Dawn’s List (not to be confused with Schindler’s…)

This post is a little different from what I normally write.  It’s not going on Facebook or Twitter.  No pretty photos.  No sarcasm or tongue-in-cheek humor (well, okay, I’m not done writing it yet, so we’ll see…).  Not even any analogies!

January, 2017, marks my second year of blogging.  I used to be more critical of social media, of the shallow content and mere shadow of so-called “friends”.  Although that can still be true, I have largely repented of my former viewpoint.  When I started this enterprise, I had no idea (nor any planned intention) of forming relationships, honest ones, and getting to know the people behind the screen.  Real people with authentic needs, trying to interpret their past and find some hope for their future.  Victories and defeats.  Questions, and even some answers—quite a few answers, really!  (Okay, right, so there’s a whole relational analogy there, but I shall refrain…)

So for now, Thursday has become Continue reading “Dawn’s List (not to be confused with Schindler’s…)”

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Ye Olde Blogge, or, “Oh, it’s you again…”

BloggeThis month I’ve been blogging for two years, and having a ball doing it, meeting terrific people and being encouraged in my own journey with God.  I’ve recently met yet another very cool person via the blogosphere who is just starting out and asking me for advice. (Yes, asking ME!!  Seriously?!?)

So I confidently sent her the WordPress Blogging U. link, and also told her that in addition to those several and free courses, (emphasis on the word “free”), we are abundantly provided with tutorials to browse on our own, trying things out here and there and at our chosen pace.

At least, that’s what I did.  And I’m happy that I still can, especially as the company upgrades and changes “the look” I have grown accustom to when I first started.  Plus, I know there are some improvements I need to make in the look and ease of the site, some strategies I’d like to try.  But here is one of the most interesting take-aways I’ve gleaned from the experience, especially starting out as I did from the ground level, just slightly above “this is where you turn on the computer”:

animated-arrow-image-0113Persistence is priceless.

If the look I wanted didn’t happen the first time, then let’s give it another go.  Let’s see what’s available, or insert this particular widget, or drag and click on this button.  Then there’s always the option of (gasp!) reading the directions, again,…and again.  Or asking questions.  And funny thing, shock of shocks—it works!! Of course, I’ve never been one terribly intimidated by the trial and error process anyway, and really, the security of the free world does not depend on the quality of my website…

Which translates into the intangible reality of our relationship with God.  The prophet Hosea knew this.  After exposing the error of the people’s idolatry (and accompanying observable behaviors) which was to be followed by the long-forecasted consequences, he then calls them to this hope:

“…Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn…”

God is not intimidated by our trial and error, even with Him. Reference King David! Simon Peter! Moses! One thing these guys had in common was that they never gave up.  It was never a question of God showing up; it was, rather, up to them to keep at it, even in the face of personal confusion or temporary moral defeat.   

Because, when it come to a quality relationship with the Almighty God, persistence is priceless, and really, the security of someone else’s eternity may actually depend on it.

Hosea 6:3 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, me??

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And I quote…

“But please listen to me when I say this: America is worth it.”

“It’s up to each and every one of us to keep working to make America better and stronger and fairer.”

“…stay engaged on every level.”

“We need you.  America needs your energy.”

                  –Hillary Clinton*

That pretty well sums it up, no matter who we did or did not vote for.  So yeah, the truth is that, regardless of the 40+ hour work week or lack thereof, the car in the shop and the dishes in the sink, the kids’ activities, the bills, the aging parents and/or concern about the how to deal with the in-laws…somewhere in there, our country needs our involvement, our voice, our help. 

I love the story of Moses when God first called to him from the burning bush.  The short version goes something like this:

“Who, me!?!”

“Yes, you!!”

About five times, in fact, and answered by some practical strategies that necessitated Moses’ (as Mrs. Clinton puts it) “energy and engagement”.  In other words, it cost him something.

Obviously, there is no disagreement about the American right to disagree, and in that view, the most current presidential election was not unique.  (The Brits have their own version…)

Pugnacious verbal blood-letting is a time honored tradition in all the colors (not merely red and blue) of the political spectrum.   Unfortunately, school children are not the only ones adept at playground bullying; they learn it well from us adults.  What seems to be passion for “our” cause can easily go beyond true activism into irreparable damage.  Advocacy becomes practical, however, when I choose to step in and confront the day-to-day “adult-bullying” which takes many creative forms, some of which can be couched in seeming sophistication, much of it in my own backyard.

