny things--even fishing lures keep me busy
  • pumpkin pie with Breyer's vanilla ice cream for breakfast
  • getting a card with a picture in it and something handwritten
  • Brett's one-liners
  • homemade soap
  • being able to give spontaneously
  • Josiah
  • Stephanie's singing
  • the smell of cut grass
  • getting facebook & myspace messages
  • magenta
  • my mom's laugh
  • kidding with my dad
  • seeing Alan's joyfulness
  • knowing Jeny's such a beautiful person
  • French silk pie
  • seeing my kids run
  • capturing a good picture
  • loping on my horse
  • saying "fluffles"
  • mandarin oranges, sweet watermelon, and crisp grapes
  • Ryrie's "dumb" voice
  • handmade quilts
  • when I hear Your voice and really listen
  • family movie night
  • watching one of her brothers patiently teach Jylle something
  • Annie's blog
  • mexi-fries
  • intimate moments
  • sunrise in my back yard
  • sunset in my front yard
  • watching my kids tube
  • watching my Kevin water ski
  • chenille gloves
  • See's chocolate-chocolate butter creams
  • my front porch swing
  • Shasta daisy plants
  • happy endings
  • Kev's excitement about deer & elk
  • when my kids do stuff without being told
  • unexpected kindness
  • helpful neighbors
  • clean comedy
  • the word "sugarplum"
  • steelies (maybe I should include this in shiny things...)
  • making someone laugh
  • nice comments

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

divine encounter

I saw a friend as I was leaving the checkout counter of Safeway, and when I said hi I immediately knew something was wrong. I asked if she was okay, and without much thought, said "No."

Her insides were raging and twisting in reaction to a great offense done to her and her two boys. As I listened, it wasn't that I could relate personally to the injury
as much as I felt an all-consuming compassion. I know what wanting to retaliate and backlash feels like. I listened to her anger, her logic, her history with this offender, and remembered well my own. She was on a hunt for this guy, and this was the third place she'd looked.

I told her, "It's no coincidence that you haven't found him. I don't think God wants you to. Right now everything you're feeling is horizontal--it's all about you and him," and I gestured back and forth with my arm. "What He wants is for you to to make it all about Him and you," and I lifted my arm up and down. "I'm not saying this is what I do or that it's easy, but that's where this needs to go."

I am not known for my counsel. I'm a listener and someone who comes alongside. No one asks me for advice, and if it is asked, doesn't get followed. (shrug) That's just the way it is. I also do not confront people. I hide or avoid or make nicey nice in public, but I don't tell people what they oughta do. So... I know this was God's word for her. He put me where she was so she could hear Him because I'm a safe place for her.

It only took one minute for her to receive that and to accept that this was a divine appointment. A church friend, an elderly man, passed us, and right away she told him, "She told me Truth, and she's keeping me accountable!" Being STP (slow to process), it wasn't until this moment that I realized Jesus had just taken place. Emmanuel--God With Us--was right here, right now, right then, inside us, in front of us, the whole thing intended to reveal Jesus, who is Truth.

It is an extremely humbling and incredible thing to be used by God. To have been a container and a medium for His communication to a hurting Child is an other-worldly experience, and I will never forget this.

Well, until senility creeps in, but that's another post.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

the fam

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I get rescued

When I wake up stupid and alone
there You are--Intelligence and Communion.
When I wake up needy and troubled,
there You are--Resource and Peace.
Your arms are a great, soft blankie--
they wrap completely around my whole body,
and then through me
to hug my insides.
When I feel dirty and ashamed,
You cup my chin and lift my gaze
and lock on
until Your love blasts away the smoke and sulphur
of condemnation.
Tears fall fresh and cleansing
like a first rain
and the perfume of Your ever-spring
righthereness wakes me up new,
and I am willing and ready to walk again.
My soul, a rescued P.O.W.
and my spirit, no M.I.A.
You are my Hero of the interior,
MY Hero, my Deliverer. XO

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pressing Cider

Pressing cider the first Sunday in October, it's become a yearly tradition that's made up of family and talk and apples and pulp, as well as jugs and hearts poured out and poured into until we just can't keep going. It gets refrigerated or frozen so we can drink it up, give it away, and wait for next year.

video

Friday, November 09, 2007

give it away - let Him out

Why don't I give myself away more? It's not like I'm a great prize to be hoarded and tucked safely away. You'd think we're all these precious, invaluable treasures the way we keep ourselves all wrapped up nice and tight. We contain not just love, but THE LOVE. We rob not only others, but ourselves of that Love moment when we keep Him inside.

