S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280It’s that time of year when the grocery stores are stocking up on their 20+ pound turkeys.  I’ve already cooked up one and stored most of it in the freezer.  We usually head back to Indiana for Thanksgiving with family, and my sister-in-law puts on the feast of the year.  It’s one of those meals where you have to pace yourself, especially if you want that pumpkin pie (with R-E-A-L whipped cream) at the end of the day. 

It tends to be the typical “your eyes are too big for your stomach”, so it’s a learning process I suppose. Continue reading “S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G”

Advertisements

ASSUME nothing

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I’ve used this media file before, (that’s what we call it now, I suppose, at least it sounds more impressive that “picture”.) 

post
http://www.amazon.com

Media file wasn’t a phrase when Norman Rockwell was around, or if it was, it certainly wasn’t digital.  Just about everything is digital now-a-days.  I still haven’t quite figured out what that means, as opposed to analog, I mean.  Continue reading “ASSUME nothing”

Feast on which beast?

NR thanks
Thanks to Norman Rockwell for this amazing painting: Freedom From Want.

This is the time of year I really kind of wish I had a chest freezer down in the basement.  The 20+ pound turkeys are on mega-sale, and the fresh cranberries will only be around for a month or so.

No matter, as the traditional American Thanksgiving Day feast that so many of us are blessed to gorge ourselves on will, by God’s grace, come around again next year.  My sister-in-law is the usual head chef at our yearly family gathering.  (Personally, I prefer to stay in the background and help with the clean-up.)  The main thing with the traditional meal, however, is the fun and hilarity that can follow shortly after about the first ten minutes of feasting and before the tryptophan kicks in. Continue reading “Feast on which beast?”

Not just the click of a button

translate-110777_1920I am horribly monolingual. 

Bob and I spent six years living in married student housing at Indiana University/Bloomington while he was working on his degree, with three little girls in tow, and thus we were surrounded by many cultures.  My dad used to say we lived in a mini-UN.  Our eldest had a map of the globe on her wall, and since our kids attended the university elementary school, we realized that she knew children from every continent save one (Antartica—does anyone actually live there?  BRRRrrrr!) Continue reading “Not just the click of a button”

It stings!

In the mass hysteria that is the superhero-universe phenom, here are a couple of guys that are somewhat overlooked:

green hornet (1)
Credit: Newsweek/google images

Give it time.  Hollywood will find a way.

The other kind of hornet is more real in my personal experience as a school nurse, however.  One of the custodians in my school building was called to go kill a wasp or two flying around inside the building one the second day of school because there were a couple of kiddos registered as “allergic”.  (SOOOooo glad the teachers read my notes to them—thank you and I love you!!)

Clearly, stinging insects have been around doing their thing for a long time: Continue reading “It stings!”

Take me, break me, make me

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Now here’s a character I really relate to—Saul.  No, not the apostle, unfortunately.  His story turned out pretty well, considering he wrote over half the New Testament and all. 

I’m talking about the Old Testament Saul, and the making of the erstwhile monarch of Israel.  It’s not like he asked for the position, after all, and despite all the positive social markers, he had a serious fear-of-man-self-preservation complex going on.

Thus, I can relate.

Here’s what’s going on:

The prophet Samuel has told Saul to wait for him seven days at Gilgal.   Samuel will arrive, present the offerings to God, and then Saul and his army will go wipe out the enemy de jour. This was a clear mandate, unmistakable in its direction and timing.  No discussion needed.

But there was a problem.  Samuel didn’t show up.  And on top of that:

“The Philistines mustered a mighty army of 3,000 chariots, 6,000 charioteers, and as many warriors as the grains of sand on the seashore!”

Which, granted, would be a bit intimidating.  It certainly was for Saul’s men, who suddenly must have heard their wives calling them home for lunch or something. Consequently, Saul’s army began thinning out, and fast.  The king made a decision:

“So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself. 

Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived.”

Oops.

Needless to say, Saul’s explanation was less than effective, and Samuel’s edict was unfortunate, as was the rest of Saul’s reign.

