Tie your own shoes

Dawncartoon[1] (1)TO THIS DAY, I still have middle-schoolers walking around with their shoes untied!  Kids!  This is NOT a fashion statement, this is a HEALTH HAZARD!  You trip, then I have to take care of you!

Remember teaching your little ones to tie their shoes?  Some used the bunny ear technique.  In my house, we used the old-fashioned loop/knot design.  It all takes time and practice, but then, of course, my youngest ended up wearing flip-flops to high school in January, so why bother?

The point is that teaching self-sufficiency is a 
Continue reading “Tie your own shoes”

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Labor Day

Did y’all know this about Labor Day?? Really neat perspectives from a bloggish buddy!

Salvageable

The industrial revolution changed the world. One thousand years ago, Chinese technology created a new and better version of steel. Over the centuries that recipe spread, until it reached the British Isles, where iron and coal were abundant and were near each other, and where transportation by water made it easy to distribute what was manufactured. Labor-saving devices such as mechanical spinners and looms allowed increased production, and what happened in Britain began to happen in other European countries, in North America, and eventually throughout the world.

Capitalism had already begun to develop in medieval Europe. Workers formed guilds which controlled each craft, putting the power of production into the hands of workers. Along with the guilds came financial leagues which led to modern banking and a new financial system. With the industrial revolution came a new form of capitalism. Only those who had access to wealth could buy the…

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Reuben, more than a sandwich

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Jacob’s progeny was an unruly bunch.  Our dysfunctional society has nothing on them, and Jacob’s in particular reads like a trashy dime-store novel.  Of course, having two official wives and two sort-of wives probably didn’t help much.  So let’s start with the first born, who’s name is immortalized in the rye and sauerkraut sandwich, Reuben.

This hot-blooded young man had a one-night stand with one of his father’s sort-of wives (i.e., his step-mother), eventually getting him booted out of line for the first-born blessing rights, which was a really big deal back in those days.  (Jacob would have known that, having maneuvered the same kind Continue reading “Reuben, more than a sandwich”

Eclipsed!

eclipseAs the picture shows, I’m not a fashion diva.  I tend not follow too many trends, especially if everyone else is following them.  I figure I’m either retro or trend-setting myself, depending which way one looks on the time-line, I suppose.  I basically have three fashionista rules: cleanliness, comfort, and coverage. 

But when it came to what style of sunglasses to wear to view the American Eclipse of 2017, there wasn’t much choice, at least here in my small town.  So I shelled out a full dollar for my NASA-approved specs in preparation for the light show.

In my part of the country, we were to get about a 96% solar coverage.  It was pretty neat, but enough light still filtered through so that I wasn’t spellbound—the pull of the paperwork on my desk was still there, so I was in and out of the school building for our few minutes of historical phenom. Continue reading “Eclipsed!”

Run, run, run-away

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280The Israelite judge, Jephthah, is generally known for the weird story about his daughter, poor kid.

But I think we generally miss the importance of this guy’s backstory and how God may have used it to his (and His) advantage.

Back in those days, having sons was pretty well tantamount to status (as opposed to having daughters; now where they thought the baby boys came from, gets me…)  And although even our secular Western culture has fairly well done away with that mindset, they (and us) still deal with the “world’s oldest profession”. 

So while Jephthah’s dad, Gilead, had several socially legitimate sons, little Jephthah was not one of them, and was treated accordingly. 

“…and when these half brothers grew up, they chased Jephthah off the land. ‘You will not get any of our father’s inheritance,” they said, ‘for you are the son of a prostitute.’  So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. Soon he had a band of worthless rebels following him.”

Because, back then, with those kinds of credentials, that’s about all the following you’re going to get.  I can only imagine what hardship he must have suffered going from the house of his father (probably bullied while he was growing up anyway, but at least provided for) to ousted into the “real world”, possibly as a teenager.  Homeless.  Despised.  Without family or connections.  Or money.

As usual, the plot thickens—

“At about this time, the Ammonites began their war against Israel.  When the Ammonites attacked, the elders of Gilead sent for Jephthah in the land of Tob.  The elders said, ‘Come and be our commander! Help us fight the Ammonites!’ But Jephthah said to them, ‘Aren’t you the ones who hated me and drove me from my father’s house? Why do you come to me now when you’re in trouble?’”

Run off the farm, rather than living in the lap of luxury, Jephthah has been hardened by life’s boot camp, and is now evidently the one most suited for rescuing those same brothers with soft, un-callused hands. 

And rescue he does, like the rushing in of the cavalry. 

The point is this.  People do us injustices.  We have to suffer the consequences of others’ stupidity, prejudices, unkindness, or just low-down thoughtlessness.  I’m bullied, kicked out of the club, whether physically or emotionally.  Bereft.  Alone.  (At least it feels that way.)

But God has other plans, and this is just part of the Divine Boot Camp.  Plans for rescue, not vengeance, for redemption, and restoration, and it may be for the very ones who turned me out.  

man-2257145_1920Jephthah’s hands and muscles may have become just as soft as his brothers had he stay in his dad’s house all that time.  Instead, he became the hero.

Which is God’s training for all of us, to be heroes in one way or another. 

Judges 11:2-7 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.

