Plug in the ears

books-3322275_1920You know that saying “so many books, so little time”? I’m considering an audio-book app for my phone.  It’s that time of year where I spend a considerable amount of daylight in the garden, which means my mind just kind of wanders, I suppose. 

I’m checking out the one from Amazon, lots of books I can download for around $15 a month.  However, that’s a chunk of change over time, so I may need to do some creative budgeting if I go that route. 

Of course, they have that inviting hook of a 30-day free trial, cancel at any time and get one or two books free to start the subscription.  And there’s this one book on prayer I’m interested in.

Hummmm…. Continue reading “Plug in the ears”

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“Because enquiring minds want to know.”

newspaper-2874482_1920The above title was the advertising tag for one of those insipid tabloids from years past that grace the check-out counter at the grocery store.  They tend to be right there with the candy bars to make it more convenient to rot your body and soul at the same time.  In my mind, tabloids rank up there with Harlequin romances and other forms of mental/emotional snake oil. Continue reading ““Because enquiring minds want to know.””

Snack time!

popcorn-1085072_1920I love to eat.  In recent years, it has been showing a bit more than in the past. 

One of my challenges, when it comes to food, other than the fact that I live in a place of overabundance and a culture of overindulgence, is that I have a touch of hypoglycemia.  Low blood sugar, that is.  Hypoglycemia isn’t mere hunger pangs and gastro-growling.  Hypoglycemia manifests itself in things like blurring of vision, headache, jitteriness, and irritability.  When it hits, I’ll grab just about anything besides what I should since the craving for sugar is my body’s way to sustain life, even though it may be temporary. Continue reading “Snack time!”

Pop Quiz!

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I have a tendency to make improbable things happen, rarely intimated by what others would consider sorely inconvenient or even overwhelming obstacles.  Bob considers it one of the challenging/scary parts of my personality compared to his very ordered/cautious one.  There are several common analogies for this particular trait:

Mover and shaker.

Trailblazer.

He who hesitates is lost.

God can steer a boat easier if it’s not tied to the dock…all that.

Then there’s this one:

Biting off more than you can chew—yep, I know about that one also.  Sometimes, it includes my own foot, if you get my drift.  And things can get messy. Continue reading “Pop Quiz!”

Let’s Hear It for Southpaws!

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Let’s face it, folks, left-handed people bear a burden, although I think it’s gotten better over the decades. According to that impeccable repository of information, (i.e., Wikipedia), approximately 10-percent of our society worldwide are southpaws.  Machines ranging from scissors to power saws were generally produced with right-handed people in mind, and in the past, even in education if a child showed a preference to his left hand, he would be “encouraged” to use his right instead.  Continue reading “Let’s Hear It for Southpaws!”

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”

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.

Mom jeans, and other fashion faux pas’

IMG_20150103_172451138Well, it’s actually happened.  I’ve turned yet another corner in parenthood.

Here in our small Midwest town we are superiorly blessed to have, not one, but several very nice second-hand shops.  I’m a true re-purposed human being, (even my dog is a rescue), so my children were likewise brought up in this frugal practice.

Recently, my eldest called from the West coast, where prices are not q-u-i-t-e as judicious has here at home, and wondered if I could look for a few things, including jeans.  But not just any style.  She was specifically requesting—are you ready?? (I just so love this!)—“MOM” jeans.  Yes!  High-waisted, the kind I used be to chided for a decade or two ago.  Continue reading “Mom jeans, and other fashion faux pas’”

Teach your (siblings’) children well

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280If you really want to get back at your older siblings for all those mean things they did to you as kids growing up, what one thing should you teach their own pre-school children?  No, it’s not where daddy keeps his favorite fishing tackle, or how pretty mommy’s new lipstick looks on the freshly painted patio deck, or even how to safely use a blow torch, as fun as all that would be.  The grueling, tortuous payback is much easier than that…

Simply teach their little cherubs the word “Why?”

And then encourage them to use it, frequently.  Which is not so far-fetched when you consider that we humans are a naturally inquisitive lot to begin with anyway.  Why, what for, how come, and the other various derivatives are simply part of our internal vernacular, both positively, from our curiosity, (giving us, for example, “E=mc2”) and negatively, from our wounded sense of inconvenience, (“how come I have to study this stoopid stupid geometry?!”)

Either way, we keep asking. 

In this instance, God anticipated our “why”.  (He did, after all, make us this way.)  The Hebrew people all but have their toes on the boarder of the Promised Land as God is using Moses for a few preliminary instructions:

 “In the future your children will ask you, ‘What is the meaning of these laws, decrees, and regulations that the LORD our God has commanded us to obey?’”

Not that the Creator needs to explain to the created, so the fact that He anticipates their inquiry shows gracious condescension.  He reminds them that they were brought out of their brutal slavery in Egypt so that God could bless them with an abundant goodness (which was already prepared for them, BTW).  Then we read this, which is in the same paragraph, as in almost the same breath—

“For we will be counted as righteous when we obey all the commands the LORD our God has given us.’”

Am I hearing this right?  God’s saying, “I pulled you out of a very bad place and I’m putting you in a very good place.  Here’s the stuff you need to do to maintain that, and thus I will consider you as in right standing with Me.”

In other words, being counted as righteous is NOT the same as intrinsic righteousness.  Nope, that issue was decided a L-O-N-G time ago.  I find it interesting, then, when our culture tries to damn the very God Who attempted every which way to communicate and connect with the people who rejected Him to begin with; as if we expect Him to change Himself to fit our image instead of the other way around.

Oh wait…He did that too, only not in the way we expected.  (He does that a lot.)

“So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness.”

Of course, that was the plan all along, which makes that plan even more beautiful.  And so now instead of being counted as righteous because of the things I do (which never worked anyway—the first half of the Book bears testament to that arrangement, again, no surprise to the Author), I am counted as righteous because of what Jesus has done for me. 

If you’ve never seen it, great, here it is.  If you haven’t seen it recently, let’s marvel in a super review:

“But now God has shown us a way to be made right with him without keeping the requirements of the law, as was promised in the writings of Moses and the prophets long ago.  We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he makes sinners right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.”

Back to the original question, why?  Only one answer suffices:

Deuteronomy 6: 20, 25; John 1:14; Romans 3: 21-26  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.

Good fences make for good gardens

garden lastThis place is a wreck.  Sitting out here on the patio in the early morning Missouri summer humidity, I’m looking at the weeds resolutely poking through the already treated pave stones.  There’s some unwanted green stuff growing amongst the begonia pots, and the garden hoses are in dire need of mending.  On top of all of this, a brown leaf just now floated gently down (to meet the weeds on the pave stones, I suppose.) 

Now wait a minute!  It’s only July!  I’m not ready for Autumn yet!  Besides, no fair, since I’ve been out of town for a week, which gave the weeds and their comrades free reign.   Continue reading “Good fences make for good gardens”