Somebody clean the ox

IMG_20150103_172451138My house is not a clean house. 

Well, I mean it’s hygienic.  We have indoor plumbing and clean water, which, for context and perspective, is more than can be said for most of the planet. 

It’s just that, as Bob says, “my girl is a messy girl”.  Truth.  I really had to acknowledge that when all the girls moved away and the empty nest didn’t really reorder itself.  Nope. 

Just too many books to read, too many posts too write, gardening, projects, and then there’s this thing called a full-time job.  And a husband.  (They take time, too.  Well worth it.  And he’s the clean one of the duo.)

So I find at least some solace in this:

“Without oxen a stable stays clean, but you need a strong ox for a large harvest.”

Thank you, King Solomon.

Not that I consider myself a strong ox, although Bob says that I “come from good stock”, whatever that’s supposed to mean.  (He also says, however, that I can “work him under the table”.)

I think it’s probably also easier in parenting, for instance, to take a DIY attitude rather than let the kids learn by doing, because of the potential/probable mess, which makes more work for yours truly (which may or may not get done, see above disclaimer.)

Extrapolate: it’s likewise easier (translate “safer”) to not care so much, try so much, dream so much, reach out so much in this otherwise hostile world we live in this side of eternity.  It gets harsh, uncomfortable….messy.

This citation will probably put me over my word count, but it’s worth the read:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” –Theodore Roosevelt

I have not a clue whether or not good ole’ Teddy would have made it into the White House in today’s climate, but I sure do like this quote.  And if ever there was an ox in a Washington china shop (other than, of course, now) it was Teddy.

sweepSo while the laundry piles up in the stairwell and the dog hair in the kitchen, I’m off to a workday at the church.  The laundry will be there when I get home, and the dog hair never really goes away.

Proverbs 14: 4  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.

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Ties that bind…or strangle.

IMG_20150103_172451138Several years ago, I read a study synopsis from a well respected site indicating that the most influential power in a child’s life was his parents. (Golly-gee-whiz, I wonder how many man-hours and tax dollars went into that one.)  Of course, ask any of the teachers in my middle school, and they could have told you that.  Better yet, I have a Book that pretty well spells it out from years of experience and Wisdom. 

Needless to say, there are some forces in the Universe that are inherently powerful, for good or evil, and parenthood is certainly at the top of that list.  It’s not that parents can take credit for all the choice their kids make (positive or negative), but their influence is still credibly incredible in some capacity throughout a person’s life. 

So it takes some real courage when a child, even an adult “child”, has to back up and re-evaluate patterns of thinking and doing that Continue reading “Ties that bind…or strangle.”

No paper or plastic

IMG_20150103_172451138When Bob and I were engaged to be married, I decided to register for stoneware and stainless rather than fine china and silver.  Some may have called that “common”; I prefer to call it practical.  Even so, for years I would store my special dishes in the corner hutch and bring them out only for special occasions; c’mon, ladies, you know how we do. 

Finally, after about 35+ years of collecting dust, I decided this was actually kinda dumb.  Why not use the good stuff on a daily basis?!  Are we not worth it? Good grief, it’s dishwasher safe anyway! (Unlike the fine china of the 70’s, I might add.)

SoooOO000ooo….not too long ago, out of the hutch and into the kitchen it came to be lovingly used along with the stainless Continue reading “No paper or plastic”

Buckle in, God’s got a plan

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I was always one of the tallest kids in class.  Back in high school I used to joke that the main reason I was on the girls’ basketball team was so that I could get off the traveling bus first just to intimidate the opposition.  Despite what they may have initially seen, in reality they didn’t have much to worry about.  My lack of athletic prowess may have been caused by hidden orthopedic challenges (no longer hidden, I might add!), latent asthma (ibid.), or simply a lack of interest and/or talent.  Like my 6’5” brother once observed, tall people rarely have to jump…for anything.

Nevertheless, what we see with our eyes can be scary, because we have a way of interpreting it through the lens of past experience, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, it’s a safety mechanism.  If there’s a motorcycle coming down the road, past experience says it behooves me to move.  Unless, of course, I’m an 18-wheeler with the right-of-way, then I expect the burden of wisdom to rest with the motorcycle.

With this in mind, I suppose I can have a little compassion on Continue reading “Buckle in, God’s got a plan”

Silverware, or flatware?