"This is the miracle that happens every time to those who really love: the more they give, the more they possess of that precious nourishing love from which flowers and children have their strength and which could help all human beings if they would take it without doubting."
~Rainer Maria Rilke

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I don't get it

I don't get:
  • why my dog thinks I'm the person I would like to be.
  • how it is that so many nonChristians have inspired me to be more Christlike.
  • why it doesn't come out on the page the way I feel it in my insides.
  • why I wait until the last minute to do something I could've done days ago, but now it's taken me longer than it should, cost twice as much, and turned out half as good.
  • why my kids get sick at the dawn of weekend.
  • why liberals blame George W for global warming, obesity, and our country's growing inability to compete with the world's most brilliant minds.
  • why older people don't understand how to set microwave, answering machine, or VCR clocks.
  • why people ask me if I'm okay while I'm choking.
  • why idiot jerks who pass me dangerously on the highway glare at me like I did something stupid.
  • how they can expect us all to believe we're all "special" the way they're teaching it in schools now.
  • how my eyeballs used to work perfectly, and then one day they started shape shifting.
  • how people who look perfectly healthy can have only three months to live.
  • why all the really good tasting food has to kill me.
  • why there are no lines until it's time for me to check out.
  • why I find the rebate paperwork the day after it expires.
  • how some people do not like chocolate.
  • why some people go all out to exercise religiously and eat all kinds of healthy food, and then buy Almond Roca bar mix from Costco.
  • why I hesitate to ask for the nice pen from the vendor who has them on display but offers me a sticker.
  • why leaves aren't called "come outs" in the spring.
  • how turkeys are nowhere to be seen during hunting season if they're all that dumb.
  • why God wants anything to do with us, I mean, really.
  • why my hair looks great when the dogs are the only ones who'll see it.

I'll add on to this as the conundrums roll in...

kindness

From Sheila Walsh:

Don't ever forget kindness and truth. Wear them like a necklace. Write them on your heart as if on a tablet. Then you will be respected and will please both God and people. Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don't depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and he will give you success." (Proverbs 3:3-6, NCV)


I wonder how kindness and truth would impact our lives if we wore them every day as the writer commands. Kindness is really under-rated in the church in my opinion. We are impressed with giftedness, talent and success but kindness seems to have little curb appeal. I love the fact that kindness and truth are paired together.

=======================

I would love to be known for being kind. Instead, I think I'll be known for being a kind of something...

Something to strive for.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

graduating already

Mine is the mantra of parents everywhere with a child graduating: How did they grow up so fast...?

I've been uploading pics to Photobucket so I can make room on my hard drive, and I came across these old pics of Ryrie and his buddy, Kyle. They
were so loud and rambunctious, full of spit and vinegar. They were chummy one minute and mad at each other the next. They were so much alike.

Miles and time have separated them, and they're not the close friends they once were. But they're still congenial, and I'm glad for that. I probably remember their closeness more than they do, so I'm all the more grateful for the pics.

To Friendship!

Monday, October 15, 2007

Li'l Boy and Big Toys

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Li'l Boy Outside

Monday, August 20, 2007

quick trip south

I fell off my horse. Well, he's not my horse, he's my niece's horse, but still--I fell off. I haven't fallen off a horse since I was 16! (Okay, I fell off my horse in June, but that doesn't count because he took off before I was ready AND I was bareback. YOU try that.)

Kev & I were talking, and he couldn't seem to get the point I was trying to make, and in typical fashion, I simply must make you all understand. I am deep into this conversation while we are trotting down this long, narrow incline. My feet are out of the stirrups because I don't have boots anymore since my bunion calls for a wider size which I'm too poor & lazy to buy. I am in the now, carpe-momenting this opportunity to nail my point home in one... two... three... TOO LATE! I tipped over in s-l-o-w motion and by the time I realized I was falling, it was over. Like it wasn't stupid enough that I was paying more attention to being heard and understood than I was my own physical place in the universe, what really tipped me off was the look on Kev's face. I thought, "What is he all concerned about........" ---THUNK! ka-THUNK!
That was me bouncing. He said he saw me bounce. I have two huge beautiful bruises on my back AND backside--which went as south as my brain.

Do I blame it on oldness or pride or a frap of both...? Whichever, I just hope I can turn my head in the morning.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

lay flat to dry

Washing instructions: Wash in warm water, gentle cycle. Reshape and lay flat to dry.

I wish I could be washed in warm water, gently, and then laid down and reshaped.

Doesn't that sound kinda nice?

Friday, June 08, 2007

Hannah's Birthday

(Happy Birthday, Hosie!)

"Light is sown for the uncompromisingly righteous and strewn along their pathway, and joy for the upright in heart, the irrepressible joy which comes from consciousness of His favor and protection." ~Ps. 97:11

There is a joy tat will not be subdued or held down or retarded, and it is sown for the upright in heart, a product or result or harvest of "the being His."

