Definitely graphic, but not novel.

IWAA7I love birds.  Not like Audubons love birds, but Bob and I do own a cheap pair of field glasses and a nice Peterson’s Guide.  Here in southern MO, we live in a fly-over zone, and also near a conservation area, so we’re just geeky enough to enjoy a “date” seeing how many avians we can identify.  Our day is made if we are visited by a bald eagle or a close up view of a gaggle of something. 

Listening to Jesus, one would think that His Father was pretty keen Continue reading “Definitely graphic, but not novel.”

Just throw it out there

garden lastIt’s March—woo-hoo!!  Know what that means here in the lower part of the Midwest??  Okay, yeah, tornadoes…but besides that?  IT’S PLANTING SEASON!!  Bring out the seeds and point me to the dirt!  (Bob, honey, if you’re reading this, go ahead and just TRY to keep me away from the Walmart garden section…!)

I have some good friends who are professional farmers.  The term, “professional farmer”, distinguishes them from gardeners, even Master Gardeners (which, as Bob will tell you, I am not.)  Master Gardeners have it all together, but farmers, that’s a whole different category.  We’re talking equipment that costs more than my house and car put together. Unfortunately, last harvest season our friends’ combine had an oil leak and caught fire…. 

Yeesh!  Before it got this far, one of the guys was crawling through the machine trying to salvage some of the expensive equipment, like the GPS they use to know where to plant the seeds.  Thankfully, there were no casualties, except the siding on the house nearby that melted, and the bank accounts of those involved. 

Once again, farmers just amaze me, and have my upmost respect.  Of course, in Jesus’ day, they didn’t have the fancy tech like my friends have today that helps feed the world. Planting was done much differently, and Jesus seemed to think it an apt metaphor for spreading His very good news:

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds.  As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them.  Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow.  But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died.  Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants.  Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!  Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

At first glance, this seems quite wasteful—even I know how be a little more careful in my planting (not much, mind you, but a little.)  And yet, Jesus likens this to teaching us to become “fishers of men”.  Huh?

Here’s the point.  Among my other temptations to not “sow” His good news is my own hidden selfish (and yes, even bigoted in some ways) perspective/bias/expectations that just out right get in the way.  Here are some of things the Enemy might whisper in my ear:

  • Don’t waste your breath.
  • They already hate your guts so why would they listen?
  • They’re too far gone. (This can be applied in a variety of ways, BTW.)
  • I’m too far gone. (This one can also be applied in a variety of ways, particularly after working all day.)

Here’s what I seem to hear my Lord saying: Sow liberally, knowing that some of it will fall on unfruitful and even hostile ground.  Sow anyway.  Making the determination of what the soil of someone’s heart is like is not up to me. That’s in the Holy Spirit’s job description. 

When it comes to planting the Gospel, He alone is God’s heavenly GPS.

kevin

Matthew 13:3-9  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved

You can’t take it with you.

IMG_20150103_172451138Well, the old frig finally gave up the ghost.  It was, after all, 25 years old, which might make some of my contemporary homemakers gasp with awe.  Bob really came through yet again—

I had noticed the night before that things were a little squishy in the freezer, cold, but not hard like normal.   Checking the temp, it looked like it had been accidentally turned down, just a little, and besides, sometimes the door doesn’t shut all the way unless I push on it, so okay.  Done.  Went to bed.

Next morning, almost time to head out the door, I go to make our daily smoothies to take to our offices and notice that things are not just squishy, but thawing out!  Uh-oh. Thankfully, at this writing, my husband’s work schedule is more flexible than mine, and he was able to take measurements and make all the necessary decisions and contacts (including the contractor who had to come out and pull down some cabinets in my very small kitchen so the new appliance would fit!)

I came home to a new refrigerator, not exactly what I wanted, but totally what we needed!  My frozen food is much Continue reading “You can’t take it with you.”

