Packin’ heat

I have some friends who, when they go to church, carry their concealed firearm.  One of them is with the local sheriff’s department.  The other is a pastor in another town.

I looked up where the term “arms” as a reference to weaponry comes from:

“Arms, meaning those things used during fighting, comes from the Latin arma, which had largely the same meaning and came from the root ar- meaning ‘to fit together’. Since the 14th century arms has referred to weapons. When new weapons came along that used gunpowder, they were referred to as fire-arms.”  (a quote from Doug Rice on https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-etymology-of-the-word-firearm)

 Huh.  I just kinda thought it looked like fire coming out of your arm…?  Shows what I know. Continue reading “Packin’ heat”

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NOT for the birds, definitely not.

IWAA7I’m in the second year of my small berry crop.  Here’s what I was anticipating by springtime:

raspberries

Makes your mouth water, don’t it?

Especially for me, the non-gardener.  I’m pretty proud of this little piece of earth, and all the sore muscles along the way.  Bob has been very patient with the big Sutherlands Home and Garden truck pulling up unexpectedly (for him, that is), or the time(s) I have inadvertently left the hose on after watering, (okay, so I get distracted.)

His tastes buds do reap the benefits, however, except for that year I had an over-abundance of cucumbers—he still requests no cukes in the smoothies… Currently, our favorite taste treat is the fresh raspberries and blackberries coming in from the second-year plants. YESssss!!

Unfortunately, this year the birds have likewise found them.  Especially the blackberries.  I wondered why I wasn’t seeing the ripened fruit day after day, and here’s evidence (it’s not for the faint of heart)—

ARRUGHH@#!!*@#!!!! (delete-delete-delete)

Now, I love birds.  They serenade me in the morning.  But that doesn’t mean they get paid by my hard worked-for berries.  So off to Sutherlands I go (didn’t need their truck for this one) to get some equipment, and concocted this:

Not only was it not pretty, it was also not entirely functional.  It didn’t fit, which meant there were gaps in the netting, and my attempts to cut and paste (well, zip-tie) left much to be desired.  Birds aren’t quite as dumb as I gave them credit, at least not when they’re hungry.  They know a good berry crop when they see it!

Learn from my mistakes, call my Dad for a little review in mathematic calculations, and a little ingenuity from Pinterest, and here is my current barricade:

netting3

Already I have seen a feathered kamikaze bounce off in bewilderment!

Inspecting my handiwork that next morning, I notice a few gaps, but also some nicely ripening blackberries.  I easily reposition and secure the netting, and let the fruit do its thing, unmolested and secure.

“Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace.”

I like that “guard AND keep”.  It’s one thing to set up a protective fence but it’s another to make sure it’s still effectively working.  And when it comes to protection, one size definitely does not fit all.

My precious berries were already protected from the ground forces of bunnies by the wire fencing—I learned that one the hard way a long time ago.  But just having put in the berries last year, I hadn’t counted on the air strikes (although, I confess, I had heard of them from the past…oh, if only I had paid attention to experienced gardeners!!)

After losing some of the crop, I went into action—better late than never.  But unfortunately, I “reacted” rather than “researched” properly, which left gaps and wasted time and money.

Finally, sacrificing some time (allocating that precious resource to a perceived priority—my berries!!) and relying on the experience of others, I have a tailor-made plan to “guard and keep” for a fruitful harvest.

When it comes to relationships, whether it’s in the family, or even in the Body of Christ:

  • Protection must be intentional. (And it’s rewarding to see Satan just bounce off, not that he won’t try again.)
  • We are given a template, but each “fence” will be unique; to force one on another will cause gaps and allow the enemy in to eat the “fruit”. (Ask me how I know…)
  • Research is better than reacting. Humbly asking for help if more effective than wasting time and emotion on crisis management.
  • Protection is ongoing: frequent inspections and adjustments must be anticipated. It’s called communication and resilience.  Forgiveness and grace. 

ripeberryFruit takes time (and effort) to produce.  But its reward is sooooOOO000ooo sweet.