I wish this for you, today and every single day of your life. XO

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Judging


Nothing results in such hot feedback as the topic of judging others. Is there confusion over what scriptures say about it? Are we asserting our thoughts on the subject? Are we desiring to restore the believing ones we love who seem to be sinning? Both...?

  • "So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful. I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God." ~1 Cor. 4:1-5 NIV
  • "As for my attitude... I have already decided and passed judgment...in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, on the man who has committed such a deed. You are to deliver this man over to Satan for physical discipline." ~1 Cor. 5:3-5 Amp.
  • "What business of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside the church upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require? God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside." ~1 Cor. 5:12-13 Amp.

Admittedly, I am offering my own interpretation on these scriptures. Prayerfully, that is our responsibility and privilege.

Operate from a clear conscience. If someone judges you unjustly, suffer it with joy, deeming it a blessed thing if it launches you into His arms and gives Him pleasure.

"Judge nothing before the appointed time." Don't be the last word on a person's motives, intentions, purposes, or condition of heart. There is a discerning we do when we witness a person's fruit. That is not judging. Judgment is a condemnation and a sentence. Paul passed judgment on a man committing a blatant sin, and the Corinthian church was proud of their "tolerance." Paul addressed BOTH conditions.

Leave the judgment of unbelievers to Another. They are under a whole different law, and we can't expect Life from one not Reborn.

To judge or not to judge... proceed with caution... falling rocks ahead, some pitched by the judged, some by the judge... May the motives of your heart be pure, servant-minded, and fragranced of Jesus.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Kathy California

I have this friend. I can tell her anything, and I don't get a crooked, pointy finger in my chest or a head wag. Sometimes she pokes fun at me, but it only endears her to me. She sends me birthday and Christmas presents, and sometimes chocolate "just 'cause." She's been through the wringer in matters of the heart, and I'm honored to have been there as much as I can for her. She's strong spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Her heart is generous, vulnerable, and bottomless in its ability to love despite obstacles. I am inspired, encouraged, and strengthened by her friendship. She is the sister I never had, and I owe her my life.

And we've never even met.

Every time I mentioned her, my family would ask, "Kathy who?"
She lives in California, ergo the name. It's stuck ever since, and I think we're going on around 12 years now.

I found her through a Christian penpal site, which I cannot find to save my life. I got about three penpals through them, but no one stuck like Kathy. We just clicked from the very beginning. Her writing made me laugh, touched my heart where I live, and gave me some camaraderie. When she first asked for my address, I wouldn't send it by email because back then, I was super careful about anything I sent into cyberspace. [Yes, I've changed a lot since then.] She gave me hers, so I wrote a snail mail letter and gave it to her that way. She was completely understanding, and I was relieved. She never makes me feel small or stupid. Beginning of a wonderful friendship!

Now she's newly remarried. After cleaning up the fragments of her broken life after skunkpoophubs left her, she met and married a man whose first words to her were, "You look like Easter morning." Isn't that beautiful?!

Kath, I wish you a heartload of deepest satisfaction, sweetest moments, brilliant sunrises, and love that surpasses what you wouldn't dare to dream possible. I want all that for you--and whatever other wonderfulness He would offer. I love you. God bless you both richly, profoundly, eternally.

Monday, May 07, 2007

running the race

A friend related this revelation to us during a Bible study. It's based on Hebrews 12:1, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." These are not her quoted words, but the picture as I received it.

...~*~...~*~...~*~...

If we take this verse to mean that there is a great congregation of believers here rooting for us, cheering us on, I can see that they would be like the throng of people who cheer for runners in a race. They live out a godly life before us in humility and courage as well as clap and yell and encourage and generally make a ruckus to inspire us to keep going and to run well.

I saw myself running, running this race of life. I'm doing the best I can, but honestly, I'm tired. I'm getting weary of the ugliness, evil, and horror on every single front page and newscast. My pace is slowing. My head feels heavy and is starting to slump. Feet are pounding. It's getting hard to breathe.

Now I hear the sound of voices. I look up and see this tremendous throng. Cheers erupt as I near. A sea of faces beaming... As one, their chief aim is to inspire me onward so that I might run in victory.

While their love and joy is encouraging, I am truly wearied. I do not want to faint, but my entire body aches, and all I want to do is quit. I am in dire need of something more than what they can give. I recall Hebrews 12:1, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." I search those masses for that One face who promises to be with me constantly. I'm looking, but I don't see Him.

This is totally deflating. This is just the thing that could undo me. I feel myself slowing involuntarily. One more scan of the crowds... He is not there. I don't want to quit. There's so much more to do, so much at stake.

Suddenly, I hear a smaller voice, different from all the rest. He is not in the crowd--He is right next to me, running alongside me stride for stride, cheering me on, THe ultimate coach!
"The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged." *

I'm still in it.