There are also other ways to stay engaged, regardless of whether or not your candidate of choice won the election.  Here are a few practical suggestions, and I hope you may add more in the comment section:

  • Maybe your thing is political advocacy. Here’s good comment from the interaction with my oldest daughter:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             “A way to be involved is to not only confront any hateful actions or remarks you personally come across, but also to hold your representatives accountable. Be in contact with your state and federal lawmakers. When I was a lobbyist (for lack of a better term), constituent concerns were the most important thing, hands down. As few as 20 phones calls from constituents could sometimes sway a lawmaker’s vote. If you disagree with them, tell them.”

Here’s the place to start:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

  • To find a good match for your skills and time availability, take a look at these sites for help.

http://www.volunteermatch.org/

http://www.createthegood.org/

  • For someone who’s passion is housing, try Habitat for Humanity. It’s kind of hard to stay mad at someone when you’re focusing on hanging sheetrock for a good cause…together.

http://www.habitat.org/

  • Now for a challenging word for us bloggers, tweeters, instagrammers, snapchatters, and otherwise connoisseurs of fine social media. Try reading some writings by those from the opposing side of the argument. True debaters are taught to contend on each side; it causes them to learn the age-old skill of walking a mile in the other guy’s shoes. Another wise quote from my progeny:

“If you want to see a perspective firmly lodged in the liberal camp, look at Shaun King’s Facebook page. I’m not saying I agree with him, but it might be a place to see another side of things, or at least to see why people are worried. My newsfeed has a decidedly liberal slant, so I intentionally continue to follow more conservative folks so I’m not unaware.”

I love her word “intentional”.   I’ve followed Pied Type since I started this blogging thing.  We are obviously divergent in our worldviews, which is good for me.  It’s a beautiful site, so check it out!

And while we’re at it, how many of us are guilty of initiating and/or forwarding unseemly and unsubstantiated emails or posts about “the other side”, hmmmm???

Moses became instrumental in delivering God’s people from tyrannical rule.  Now, you can apply that allegorically however you wish, but the point remains—you are needed, not merely to advance the policies dear to your heart, but also and at the same time (please hear this), to help maintain the “indivisible” part of the pledge most of us grew up with. It is, in fact, the American way.

Here are a few other quotes from another famous American who had his share of personal and political vilification, and eventual made the ultimate sacrifice.

While we must, by all available means, prevent the overthrow of the government, we should avoid planting and cultivating too many thorns in the bosom of society.
–March 18, 1864 Letter to Edwin M. Stanton

I have desired as sincerely as any man — I sometimes think more than any other man — that our present difficulties might be settled without the shedding of blood.
–April 26, 1861 Address to the Frontier Guard

I appeal to you again to constantly bear in mind that with you, and not with politicians, not with Presidents, not with office-seekers, but with you, is the question, “Shall the Union and shall the liberties of this country be preserved to the latest generation?” 
–February 11, 1861 Speech to Gov. Morton in Indianapolis

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds…”
–March 4, 1865 Inaugural Address

Thank you, Mr. Lincoln.

http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/quotes.htm

*Quoted from FoxNews online

The “Like” button

wood 2Bob and I have an ongoing debate about the “like” button.  He will peruse a post but not necessarily fully read it, hitting the “like” button “to encourage” the writer, and then of course, he will leave a comment only if he has something more substantial to say.  I’m not saying I’m always above doing that, but I’m more along the lines of “liking” something only if I “read” it.  Perhaps I am being a bit legalistic here?

Akin to that discussion is the “follow” button.  Hitting the follow button is likewise effortless, but authentically following is something else, because to really get to know someone takes time.  I want to “read” what’s on their hearts: how they process and interpret their experiences, and how they position themselves for the future.  I want to understand our disagreements, and guess what!  I might even change my mind on some things, or vice versa—how cool is that?!?