Ephesians 4:3 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

Prepare-practice-repeat, ad nauseam

IMG_20150103_172451138Standing in the waiting room of a local shop waiting on my car tire to be fixed up, my cell phone went off.  It was our daughter from southern California, but where she was living at the time, the cell phone reception was less than optimal, so I only heard snatches of her conversation.  It went something like this:

“Hi, mom…(static)…thought you might have seen the news…(static)…fires…(static)…we’re fine…(static)…”

Ah, parenthood.

Not being from that area, I have since learned that they have a “fire season” much like tornado season where I live.  Even when they see the smoke in the distance, locals are well-informed in the drill.

tornado-541911_1280To modify a culturally well known phrase, “disasters happen”.  From nature-born Midwest tornadoes to man-made terrorist exploits, we live in a dangerous environment this Continue reading “Prepare-practice-repeat, ad nauseam”

Expecting bird poop

bird picmonkeyAt this writing, I’ve just come in from sitting on my patio before going to church on a beautiful Sunday morning.  I mean B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L.   The sky has been swept clean (wish I could say that about my patio…), the birds are singing, the sun is coming up over the horizon, the trees are sporting their new greenery—I even have some new things planted in my garden.  And I had a special treat this morning—two Canada geese flew overhead!  Great!

We live in southern Missouri in what’s called a “fly-over zone”, so the geese are frequent residents in transit.  But we also have a Continue reading “Expecting bird poop”

Saddle up!

bikesYesterday, Bob and I went on bike ride.  It was beautiful, out in the country, made friends with a couple of dogs (thanks to the treats I always carry.)  It had been awhile since I had been earnestly into biking, so it’s high time to restart.

This morning, however, my left knee disagrees.  Occasionally, it likes to remind me that I’m 30 years beyond 27, and I need to accommodate my activity as such.  Bah-humbug!

Having a wayward part does make my body a bit more challenging.  If I’m going to work up to a full biking club ride, I’m going to have to do some conditioning, for sure.  Thankfully, I’ve got some good help in the Continue reading “Saddle up!”

Jesus Wept

quill

My husband, Bob, will tell you that I’m all about stories with puppies and butterflies.  In other words, don’t give me drama unless there’s a happy ending.   (Here’s my disclaimer….)  Having said that, it might seem a bit incongruous for me to reblog this beautiful poem, but it continues to amaze me that God–in His sovereign wisdom and unfathomable love–gave us the power to break His heart.  Part of the good news, however, (spoiler alert!) I’ve read the last part of the Book, and we do have a happy ending.

A great offering by Susan Irene Fox, and check out her full site at http://susanirenefox.com/

JESUS WEPT 
Lord Jesus, would You please reply

The world’s in strife, You can’t deny

We turn away from Your commands

And scorn becomes our newest stand; I hear You cry.

 

For those who still in grace believe

We ask Your healing to receive

For who from love will abdicate

Whose nations turn from love to hate; we hear You grieve.

 

Your Body now asunder torn

From accusation now is worn

The ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ denouncing calls

Not grace or love, no light at all; I hear You mourn.

 

It seems majority’s content

To claim their turf, in fact resent

Such talk of love, and grace they shun;

A pity too, because there’s none heed Your lament.

 

In spite of odds, hear Spirit deep

This gift of love and grace to keep

…and as we pray for open hearts

The gap continues, miles apart. And Jesus weeps.

Thank you, Susan, for allowing me to post this on my site!

Fit as a Puzzle

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280

All right, ladies, ‘fess up.  How many pairs of black shoes (boots included) do YOU have?  Never mind the excuses of why you absolutely needed that third pair of spikes.  The point here is that we like our choices, and when we’re tired of one pair, we can get rid of them (because, see, that’s when I like to buy them, once your shoes hit the second hand stores….okay, there, I ‘fessed up) and easily purchase another.

Unfortunately, that same “unalienable right” of choice—at least, that’s how we tend to see it in the 21st century—plays out in many other facets of our lives, and even more unfortunately, in our church relationships.  We can Continue reading “Fit as a Puzzle”