I am SO still in it. †

=============


* Deuteronomy 31:6

fraction

I am so tiny in this gynormous plan for eternity. I am the smallest fraction of it.

I am a fraction, but 1 over 1 = whole...

You are the wholeness in this plan. You are the main character, not me. Please help me to embrace and fulfill the fraction that my life plays. You waste nothing, and every single atom and second in Your economy you use for Good. I am whole when you are my foundation, when I let You do what you died to be.

We are me, and I'm good with that. †

I am both thieves

Both thieves live inside my head. As I listen to David Crowder Band's song "O Praise Him", my head bows in reverence and humility. I don't know why He doesn't just strike me dead...

The song continues, "O, praise Him. O, praise Him. He is holy."

A second voice pipes up in reply. I'm not that bad. I don't deserve--

SHUT UP! Don't you know that you ARE that bad?! He owes you nothing. You deserve nothing but pain and death! Say nothing... He is holy.




O, praise Him.
O, praise Him.
He is holy.
He is holy.

How infinite and sweet,
this love so rescuing.
O, how infinitely sweet,
this great love that has redeemed.
As one, we sing

Hallelujah,
Hallelujah,
He is holy.
He is holy.

O, praise Him.
O, praise Him.
He is holy.
He is holy. †

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

ruts

Studies prove that we have created actual neural pathways toward certain sinful tendencies by the choices we've made. Pleasurable responses are released by the brain into the body and "sealed," made permanent. We've made a sin rut.

Repentance--turning away--allows God to replace that rut with something pure and clean and godly. I'm not pained in my spirit by sin, not like I would be if I truly shared God's heart about it. We don't share God's grief over it. "Oops, sorry..." vs. godly sorrow are two very different attitudes. We need a revelation of His righteousness and glory and holiness... We reap what we sow. Where is my pride? my laziness? avoidance? temptations?

Lord, incite my soul to choose Life, no matter what, no matter where, no matter how, who, or when. †

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

off roading

Do you ever feel like the kid in that Far Side cartoon who's pushing and pushing against the door to get into the School for the Gifted, and the sign on the door says "Pull"...? I wake up every morning that kid. It's an uncomfortable fit.

I have a friend whose child is making some really bad choices
. She knows she's doing things that are bad morally, logically, and spiritually, but she doesn't care. I've come to learn that Pleasure Right Now is ten times denser in weight than Possible Consequences. An ounce of PRN breaks the scale over PC every time. It's like crystal meth--gotta have it, gonna have it, don't care.

Been there, done that.

My friend said she doesn't understand why someone would keep on doing stuff that's not good, stuff that grieves God's heart and flies in the face of His deep and consistent protection and providings. I remember Woody Allen's comment on his relationship with Soon-Yi, "The heart wants what it wants." I can't count the times I've done that, wanted what I wanted because Pleasure was so much more fun or interesting or whatever than doing the right thing.

It's kind of like this computer. I restarted it, then Windows wouldn't initiate. It just stayed in that DOS state, waiting for a new set-up. I found out that when the iPod is plugged in, it causes the computer to stay in that mode, just like when a floppy is in the drive upon restart. When I am of the mindset that I am geared toward enjoying what I want, the only thing that will turn me around is the gift of the revelation of So Great a Love. Until that smacks me heart-center, I will continue to drive this truck off-road. It is that deliverance alone that can pull the iPod out and allow the divine operating system to work. As long as that interceptor is allowed to interrupt, I'm 4 wheels in the dirt.

unconscious journalist

I ask so many questions. There are a lot of things I'd like to ask my friends and family. Mostly they loiter in my head and then fade away from lack of oxygen.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

the good neighbor

Don't you LOVE when people in line invite you to go before them when they see you only have two or three items?!

Lord, bless that man at Rosauers yesterday. He was a good neighbor to his left AND to his right, and he was so glad to be. Bless him and his family with a truly wonderful Easter. Let him know Easter in his heart. †

facing fears

Facing my fears is something I never want to do. I do not embrace the opportunity to broaden my inner base, embrace my powerful core, or accomplish enviable physical feats. I live my life in the wide open place of Medium. Not XS or XL or just L, but nice, accommodating, uncomplicated Medium. Of all the things we fear, rejection is among the top 5. I am no exception.

We returned a horse that starting limping in the first hour we brought her home. The man we bought her from, let's call him Dwayne, was upfront about her having dislocated her shoulder, so that wasn't a problem. The problem was: we bought her for a riding horse. He kept selling her breeding qualities to us. Derrr--that should've been our first clue. But Jylle said she really liked her, and we felt good about getting her. Okay, horse sold.

Dwayne wasn't there when we picked her up. His wife, let's call her Grunhelda, was. She seemed quiet and shy, businesslike maybe. Kev got the horse settled in the trailer, penned her safely in the farthest stall, made the transaction, and we were off.