Anime And Life

Our expectations make a huge difference in what we see. Check this out (even if you’re not an anime fan!!) ~~dawnlizjones

PNEUMYTHOLOGY

I moved to the small town in which I am currently living and working right out of graduate school over 25 years ago. Imagine going from a Big 10 university town to hearing a rooster crow somewhere outside your property in the morning. I could sometimes hear the clip-clop of a horse’s hooves on the street out front. How you regard that says a lot about attitude and expectations, and that brings me to the point of this post.

From: My Neighbor Totoro (1988, Studio Ghibli), directed by Hayao Miyazaki From: My Neighbor Totoro (1988, Studio Ghibli), directed by Hayao Miyazaki

During Christmas at our home a few years ago, I was speaking with my son-in-law, Michael Greenholt. He is an animator who has worked for Disney/Toon Studios and is recently employed by Warner Brothers. I told him that I did not care for the general quality of anime, and he informed me that I needed to watch features directed by…

View original post 367 more words

This pretty much says it all | Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Wow…

In My Father's House

I would like to post a lengthy quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer. This comes from his classic book, Ethics. I saw this quote in William Paul Young’s latest book, “Lies We Believe about God.”

I’m posting this because it not only fits my current series, “Jesus Christ: Savior of the World,” but it pretty much sums up my theology. Enjoy!

View original post 287 more words

Prepare-practice-repeat, ad nauseam

IMG_20150103_172451138Standing in the waiting room of a local shop waiting on my car tire to be fixed up, my cell phone went off.  It was our daughter from southern California, but where she was living at the time, the cell phone reception was less than optimal, so I only heard snatches of her conversation.  It went something like this:

“Hi, mom…(static)…thought you might have seen the news…(static)…fires…(static)…we’re fine…(static)…”

Ah, parenthood.

Not being from that area, I have since learned that they have a “fire season” much like tornado season where I live.  Even when they see the smoke in the distance, locals are well-informed in the drill.

tornado-541911_1280To modify a culturally well known phrase, “disasters happen”.  From nature-born Midwest tornadoes to man-made terrorist exploits, we live in a dangerous environment this Continue reading “Prepare-practice-repeat, ad nauseam”

What’s in YOUR wallet?

wood 2

It kind of sounds like paper money is rapidly becoming an antiquated art form; even though we still use it here in the US, my daughter in Norway informs me that nobody really uses paper (including checks) over there; “money” is either in the form of plastic or is digitalized via e-devices. 

Sigh.  Yet another piece of skillful beauty succumbs to society’s need for efficiency, (similar to the LP record jackets giving way to small CD covers only to fall prey to artless MP3 players.)  I suppose those in-the-know have decided that such a form of monetary movement is somehow more secure, which in my opinion is debatable.  But as usual, I was not consulted.

Not only is the craftsmanship of our paper money exquisite, but through the years, different features have been added to make it increasingly difficult for counterfeiters, unarguably artisans in their own right, to succeed in their objective.  Case in point: did you know that if you hold up a magnifying glass (since my multifocals are obviously not sufficiently empowered…) to the rim of the main Continue reading “What’s in YOUR wallet?”

Brush strokes, of another kind.

wood 2Our youngest daughter has been thinking about the possibility of furthering her education, maybe an advanced degree in art history and possibly going into university teaching…someday.  (As of this writing, however, she is just trying to survive the first month post-partum of our newest BEAUTIFUL granddaughter!)  She really does have a sustained interest in antiquities, art history in general, and has a real soul for the integrity of art.

Which leaves a little room for some trepidation as I submit this work with some help from da Vinci and Picmonkey:mona-lisa

Even with my exceptionally untrained eye, it’s obvious to me that this is somehow not right.  But some falsities are not so overt, like a Picasso with all the body parts in the right places.  Here’s one that our artist son-in-law, Michael Greenholt, did as a fun present for his mother-in-law, an old Star Trek fan.  At first glance, a sweet victorian pastoral scene, I had to look closely to see what he “improved” it…

I particularly appreciate the Vulcan ears, eyebrows, and “live long and prosper” hand gesture…

These all show a fun sense of humor, of course, but would probably not be considered quite so comical were the artists still alive, or had these “additions” been done to the original canvas works.  Now, granted, the beard on the Mona Lisa is a travesty, but why is it so terrible to give her a pretty flower to hold in her otherwise placid pose?

