What’s for breakfast?

Okay, I’m finally doing the calorie-counting thing.  As age has caught up and metabolism has slowed down, it seems that my days of eating ice cream at will are pretty well gone.  My dear mom reminisces about me coming home from school and diving into a bowl of three or four scoops.

Ah, those were the days.  And thus, I purchased a kitchen scale, and am using measuring implements consistently for the first time.  The calculator sits conspicuously on the kitchen island.  Right now, I’m working on just 2000 calories a day. One would think that would not be too difficult…ugh. Continue reading “What’s for breakfast?”

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Just give me the box

present-150291_1280I had the honor of attending the baby shower for one of my bestie’s up-and-coming first grandchild!  This was just wonderful, considering Bob and I were dinner guests at her house the night she went into labor with her soon-to-be-a-sleepless-father youngest son. 

As all the gifts were being opened, once again the topic came up among the wizened elders of how the little ones often prefer to play with the boxes rather than the expensive gifts inside. 

Ain’t it the truth?  Now, you can go drop some serious coin for a colorful BPH-free cartoon-branded hard plastic play house, or….if your husband is a poor grad student with three small children living in married student housing, you can go to the nearest appliance store and get a refrigerator box (or two) for free, some crayons, have a blast, and still afford groceries. (Ask me how I know this.)  But I’m a bit off topic here. Continue reading “Just give me the box”

Getting back to work

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280One indisputable characteristic about the Old Testament prophets—they were weird.  I don’t say that disparagingly, but c’mon, they were not always the kind of people you’d invite to a office picnic.  Calling down fire from heaven, tying themselves in knots, and all that. 

Of course, they were good to have around when something needed fixed.

Case in point, the prophet Elisha has been persuaded to come with some of his students to build a new meeting place.  In the course of events, there was a problem:

Continue reading “Getting back to work”

Bumper cars…in my driveway.

wood 2We’re a Chevy Suburban-sized family.  At 6-foot-2, my husband is the runt of the four boys in his family, my brother is 6-6, and I’m around 5-12 (hmmm…)  All this to say that our three girls didn’t have much of a gene pool to draw from when it came to physical stature.  So when our daughters were in school, I went on the mega-search for a mini-van.  Thankfully, I didn’t find one to suit my husband, and instead found an old, reconditioned Sub (complete with glass-pacs for an impressive announcement when one hit the brakes on hill), and voila!  We fit!

Now, having that many kids, and with Bob and I being a dual-working couple, we also had a second smaller vehicle. If you’ve never been the owner of a Sub, suffice it to say that the running boards are really not optional, unless of course you want your shorter friends and family to pole vault into their seat.  It’s pretty nice to sit that high up off the road; however, one of the drawbacks is not being able to see a lower vehicle behind the car quite as easily.

That, unfortunately, was not my excuse.

Backing the Sub out of the garage one evening, I somehow was not cognizant of our smaller car behind me.  It made itself known as my tonnage of steel encountered it, albeit slowly.  ARGH!  Naturally, my next move was to pull forward.

Another feature of the disparity in size is that the bumpers of the cars don’t quite match up.  This means that, since one bumper is obviously higher than the other, once impacted they have more of a tendency to lock together…

The good news is that the main function of the little car was still intact, even though it had to spend a little time in the body shop.  In other words, the bumper performed its intended purpose—to protect the rest of the car.  It’s an apt example of that built in “margin for error” that my dad always tried to teach me.

I’m thinking God sort of had that concept in mind when He said this:

“Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble… A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.”

Granted, even within the body of Christ, relationships get messy.  We bump into each other, and sometimes even tear parts away.  Though it seems like a paradox, that’s even more reason why we actually need each other—to buffer the hurts of life.  And when we have the support system intact, the intended function of our individual gifts and the corporate operation of the church can go on as He intends…

…even if it means spending a little time in “The Shop” for repairs once in awhile.

Ecclesiastes 4:9,10,12   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.