She unloaded beautifully, she was calm, interested, and alert. We put her in the small pasture so she could get accommodated without being bothered, and we gave her some hay. Kev put Jylle on her and walked her around a bit. That's when I noticed she was somewhat favoring her right shoulder. My heart sank. Kev watched her, and he saw the same thing. We started to doubt ourselves, so he went in and called Joan. She examined the shoulder, watched her walk, and gave us her educated opinion: We could wait a week to see if it heals, or we could try to take her back this same day.

Kev called Dwayne, and it took a few hours for him to call back. I could tell by Kev's side of the conversation that Dwayne wasn't going to budge. We were stuck with her. We hugged and prayed, so thankful that $650 wasn't going to total our finances--what a blessing. Just as we finish, the phone rings, and it's Dwayne--he'll take her back. However, he is not happy about it. Kev can hear Grunhelda in the background feeding Dwayne her thoughts, and they were not friendly. None of the kids speak up when he asks if anyone wants to go with him to take her back. I know he needs someone, so even though I'm not in good shape to go, I go anyway.

As SOON as we get out of the truck, Dwayne kind of starts in on Kev, saying, "You know who's really losing here, don'tcha?" Kev said, "Yeah, I know." (They got a phone call of interest from someone in Idaho right after we bought her, and they didn't get his number.) Gruney starts chanting, "What'd you do to her? Let's see what you did to her." Kev stopped unbolting the trailer door, looked at Dwayne, and said, "Are we done? Can we just be done?" Dwayne says, "Yeah, we're done." Gruney keeps digging. "What'd you do to her?" The men walk the horse back to the field, and I'm there with Gruney. She keeps asking what we did to her. I lose it and just start crying. I tell her we love our animals and would never hurt them, that we walked her around the pasture with our daughter on her." With pure venom and an utter hatred, she spewed, "Get out of my face, you stupid woman!" She stomps off and mutters "I suppose you want your money..."

I walk to the truck in a daze and cannot stop sobbing. I've just been knifed, and I'm bleeding openly. My heart has been gutted from my chest, and I'm trying to hold it together in my hands. I hear a high-pitched wail, almost like a wolf call, and I realize it's me. Oh, Abba, I hurt! Someone just ran me through and left me for dead. I can't see straight. My heart is beating too fast; I can't calm it. What if she comes back for the kill? I lock my door. This wasn't just rejection--it was murder.

Kev comes back, seemed like an hour later, and we drive back home. He doesn't know what words will soothe me, just rubs my leg and tells me he's sorry. I'm still crying a few minutes later, and he asks what happened. I tell him, and he's floored. "I don't think Dwayne heard either because I don't think he would've liked that either." I'm grateful Kev didn't hear. He would've gotten really riled, and he would've said things he'd regret.

Corrie ten Boom is one of my great heroes. She said that we may not have the forgiveness to give someone, but God does. We can take His forgiveness and give it to others. That is exactly what I pleaded for on that ride home. Even though my mind ran wild with flashbacks, I looked to my Abba straight on through the cacophony and asked Him for what I did not have. And He gave... When there is true forgiveness, there is an absence of malice in place of a desire for vengeance or justice. A prayer for that person's well-being replaces the longing to hit back pain for pain. The litmus test for me is when I can, in my mind, look at that person eye to eye, take their hand, and wish them well. That miracle happened, and I am so, so grateful.

Even though I don't look to expand myself or accomplish great things, I desire to be a tool in the hand of the One who does want those things for me. Grunhelda may never know that I don't hate her or hold anything against her (and indeed she may never think that I had that right), but I am more intimately acquainted fear by fear with the One who loves and gives and forgives because He used her in my life.†

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

so critical

I have GOT to pay attention and get serious about disciplining my mind. It's the part of me that gets the least pruning exercise! When I listen to myself over a period of time, it's disturbing how negative and critical I am! Yuck!


Okay, let's do this!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Object of Temptation

From Chapter 10 of The Normal Christian Life by Watchman Nee, ©1977:

The object of temptation is always to get us to do something. During the first three months of the Japanese war in China we lost a great many tanks, and so were unable to deal with the Japanese armor, until the following scheme was devised. A single shot would be fired at a Japanese tank by one of our snipers in ambush. After a considerable lapse of time the first shot would be followed by a second; then, after a further silence, by another shot; until the tank driver, eager to locate the source of the disturbance, would pop his head out to look around. The next shot, carefully aimed, would put an end to him.

As long as he remained under cover he was perfectly safe. The whole scheme was devised to bring him out into the open. In just the same way, Satan’s temptations are not designed primarily to make us do something particularly sinful, but merely to cause us to act in our energy; and as soon as we step out of our hiding-place to do something on that basis, he has gained the victory over us. But if we do not move, if we do not come out of the cover of Christ into the realm of the flesh, then he cannot get us.