Unfortunately, the various WordPress conveniences seem to Continue reading “The “Like” button”

Just Mow

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Pastor Anthony Baker at The Recovering Legalist, (and I so totally love that for a blog name!), has his moments of frustration and is not ashamed to let others know that he does not, in fact, walk on water.  On the other hand, he is likewise not ashamed to introduce you to Someone Who does….walk on water, that is.

So here is one of his productive solutions to the stresses of the clergy, or of life for that matter!

 Just Mow

I have so much to write

But it was too long a night.

The stress of it all, all the phone calls

I slept till I saw the light.

Yeah, I “saw the light”

I don’t have to write!

This is my blog, I’m not on the clock

There’s nowhere a paycheck to write.

So, it’s a beautiful day

The weather is great

I’ll crank the John Deere, put buds in my ear

And just mow all my stresses away.

So for a good dose of “so-what’s-your-problem-anyway!?!” theology, check out The Recovering Legalist, and enjoy the journey with Pastor Baker.

Scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Alright, parents.  Remember assigning duties to your children, like cleaning their room, doing their laundry, washing the dishes, et. al.?  I’ll admit, I wasn’t the most consistent at this one, but it is an important part of parenthood, regardless of the amount of grousing that can take place.  Cries of “Unfair!” can abound.  I mean, really, between cleaning the bathroom or mowing the lawn, I know which one I’d choose.  But the choice is made for them, and for good reason—no one should let the 6-year old mow the lawn and leave the 15-year old to pair up the clean socks. 

And yet…

Change direction (but not really).  Re: the continuing saga of the wandering Hebrews on their way to Canaan—the absolutely ornate meeting Continue reading “Scrubbing toilets with a toothbrush”

Go take a hike! (No, really, I mean it…)

wood 2I’m writing this with a migraine.  I mean, a real clinically diagnosed one, not just a bad headache.  This is the kind the doc prescribes daily beta-blockers for, as well as “as needed” medication, not just the stuff you can get over-the-counter. I’m following in the steps of my brother, and my mom and her brother.  Fortunately, some folks with authentic migraines can figure out their “triggers”.  Unfortunately, I’m not one of them.  Simply put, a trigger is the causative factor, be it a food, a chemical odor, bright lights, things like that. 

Okay, yeah, then there’s stress.  I’m thinking stress is part of the curse; it came with Eve’s first taste of the ONE fruit in the ENTIRE garden God said was a no-no, from Continue reading “Go take a hike! (No, really, I mean it…)”

Happy Birthday to me!!!

This is NOT health food.
This is NOT health food.

I’m composing this little post in the beauty of an autumnal morning.  The summer heat is beginning to succumb to the earth’s orbit, the last of the four “blood moons” has passed into history, and despite that occurrence, one of my more immediate concerns has been whether the bag worm epidemic is going to destroy my beloved sycamore tree.  The shallowness of that may be evidence enough of my state of mind, but there it is.

Of course, all that could change in an instant.  You know how life does.

So I’ll write this now and post it later, because I’m writing in celebration of my blog’s one-year birthday in January of 2016.  And maybe I’ll even read it myself.  Because here’s the Continue reading “Happy Birthday to me!!!”

Blogging Blast: Take Cover!

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The seasons, they are a-changin’ here in Missouri; the weather is trying to make up its mind between frost or sunshine. The plants are going dormant and the bugs are dying off (finally–I should buy stock in “deet”; and as much as I use, it’s probably a good thing that I’m not within childbearing age anymore.)  Each season, it’s like nature just decides to try something new, and even though it’s the same rotation, it’s always got it’s own spin. (Pardon the pun.)

And if nature gives itself permission, why not me, too?

Therefore, for this week I will initiate my first “Blogging Blast”, which is a blog per day for one whole week.  You can take that as a promise or a warning, whichever seems appropriate.  I realize this is no big deal for some veteran bloggers, and yes, I shamelessly use the scheduler without remorse.  And yes, I try to keep them to around 500 words, so granted, they are none of them literary tomes that will likely end up in the Library of Congress.  (Fear not!  My weekly “Not-My Poetry” will be published as scheduled.)

Regardless, each post will be published at 0800 (Central Time) so feel free to check in (or alternately go off the grid, just to be safe).

Here goes…..