A personalized present

IMG_20150103_172451138When it comes to summertime, my husband kind of makes out like a bandit.  To begin with, there’s Fathers’ Day in June, followed by his birthday in July, and (dare he forget) our anniversary in August.  So he can just stay in celebration mode all summer long, and keep Amazon pulled up on the computer 24/7 as the gifts roll in. 

Now, lest I make Bob sound like E. Scrooge sitting at his table fingering his coins, nothing could be further from the truth. But even with his generous spirit, I’m the one doing most of the Amazon gift giving, for my husband’s special moments, as well as for other family members. 

C’mon, ladies, you know how we do.  Check the list, buy the gift, wrap it, put Dad’s name on it, take it to the post, whatever.  No biggie.  Just gotta remember to tell him what “he” sent so when the phone call comes in… Continue reading “A personalized present”

Light Humor: UberChristian: The Rideshare App Exclusively for Christians

Are we counterculture…or subculture? (This is hilarious.) Thanks, Pastor Jim!

The Domain for Truth

Man I’m still trying to recover from my missions trip.  Here’s a light post that’s funny:

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Or you could just peddle faster…(ha!)

picmonkey dogI really like dogs, man’s best friend and all.  But there are a few I could do without, admittedly.  Just a few.  I’m not even talking about the yappy fur balls that are a perverse progeny of wolverine descent; they have a purpose in that they make some people happy.  No, I’m simply referring to the dangerous ones out on the country roads that don’t like cyclists.

Granted, most big back-road hounds will just bark and run, and when I stop and give them treats (which I carry), we make friends with each other.  I actually used to go out to see a Great Dane—fell in LOVE with her, and she tried to get in my lap, hilarious!

However…

One winter day, as I was riding without Bob, I was accosted by a particular nasty that decided his property included the road.  So I did what my husband had taught me, getting off my bike to put it between me and my enemy. As I began to back up, the dog followed, snarling and barking, indicating he had one thing on his mind—a piece of me.  (Unfortunately, another big one had joined him on the other side of the street, so now I had tandem trouble.) Continue reading “Or you could just peddle faster…(ha!)”

Scissors, please

IWAA7A gruesome site greeted me when tending the garden after being gone for a week of family vacation.  Sure, there were the typical weeds and such, no big deal, just hands and knees stuff.  But what gave me a drop-shoulder-roll-eyes kind of pause was the leftover feathered carcass of a bird that had obviously been trying to pilfer my blackberries, but had gotten entangled in the netting.

Not a pretty site.  Not a happy ending.  (I will spare any readers a photo.)  I mean, he was, after all, just trying to get something to eat, doing what birds do naturally.  It’s sign1not like I could put up a “No Trespassing” sign, although my dad suggested I could hang up some brightly colored ribbons.  That could help them at least see the netting, but the berries are just so inviting, I’m not sure it would divert them enough. Continue reading “Scissors, please”

Going my way? (Better not.)

singer-63055_1920.jpgThe days of the Crooners were a bit before my time, but I still love the old movies with them as the stars.  Of the best well known, Frank Sinatra probably had one of the longest careers among them.  One of his (many) hit songs was “I Did It My Way”. 

Now if that’s not the American motif, I don’t know what is. 

Not to dis Old Blue Eyes, but really, we all have that one in us.  Even the Most Beautiful Three Year Old On The Planet, (our eldest granddaughter), showcases her opinion of her opinion…regularly.  Actually, the Most Fabulous Infant In The Universe, (our other granddaughter), already does the same thing….loudly. 

Certainly, I see it in myself—uncomfortably so, I am quick to add.  It rears its ugly head (and it can get pretty ugly) in all sorts of relationships: with my children, friends, Bob…God.  Even with myself.  (Think about that one for a minute—all sorts of repercussions there.)

Culturally, this attitude of “doing it my way” spills over into our theology as well.  Truth is often defined by opinion, rather like one who prefers ice cream over Brussel sprouts.  (After all, I know which one I would choose.)  Even if I accept the Christian definition of truth, it’s still an easy trap to try and “earn” God’s acceptance by my own goodness, rather than that of Jesus alone.  Which means I’m still trying to do it my way.

However, even in the Old Testament, God was setting us up for this.  Here the Hebrews were (still) getting ready to head into the Promised Land.  But to live there, they are told~~

 “Your pattern of worship will change….you must bring everything I command you— your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, your sacred offerings, and your offerings to fulfill a vow— to the designated place of worship, the place the LORD your God chooses for his name to be honored.”

BINGO.  They couldn’t do it “their way” anymore.  If they wanted to live in God’s presence, they had to do it God’s way. 

New Testament interpretation: Jesus is God’s way.  Period.  Not crystals.  Not Buddha.  Not Mohammed.  Not reductionism.  Not capitalism.

Not even the Republican Party.  (Wow.  I might take some heat for that one…)

The only way to live and move and have our true being in God’s salvific presence is in Jesus alone.  It’s one of the many things I so appreciate about Jesus—His directness.

“Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’”

This is in no way an intolerant statement, at least not anymore than in saying that “my begonias are red and not lavender” is an intolerant statement.  Or the rain is wet, and not dry.

Or that Frankie-baby had unbelievably blue eyes…(swoon.)

Deuteronomy 12:8,11; John 14:6  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.