That is my tendency--to play the "expendable crewman" and pop up, letting my head get blown off. I remember back when I thought I really could live a relatively sinless day. That lasted about three days. It was when I realized that I could be downright holy as long as I didn't have any interaction with anyone else. All by myself, holiness looked like a pretty reasonable goal. NOW I see the titanic need I have to be utterly dependent on Him to do one small act out from Love.

Stay under the umbrella of His grace, and you won't get your noggin sniped!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Interview With a Deceased Unbeliever

This is from my Living Insights Study Bible by Chuck Swindoll:

In the Gospel of Luke (16:19-31) there is a vivid account of an interview with a deceased unbeliever. Don’t misunderstand, this is not the story of another fascinating “out-of-the-body” experience, but a startling narrative of the afterlife told the ultimate Authority on the subject–the Son of God Himself. While a number of commentators interpret this passage as a parable, I’m not so sure. By naming tow of the key characters, I believe that Jesus gives us ample reason to see these verses as recording an actual historical event–a true story of two men… and their contrasting eternal destinies. There is a rich man who, as we will see, is eternally lost. There is a poor man who is eternally saved. They lived in two completely different worlds during their earthly lives, but there was a remarkable change of circumstances at death. Death, the greatest of all levelers, reduces everything to the lowest common denominator.

When Lazarus, the beggar, died, his body was probably tossed in the local dump, the refuse pile. Chances are good that he didn’t even receive a decent burial. But his soul was taken immediately into the presence of the Lord, a presence called here “Abraham’s side.” (Luke 16:22).

When we read, “The rich man also died and was buried” (Luke 16:22), we can be sure his burial was one of great pomp and elaborate ceremony. So much for his body. It is his eternal soul that interests us. We find him in hell as we continue to read Jesus’ words: “In hell, where he was in torment, he looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side” (Luke 16:23). the verse that follows does not contain a record of some paranormal experience reported by a man who saw lights and heard buzzing. it is, I believe, and event, not a vision. It becomes an interview, as it were. Notice first that there is agony. There is literal pain. The rich man is tormented. And somehow he catches a glimpse of those who are peace. Second, he is fully conscious. third, he not only has his senses, he also has his memory. Neither is obliterated by death.

The scene becomes increasingly bleak. Scripture pulls no punches. “So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire’ ” (Luke 16:24). Earlier Luke mentioned “torment.” Now it’s “agony.” Note that the man could still reason and visualize his surroundings. He still possessed the ability to feel, hear and taste. It was as if he still had a tongue and all five senses.

Abraham (who seems to speak for the Lord) answers the man’s request in verse 25: “Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, while Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here and you are in agony.” For those who joke about hell and say, “Well, we’ll be there for a while and somebody will just pray us out,” take a good look at the next verse: “And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, so that those who want to go from here to you cannot, nor can anyone cross over from there to us” (Luke 16:26). The “great chasm” that “has been fixed” suggests a permanent situation. In other words, it is impossible to change destinies or escape one’s location after death. Even if others wish for you to be released, they cannot come to your rescue. Realizing this, the man begins to bargain. This is where the account becomes extremely moving. The man in torment remembers his family at home. His concern for them is enormous—and understandably so.

Let me interrupt the story long enough to ask a question: Is it your feeling that the lost who are dead care about the lost who are alive? If you’re uncertain about your answer, read verse 28: “I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” Because the rich man was unable to escape, his number-one concern was that someone would go to his brothers and communicate the truth about hell to those who are still living. Talk about a missionary message! Talk about evangelistic zeal! If it exists nowhere else, an evangelistic passion exists in hell. This scene certainly silences the superficial comments we hear from some who joke, “Aw… I’ll just be in hell with all my buddies.” All it takes is a few verses from this account to realize there’s no companionship there. On the contrary, there is an awful, gnawing, inescapable loneliness.

In response to the rich man’s request, Abraham says to him, “They have Moses and the Prophets” (Luke 16:29). Meaning what? They have the Scriptures, the very Word of God. They have God’s voice in God’s Book. In other words, “Let those who are alive hear the truth of Scripture. They have ample opportunity to hear the truth. Let them pick up the bible and read it for themselves. Let them hear the preachers. Let them hear the Gospel as it is contained in God’s Word.”

And then listen to Father Abraham’s remarkable response to the rich man’s insistence that an appearance from beyond would make the difference: “He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead’ “ (Luke 16:31). You talk about the power of Scripture! If you could bring someone back from beyond—someone who has been in hell—to tell people what the future holds, it would not be as effective as Holy Scripture! The most invincible, convincing power on earth is the Word of God as the Holy Spirit uses the truth to convict the lost.