IMG_20150103_172451138I don’t have a home and hearth “lifestyle” site like my bloggin’ buddy, Lindsey.  Case in point: I grew up calling all eating utensils “silverware, yet I somehow doubt that we ate off of silver.  I have since learned the differentiations between silverware, stainless, and simply flatware.  Now, Lindsey might be able to tell you more precisely what those are are (and how to use them correctly!)  One thing I have learned, however, (Lindsey, dear, please correct me if I’m wrong), is that the more you use silver, the less you have to keep it polished.  Otherwise, just stuffing it away for special occasions means you had better budget a fair amount of time in the preparation of the event for the wearisome task of polishing, cleaning, and wiping. 

For someone who rarely gets around to dusting my furniture, no thanks.

Not that I would allow my granddaughter to dig in the dirt with the silver serving spoon I got as a wedding gift lo, these many years ago, but why stuff that little treasure away just for dipping out the mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving?

So I wonder how much I fall prey to that attitude in other areas of my life; that is, putting something away for “safe keeping”, afraid it might get broken, stolen, or at the very least misused or disregarded, instead of using it for Continue reading “Silverware, or flatware?”

In other words…

 

cat-1246716_1280

  The lazy person claims, “There’s a lion on the road! Yes, I’m sure there’s a lion out there!”

Proverbs 26: 13   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.

Unconditional

quill

Not enough can be said about the the amazing things God accomplishes through our pain.  (Anyone not yet seen Pixar’s Inside Out??)  In light of that, here’s another beautiful offering of grace from Nico at Ancient Skies.  

UNCONDITIONAL

When our trauma has been washed, and we are in one piece again,

our blood shot eyes will begin to see the good

in each of us, and our shattering

will teach us the courage

to love

unconditionally.

       

Poetry and Image © Copyright 2016, ancient skies

The Kraken (conclusion)

The final installment of the The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III.  To start from the beginning, click HERE!

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From The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III and illustrated by James P. Wood

 

XVI. Benediction

With Kraken gone, the fearful folk returned to ply the sea,

And safety made the legend pass, though inadvertently.

A town was founded near the place where Galen’s cottage stood.

Where once a barren coast had been, there grew a neighborhood.

 

So Galen’s fame was scarcely known, but heroes must be paid.

He used his bellows and his forge to work the blacksmith’s trade.

At times, he fashioned stranger things, though most did not know why,

And, with his arm around Celeste, would stare into the sky.

 

Their union prospered in its way for those who cared to see

That Galen and his winsome bride were blessed with progeny

Of fairest skin on stoutest limb and fire behind their eyes.

They raised them well and lovingly and taught them to be wise.

 

They taught them work and taught them play, made sure that they were fed,

And told them stories in the night, then tucked them into bed.

As seasons changed, they watched them grow till they were straight and tall,

By young desire distracted from the saddles on the wall.

 

And, one by one, they saw them leave, when they were fully grown,

To found new homes with spouses fair and children of their own.

There is a way, mad by design, a way that wisdom makes,

To set the young at liberty to make their own mistakes.

 

And, one by one or all at once, the children would return,

The cottage glowing in the night with candle wax to burn.

They laughed and ate. Some went outside to play or walk around,

No longer knowing what they paced had once been sacred ground.

 

Their father told his history repeatedly, and yet,

Through unfamiliarity, descendants will forget.

And so he hammered weaponry and saved it for the days

Another generation would embrace heroic ways.

 

Some undergo the humble change from ridicule to fear

As those once sheltered made aware of danger drawing near,

But some remember righteous thoughts, discovered in their youth,

Of better dreams and simpler ways that turn them to the truth.

 

In times of pride and apathy, depending on the year,

There well might come a moment when a Kraken will appear.

As some are lost or made aware, the cycle starts again

To test the motivations that direct the hearts of men.

 

Still, man and wife would spend their days in faith and blessedness,

Commend themselves to higher things, and frequently confess

That tribulation comes to teach the lessons all must learn

In preparation for the day the griffins will return.

To order The Kraken, by Robert L. Jones, III and illustrated by James P. Wood, click HERE.

The Kraken (#14)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

XIV. A Faithful Flight

Observing her in silence but for sound of griffin breath,

They recognized her dignity, still beautiful in death.

Then Galen looked up pleadingly, cheeks marked by frozen tears.

His mentor looked much younger now, despite his many years.

 

He spoke with sensitivity. “Somehow, your faith is weak.

In giving you some time to grieve, I’ve taken time to speak.

