Shovel…check. Ibuprofen…check.

I put in this new garden two years ago, by hand, meaning without much help except for the big farm and home truck that dropped everything off next to the driveway.  And let me tell ya, those railroad ties are heavy!  (I think Bob helped me with one of them, but he had previously hurt his back, so I sent him back indoors.)

It’s been beautiful and fruitful:

Things are growing in the new garden!

But now, a few seasons later, the dirt seems to have settled and is getting a bit low.  I’m always asking Bob for dirt for my birthday, or Mothers’ Day, but his romantic heart can’t bear showering dirt on his wife when other wives are asking for jewelry or flowers.  Continue reading “Shovel…check. Ibuprofen…check.”

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MINE!

volleyball-1568154_1920Back in the Dark Ages when I was in high school, I played volleyball.  Not well, but I tried.  In the 1970’s, girls’ athletics was not quite as competitive as it is today and being 5’12” (as I used to call myself) didn’t hurt my chances of making the cut either.

Generally on any team, you have to communicate with each other.  Specifically in volleyball, if you don’t communicate with your teammates, you might plow into each other, which would defeat the purpose of getting the ball over the net.  When the ball comes your way, you have to send the message, “I’ve got this, so you don’t have to, but be ready because it might be coming your way next.”

As that tends to be a bit wordy, it is condensed into simply:

“MINE!” Continue reading “MINE!”

The Mighty Wonder Buck rides again! And again! And…

picmonkey dogThe Mighty Wonder Buck (A.K.A. The MWB, or Buckley) loves it when I have the car keys in my hand and head out the door; hopes springs eternal in that big black hairy chest of my dog-pound mutt.  A car ride could mean a number of things: to our small town community compost (with all kinds of smells to explore!), to the local farm and home store, or even splashing and swimming at the nearby lake (him, not me, but invariably yours truly gets wet.)

No matter what I’m doing, he’s just good company, and depending on the activity, sometimes he comes home exhausted but tongue-hanging-out-the-mouth happy.  If you’re a dog-lover like Bob and I both are, you know the look.

 

And you would also know that there is nothing unusual about talking to your canine buddy.  Even singing to him.  I mean, he doesn’t know or care if you can sing or not.  So when I came out of Walmart one day to pack my groceries into the car, there was the MWB, cute as ever with his big black head looking at me.

I had parked in isolation in the back lot with all the windows down so Buck had plenty of air and shade, which also meant the car was right up next to the outdoor garden center, enclosed only by a big fence. 

A fact which had slipped my mind.

And as I merrily talked and sang to my furry friend (an original composition, mind you, just for the dog,), I happened to turn and catch a glimpse of a man looking at me as he perused the various and sundry greenery. 

There are times it is unfortunate that so many people know me in this town…

“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light…”

Okay, I know that’s not the kind of “peculiar” God is talking about here.  Unfortunately, I have plenty of unholy peculiarities for Him to work on, (that have nothing to do with singing to my dog in public.)

I am convinced, however, that part of this “so great a salvation” that we are given is powerfully intended to make us nonetheless strange in the eyes of our contemporaries, for the very reason of getting their attention and putting that focus on God.  There are so many practical examples of this, in the way we interact, entertain, spend money and time, even (most of all)—how we think.

boneHere’s one bone to chew one:

WordPress has all these great tips and courses on improving your blog site and increasing your readership—that is terrific and and who doesn’t want to do that, right?! I know I do.  Logically, it makes sense that the more people read your stuff, the more people can be helped by what you write. 

But here’s the real meat.  As a Christian, my goal isn’t just to reach a whole bunch of people, but to reach the people God wants me to reach.  That doesn’t preclude my due diligence, but it also doesn’t mean I mark my success by my stats either.  (I mean, Hitler also reached lots of people, just sayin’.)

Which is a “peculiar” way to regard success in our culture, even in our church culture.  Big flashy sound stages with matching budgets; not that those are bad at all, but they aren’t the goal, nor are they a sign of success…at all.  In God’s culture, where the peculiar people “live and move and have their being”, success is measured by obedience, not outcomes.

gentleman-148407_1280And that will definitely turn heads, more than singing to your dog!

I Peter 2:9 King James Version (KJV)  Public Domain

And I quote, “NO!”

IMG_20150103_172451138Bob and I were incredibly fortunate to spend this past Christmas with our oldest granddaughter and her family at their beautiful new home in Los Angeles.  Let me clarify: our oldest granddaughter is 2-years-old and her family is our oldest child and her husband.  Now, Bob and I have memories of when this precious bundle was born, when she started to walk, and one of my favorite life events is rocking her as she fell asleep in my lap even just this past summer.

That’s when she had just turned two, but even then the storm was beginning to brew.

And this past holiday season, it was the southern California equivalent of a nor’easter.  Of course, being the parents of three children of my own, this comes as no real surprise.  As much as I know her parents love and Continue reading “And I quote, “NO!””

Gettin’ a little crowded in there

babyrobins 4Don’t you think it’s about time for these guys to start finding their own food??  I don’t think mom and dad are going to be able to keep sustaining them (and themselves) much longer, and they’re outgrowing the nest by more than a bit.  Dependence is a comfortable thing, however, and self-sufficiency is hard work, and somewhat dangerous at times.  Just look at what happened to the Israelites during the prophet Samuel’s time—

Backstory: because of the enemy occupation, there were no blacksmiths allowed in Israel.  To sharpen anything, God’s (wayward) people had to go the non-Israelite smithies to simply file an axe or other daily implements.  (As if my kitchen knives weren’t dull enough…)  This was a really smart ploy of the enemy—they were basically in control of the weaponry, which decidedly put the people of Yahweh at an uncomfortable disadvantage.

“So on the day of the battle none of the people of Israel had a sword or spear, except for Saul and Jonathan.”

Unfortunately, our Enemy employs the same tactic today when I allow myself to become dependent on church leadership and the pastoral staff/worship team/Sunday school teachers for my personal spiritual sustenance and the responsibility I have for the effect of the Gospel in my family and community.

Okay, that was a run-on sentence, and back in high school my comp teacher, Mrs. Rose, used to give my red ink for that.  So I’ll break it down.

Point #1:  Any church philosophy that encourages the people to become solely dependent on the leadership team is from the enemy camp.

When one of you says, “I am a follower of Paul,” and another says, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you acting just like people of the world?  After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News.

Point #2: Church leadership is not to keep us in the nest, but to prepare us to fly on our own.  That doesn’t preclude church affiliation (mustn’t take the analogy too far) as it is obvious God expects us to keep up our teamwork and fellowship.  There is, however, a specific call for the church to BE the church, not merely GO to church.

“Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.” 

Even “dumb animals” like robins know when it’s time to grow up and feed themselves.

Or maybe they’re not so dumb after all…?

 

Samuel 13:22; I Corinthians 3: 4,5; Ephesian 4:11,12  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.