We have sufficient truth available to us in the Bible to do the job of bringing the lost to Jesus. It is all that is needed to convince people who have not yet bowed the knee to Jesus Christ that they are missing out on what life is all about. Even if we could do something miraculous, like bring someone back from beyond, it would not have as great an impact as simply presenting the Scriptures. Be careful to grasp the message of this powerful portion of Scripture from Luke’s Gospel: Those who ignore the Word of God in life will not be ignored by the God of the Word in eternity.

Excerpted from:

The Living Insights Study Bible, New Internation Version

Copyright 1996 by The Zondervan Corporation, All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Happy Birthday, my Caro

First a little catch-up:
  • Homebound for longer than I can ever remember. Becoming a hermit, so must be aware not to keep the light hidden.
  • Brett: China this summer, great grades; Ryan: possibly pursue a career as a PA ; Jylle BB & Passport to Purity weekend
  • Precepts Study on Daniel (love how entwined the scriptures are, how they support one another and lead me on to other searches, other of His Truths; I like the dailyness of getting into it and knowing the other ladies will have been doing the same; I like how other questions and info come up on study night, not just reading the answers to all the questions but relating one chapter to the next and then the next and seeing His heart and nature revealed. I’m becoming familiar with the specific words in one chapter at a time, and I seek His Spirit to reveal what He’s written down for us to know).
  • What We’re working on now: Being freed from sin for the privilege of serving. I’ll start wanting something until satisfying my big ME is my focus. That’s the goal, to have and to hold that satisfaction. Slowly over days or weeks it dawns on me that I am not satisfied… like needing dinner and the popcorn I’ve been eating is the ticket—only it’s not, and now I still need dinner AND I’ve stupidly eaten 1,000 senseless calories. Think “Lean Cuisine for the soul.” The satisfaction I think I want tastes a certain way, feels a certain way, and I’m coming to identify it before IT feeds on ME. What Jesus did for me put to death my enslavement to sin and the need for addiction to selfishness. Because He opened my prison cell, I am free to pursue a satisfaction this world pays honor to with its mouth, but disdains in its heart. I am free to serve. THIS tastes a certain way, feels a certain way, and I’m coming to identify it as the dinner I’ve been wanting for a long, long time.

Living there all the time sure doesn’t happen overnight though, does it…


===========================


You make me smile
You make me wonder
You make me listen
You make me think

I love when we swing
I love when we snuggle
I love when we’re “in our zone”
I love when we’re close

You flip my switch
You snap my cracker
You swish my basket
You float my boat

I love your sparkle
I love your stride
I love your knowledge
I love your courage

You peanut my butter
You sugar my tea
You white my rice
You lyric my melody

You drive kinda hard
You like to hug a long time
You make me crazy
You keep me sane

When I make you blush, I grin like mad
When I make you happy, it’s like a gold medal
When I make you laugh, my heart sings
When I make you cry, I taste the salt

We’ve come a long way
We’ve been through a lot
We’re growing into children
We’re growing into Love-ers

I never now what's coming next
I never know if I'm doing it right
I never know your true pulse point
Until in childlike manner you tell it so

You remind me of rosebuds
You remind me of thistle
You remind me of Heaven
You remind me of Joy

I celebrate the day we met
I celebrate the day we first snuggled
I celebrate the friend I have in you
I celebrate today, the day you were born


"May the God of peace make you holy through and through. May you be kept in soul and mind and body in spotless integrity until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is utterly faithful and he will finish what he has set out to do." ~1 Thess 5:23 (JB)


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tricia

I went into a store that I frequent 3-4 times/year and saw not one, but two of the proprietors there working, an older lady and her grown son. I hadn't seen the daughter for a long time, and I asked the lady, "How's Tricia?" She bent in a little closer and asked, "I'm sorry, what?" I repeated, "How's Tricia? your daughter...?" and I pointed to her picture on the wall. She stammered a bit, her eyes unsure, and then she said so very quietly, "Oh... I guess you didn't hear............ Tricia died." I couldn't have been more stunned if she had suddenly slapped my face. "When.........?!" I could feel tears forming, and I was helpless to push them back. "About a year and a half ago." She said it with such a sense of compassion for me.

She asked how I knew her, and I told her just from the store and then seeing her in town sometimes during the ski season. I was weeping by now. She asked if I knew she was sick, and I didn't. I told her I loved how approachable she was, how she always asked about my kids, and just how pretty she was. She replied, "Yeah, that was the great thing about Tricia. She always remembered everything about everybody."