Because it doesn’t belong there, that’s why!  It’s not what her creator had in mind.

Here is a quote from blogger buddy, call2witness, that I thought bears repeating—

“Unfortunately, when we decided to sin, that image of God that is in us became vandalized.  The entire Bible is about God cleaning up the sinful graffiti that we placed on ourselves.”

This is exactly what happens when we try to paint over the masterpiece God has placed within us, or within someone else.  It’s painfully common, although not always obvious: parents pushing their children into social activities before the kiddos can barely spell their own names; spouses layering their unjust expectations on each other and wondering why there’s no peace in the home; peer pressure (often initiated by unbridled media exposure) to be “better than you are”, when the so-called improvement has nothing to do with moral honor or spiritual integrity.

Worse yet, and even more insidious, is the scribbling on God’s reputation that misinterprets someone’s first glimpse of eternity.

“They traded the truth about God for a lie…”

Thankfully, the Creator of the original is still alive and His true design has been restored in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ.  His words, “take heart, because I have overcome the world”, apply to the the world’s damaging brush strokes left in my life as well!

Romans 1:25; John 16:33  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Just one. Pleeeeeeeeze?

IMG_20150103_172451138There are times when it seems like just a couple of well-placed lightning bolts would solve quite a few of the world’s problems.  Or at least a few of mine.  Of course, that’s just another one of a gazillion reasons why I’m not God, and a good thing, too.  Irritating, frustrating, and irrational people are, you know ,…irritating and frustrating, and can make one question one’s own rationality.

I should know, having been one of “those people” myself, more times than I probably care to admit.

Many years ago, author Joyce Landorf coined the phrase “irregular people” in her book by the same name.   We all have them, as described above, and also as stated, we have all been one at some point, or will be.  It goes along with that truism:

road-231915_1920

Usually, a few bug guts on my windshield aren’t terribly inconvenient; although they’re ugly, I can still see to drive my car.  That is, until the sun hits them just the right way, then …pow

…and suddenly, driving becomes a hazardous enterprise!  Really, the responsible thing to do is to pull over and clean off the windshield.  Otherwise, I’m not only endangering myself, but those in the car with me and other drivers sharing the road.

Irregular people do that.  They can muss up my vision–my perspective, intentions, goals. And if I allow it, even my physical health, and more importantly, my heart.  

That’s one of (the many) reasons why this was written into eternity for us:

“Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life.”

Naturally, bug guts come in all varieties and colors: offense and unforgiveness, unmet expectations, unfair or harsh criticism, and worse things I care not to put in print.  Then there are the times (oh, this is hard one!) when I realize that it’s my emotional guts on someone else’s windshield.  It’s one thing to forgive someone else–how mature and altruistic of me.  It’s quite a different challenge to ask someone else’s forgiveness.  Saying “I’m sorry” may be a bit of a lost art.  I’ll admit I’ve gotten quite good at it through the years, and I’m still learning.  It sure can go a L-O-N-G way in helping clean up the other party’s visual field, though.

It’s fairly easy to put off the cleaning process, especially when we’re in the fast lane of life, until by God’s grace His light hits our lives and we’re stunned by how much we really can’t see.  Best to pull over, STOP, get out of traffic,–whatever that looks like for us individually–thus protecting all involved.  

Guaranteed, the ride will be much more enjoyable when the view is unobscured.

Proverbs 4:23  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

And I quote, “NO!”

IMG_20150103_172451138Bob and I were incredibly fortunate to spend this past Christmas with our oldest granddaughter and her family at their beautiful new home in Los Angeles.  Let me clarify: our oldest granddaughter is 2-years-old and her family is our oldest child and her husband.  Now, Bob and I have memories of when this precious bundle was born, when she started to walk, and one of my favorite life events is rocking her as she fell asleep in my lap even just this past summer.

That’s when she had just turned two, but even then the storm was beginning to brew.

And this past holiday season, it was the southern California equivalent of a nor’easter.  Of course, being the parents of three children of my own, this comes as no real surprise.  As much as I know her parents love and Continue reading “And I quote, “NO!””