Compared to what should really be, our efforts are but jest.

Now you must meet the One who can perform beyond your best,

 

“One who appears in many forms, a king without a crown.”

As he expounded on the ice, more griffins circled down.

With that, the prophet used his robe to wrap the corpse in white.

“This struggle is not over yet. If you have will to fight,

 

“You’ll take this precious bundle to complete what you’ve begun.

Now get you to the South and East to meet the rising sun.

Take no time to deliberate or question what I say.

So off with you. Be on your flight. Your griffin knows the way.”

 

Through twilight’s gloam, in haste they flew, but Galen was confused.

He held the dead weight to his chest as silently he mused.

He felt no hope or sorrow then or anything between.

This errand seemed to be in vain. What could the prophet mean?

 

Obedience was dearly learned. He would not stray again.

Had he not conquered in a fight no mortal man should win?

The glory of the day before had faded into night.

The goal of present faithfulness was hidden from his sight.

 

They came to rest upon a ridge beneath a graying sky,

And, standing by his escort, he heard flutterings nearby.

Like blades of grass that stand in such profusion on a lawn,

Were countless griffins seen to swarm the hill by light of dawn.

 

As if on cue or high command, by instinct or by choice,

They raised their eagle heads and screamed together with one voice,

And to this cry responding, as if not to be outdone,

A griffin larger than them all flew outward from the sun,

 

Its brightly colored plumage set on wings of awesome span.

As fine a sight as ever was beheld by eyes of man,

The Griffin King flew closer. Galen nearly lost control

But held his ground before the eyes that stared into his soul.

 

Then silently it landed with its wings completely spread

But never moved its gaze from Galen’s face, it must be said.

The monarch screeched with lifted head, its brow in regal frown,

And Galen trembled as he kneeled and laid his burden down.

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY…dot…dot…dot!!

The old-fashioned, hand-held, page-turning and fully illustrated version can be ordered at Amazon.com, by Robert L Jones, III and illustrated by James P. Wood.

The Kraken (#12)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE)

b8c14c0de55a3a61b83929cde26aaaf0
From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

XII. Departure

The morning came when all was done. No task the prophet gave,

Save breakfast, which he barely touched. His countenance was grave.

And Galen’s pulse was quickened then.. His chest began to heave.

He knew just by his master’s look that it was time to leave.

 

“The time has come, “the prophet said and took him by the arm.

“Be carefully attentive lest we come to major harm.

There is more than one aspect to this problem to be solved.

Tomorrow, when the sun is set, this part will be resolved.

 

“Of course,” he paused, “wear proper dress, and don this garment here.

Despite our plan, the Kraken’s speed might best you, and I fear

You’d meet your end within its coils if not for this disguise.

One dressed in white upon the ice stays hidden from its eyes.”

 

Then quickly Galen slipped the robe on top of what he wore

But asked, “However shall we go with no boat on the shore?”

His elder went to fetch the saddles hanging on the wall

And gathered spears. Then, with a rope, he tied and bundled all.

 

He said, “I know your heart is set on striking out by sea,

Yet, nonetheless, we shall proceed as safely as can be.

No vessel born of human hands can breach the Kraken’s lair.

No ship that plies the sea is safe, but these will take us there.”

 

And as he stepped outside the door and pointed overhead,

A flock of griffins landed, calling shrieks to raise the dead.

With eagle’s front and lion’s haunch, and terrible in shape,

Each one arrested Galen’s eyes and held his mouth agape.

 

The wise man held the saddles out in effort to explain.

“Be calm. You should be thankful for the speed that we will gain.

There are no reins. You use your arms to balance as you sit.

The saddles only they allow. Their beaks refuse the bit.”

 

Amid the whir and flutter of appendages, they sailed

In feathered flight. A mighty squad, through azure skies they trailed.

All through the night and into dawn, the expedition flew

To find a world of gray and white had entered into view,

 

A frozen sea encrusted with the ice of broken flows,

Pale, jagged blossoms grown from seeds the deadly tempest sows.

Calm water in an open space was ringed by icy crags,

Bare, lofty, snow blown pinnacles on which the north wind snags.

 

The griffins banked and steered their course to land near water’s edge

And skidded on the hoary frost to stop along a ledge.

“Unpack your spears,” the prophet said, “before it grows too late.”

He added with severity, “It’s here that we must wait.”

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY…dot…dot…dot!!