Apparently, she contracted a debilitating lung condition when she worked in a dry cleaning business a few years prior. She battled it, but it finally killed her. She was 32. "She has a twin, so if you ever see someone who looks just like her, don't be shocked," her mom told me with a tender smile. Her son stood nearby, a blank look on his face as he kept his eyes on his mom. Unable to control my grief, I apologized several times and left the store in a full-on cry. It came on bigger than life, and I couldn't stop sobbing until I was almost halfway home. My eyes were red and puffy, I'd run out of Kleenex, and my mind went sepia.

There were all these questions! How long did she suffer? Would I have gone to her funeral if I'd known about it? What did she love? What did she hate? Who was her best friend? Whose wedding was it in that picture with her in it on the wall that I just pointed to? What was her favorite color? song? ice cream flavor? Was she saved? When was her birthday? Am I even spelling her name right? Why can't I stop crying? I don't even know her last name, and I'm grieving like I've lost my sister.

I still don't really know why my response was so intense, why I felt such a profound loss for someone I didn't even know. She never talked about herself--she always asked about me. I do know that I can experience a great affection for people rather quickly. My emo scale is off the charts most days, so I operate in impossible highs and lows. All I know is that Tricia is someone I really wished I could've known and been friends with, and I wish I would've let her know how she'd endeared herself to me. She blessed me while she was here, she touched my life and made it a little warmer. So I will miss you, Tricia. You made a difference.

Post Script: I wrote a letter to her and posted it on her headstone in the lower right corner there. I know I did it for me, and it really did help to write it, to go to the cemetery, find her, and spend some time there. She was a beautiful soul whose fragrance I only appreciated after it was too late to tell her.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Jake


My daughter's horse died yesterday. It happened so fast. It must've come on in the night. I whistled so he'd know it was feeding time, and he got up. But he'd been lying down with his leg out in front in an odd position. He didn't finish his Equine Senior, and things went downhill from there. I got him dried off and double blanketed, which stopped the trembling, but he was definitely in pain. While we waited for stool sample results from the vet, I went to town. On my way back, I called home, and my husband told me that Jake was gone. He found him in the orchard, right where we left him. J & I prayed that we'd be able to bury him so he wouldn't have to stay there through the night. Fifteen seconds after we prayed, R called to tell me the neighbor was there with his backhoe! "The LORD is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made." ~Psalm 145:13 (NIV) It hurts a lot, but we know we're grateful for all the grace & mercy He's shown through all this.

Sahib seems anxious and sad. I spent some time with him last night, again first thing this morning, and again now mid-morning. I don't know that it helped when a neighbor's horse whinnied, and he answered it. He stations himself in the nearest corner of the pasture where it's the closest he can get to the field where both Jake & Gadget are buried. I wish I could become a horse so I could help him understand...

I am deeply thankful for the gift of friendship, which blesses me always with the fragrance of Christ. My friend, Joan, was there for me when I needed her. Our neighbors were there for us in our moment of need as well. And my Friend granted a merciful quickness in taking Jake, allowed us to do what we could to ease his leaving, and supplied the All that we need to get through something like this. I cannot imagine the crushing grief of watching a loved one wither and die slowly.

R saved two locks of hair from his mane and tail so J could have a very personal keepsake. We buried him next to Gadget, in the draw right by a lone pine. It's not readily visible and yet just a short walk from the front door.

I'd like to think he's frolicking somewhere up there with Gadget and maybe our other loved pets, full of life and strength and bringing joy to the One who created him.

Death makes me introspective. Will I go quickly? What kind of legacy will I leave? It's said that you live on in the hearts of those who loved you. But after they're gone, then what? No one will remember Jake but us. No one will shed one tear over his death but us. And yet, I believe that there's a place in the eternal plan of the one Creator for all of us, every single creature that ever lived or is yet to be born. Death is not the last word on life. JESUS is the first AND last word on Life. Amen!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Think what this means

"The Spirit himself endorses our inward conviction that we really are the children of God. Think what this means. If we are his children we share his treasures, and all that Christ claims as his will belong to all of us as well! Yes, if we share in his sufferings we shall certainly share in his glory." ~Rom. 8:16-17 (J.B. Phillips)

The ALL of Christ is ours! I stumble and strive and consider myself alive to sin when that is a LIE! I am one with Christ in His death, one in His burial, and one in His resurrection! I don't want to go on believing lies and agreeing with the enemy when he hurls flaming assaults. My poor thought life is so wretchedly undisciplined. It's like Pippi Longstocking--unparented, seeking its own counsel, engaged in odd ideas, and involved in various worthless projects. That is not the Life I want, the Life that is my promise.

This is why I have a Savior. The desperately poor and needy need a Savior. Lift up your eyes to the hills, from where my help comes!

"Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before his glory without fault and with unspeakable joy, to the only God, our savior, be glory and majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before time was, now, and in all ages to come, amen." ~Jude 24-25 (J.B.)