“’How foolish!’ Samuel exclaimed. ‘You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you. Had you kept it, the LORD would have established your kingdom over Israel forever.  But now your kingdom must end, for the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart.’”

Saul didn’t know it, but God had had him uniquely positioned for a serious breakthrough.  But Saul blew it.

Whereas our modern-day markets and media value tangible results, heavenly success is measured in terms of obedience.  If Saul had remembered his history, he could have leaned on the exciting story of Gideon and his paltry three-hundred, or even Moses at the Red Sea before the onslaught of Egyptian chariots.  Instead, the first king of Israel decided to interpret his situation by his own (very limited) appraisal. 

Sadly, his assessment left out one incredibly big Resource.

Because our God specializes in seemingly no-win situations.  He will bring me to a breaking point where I have a clear choice between obedience or expediency. When that happens, it can mean that sometimes—or many times—He will actually let me be broken, shattered, shards on the floor.  Careful where you step.  Part of the dream is over there; a piece of my heart is in that corner.  Where’d I put the broom?

What I desperately need to remember in those periods, (and they do come), is that obedience proceeds breakthrough.  That is, God will do the breaking, then I have to walk through it.   This gets a bit uncomfortable for a time; nevertheless, I am never alone.  Ever.

“Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me.”

There’s that word “through” again.  (Selah…)

I also need to remember that the condition of my heart in obedience before God is more important to Him than the size of my “army”…or church…or bank account…or any relationship.  My focus needs to be, and stay, on the clear directive.

Because God will show up; He always does. 

1 Samuel 13:5,9-10,13-14; Psalm 23:4 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

Who’s measuring stick is in your tool box?

IMG_20150124_162302245Bob was NOT pleased.  I don’t remember the exact scenario, something about possible plane tickets I think.  I just remember I had made him very, very nervous by my looking into some potential plans without cluing him in, but not because he’s a control-freak.  It’s simply that after almost forty years of marriage, he knows:

“You have a way of just making things happen!” Continue reading “Who’s measuring stick is in your tool box?”

“What we have here is a failure to communicate…”

Ever know someone with “a chip on their shoulder”?  One story has that phrase originating from the idea of two boys picking a fight with each other, the one putting a wood chip on his shoulder and daring the other to knock the chip off, thus initiating the knock-down-drag-out. 

The problem with chips on shoulders is that they tend to fall off on their own, starting fights when none were intended.  For example: Continue reading ““What we have here is a failure to communicate…””

Just For the Record

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Bob will confirm that I’m not very proficient at keep track of things.  To parody the old phrase, he says that I have “places for things, and everything in their places.”  Same with finances, and although I’ve improved immensely over the years, I do still generally pray prior to any attempt at balancing my checkbook.  (It rattles Bob’s cage a bit if I do anything with his. I just don’t tell him about it until after the fact; it prevents anxiety.)

All this makes it even more incredible that I’m in nursing since we have to keep track of EVERYTHING, like when someone sneezes, and what color it was. 

Okay, right, that was gross without warning, (so is nursing), and mild hyperbole, (depending).  But you get my drift.  I tell people that there is mass deforestation when I return to work as a school nurse in the late summer with all the required record-keeping and paper work that transpires.  At least now with computers and email, some of that can be mitigated, but even so, documentation in some form continues. 

Continue reading “Just For the Record”

Roger, Wilco

plane-607224_1920This past summer Bob and I enjoyed visiting my parents in their beautiful Midwest retirement community—it’s like a college campus for the over-60 crowd.  They’re incredible!  Interestingly, we were also roaming around the California Redwood Forest just few weeks prior to that, and in my mind, there is a striking resemblance between the two in more ways than one, if you get my drift.

Now a retired engineer, Dad is a United States Navy veteran who worked as a mechanic on airplanes, and his stories keep me spellbound.  While we were visiting, a neighbor stopped in.  Mr. B is a 90+-year-old U.S.A.F. bomber pilot vet from World War II.  (Triple exclamation marks…!!!) Continue reading “Roger, Wilco”