In other words…

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“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

2 Corinthians 5:17  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.

God’s alternate reality and the eyes of a grandchild

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Our youngest daughter and family live in Norway.  I’ve never been to Norway, never particularly had it on my list of places to visit until, of course, we found out that their first baby was going to be born. 

Bob and I have found that grandchildren have a certain unequaled pull.

They have sent us beautiful photos of Scandinavian countryside—what a marvelous place on the globe with their fjords and waterfalls, and not a little snow.  Naturally, none of that can hold a candle to the little bundle and her parents that will outshine it all.  And as much as I love pictures and video chats, it’s never the same as being there for myself, as with our first grandchild, when we could caress that little one ourselves and gaze into her occasionally waking and alert eyes. 

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So I kinda “get” what the writer of this psalm is thinking when he penned this:

Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem.
    Walk around and count the many towers.
Take note of the fortified walls,
    and tour all the citadels,
that you may describe them
    to future generations.

For that is what God is like…

I don’t think this is merely talking about taking a trip to the Holy Land, as cool as that would be with all the ancient ruins and history and such.  This is an invitation to the world to come see God’s reality, and it is to be reflected in the church.  Not the church building, for that is as impermanent as those now ancient ruins of Jerusalem were about to become in the day this psalm was written.  Instead, we are to “take note” for ourselves the Universe of God, not just the visible one He created, but the eternal one.

And it seems that the only effective way to take note of it is to go there, personally, experiencing the relationship with God and seeing/experiencing the church as He means for it to be.  (Read: not as it is frequently portrayed by His children still under construction.)  Which is a challenge for all who claim to discount Christ because of His people’s imperfections.  No, each individual is called to come and “tour all the citadels” for themselves.  It takes time and effort and not a little reallocation of resources…

…but after the long plane ride, there is Someone even more beautiful than a grandchild waiting to gaze into your eyes.

Psalm 48:12-14  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.

Hardhats required

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280My friend Linda works as a church secretary.  The church a beautiful old red brick building, but as old goes, it needs occasional repair.   When I talked with her this summer, the blessed old place was going through another face lift, this time with concrete.  That meant her office was anything but quiet.  I can only imagine the pleasant sound of jackhammers outside her office walls…

Which makes this phrase from the building of the Lord’s temple during the reign of King Solomon even Continue reading “Hardhats required”

Compassionate haircut

IMG_20150103_172451138I think it’s not an uncommon scenario, a young mother dressing up her precious little ones in the new clothes from Grandma for a family photo only to have the 3-year old get ahold of mommy’s lipstick and use it to “paint” his little 1-year old sister.  On the way.  The baby’s face is sufficiently cleaned off, and miraculously (mercifully) none of the red “paint” got on the dress…only to have the other “end” of the situation explode, uncontainably. 

One of my personal favorite recollections is Bob coming into the room where I was napping before going to work nightshift at the hospital one evening.  He enters with this question, “Honey, do you love your middle daughter??”

Great way to wake up.

Robin had decided to give her little sister a haircut.  And I willingly leave Continue reading “Compassionate haircut”

The mouse in the house

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In terms of home ownership, the only good mouse is a dead mouse.  Unless, of course, the olfactory evidence informs you of the deceased, but you can’t locate the corresponding corpse.  There are various outcomes connected with this unfortunate demise:

The odor tends to encourage one to relocate to a different part of the house.  That’s not necessarily so bad if the size of one’s abode can accommodate such changes.  If, on the other hand, you live in an apartment, or a house full of other people, say, three or four children, that’s not quite so easy.

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The only kind of mice I tolerate in my house…

And/or we try to cover up the smell with other smells.  I would also tend to opt for opening the windows for that fresh air aroma, but this also is not so convenient in December or January.  So, instead, I get a mixture of holiday cinnamon with dead rodent, which will likely not do so well on the market next Christmas.

We also might avoid having Continue reading “The mouse in the house”

In other words….

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photo at: https://mitchteemley.com/2016/04/10/throw-it-away/

When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

 

Romans 5:6-8  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.