Running

quill

Here’s a piece by my bloggish buddy, Squid.  Oh, that all of God’s children were so resilient as this never-say-die little toddler!! If you haven’t met Squid, I highly recommend her to you! 

Running

I watched you cry today.

Your little feet were carrying you as fast as they could, when, 

BAM!  

Forehead, meet wall.

The waterworks came with a loud scream.

Mommy was back on duty, and sister-recreation time was over…

Or so I thought.

Less than a minute later, you’re back to

Running.  

With tears in your eyes 

But a smile on your face, 

We resumed the game as if nothing had ever happened.

But when we took a break, 

The sniffles returned, and you crawled into my lap, looking for security.  

A few moments of R&R…

And we’re back!

To running

-Squid

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When you know that you don’t know, but you want to know…y’know??

wood 2I remembering growing up and seeing those asinine tabloids in the check-out lines at the grocery store.  I suppose they continue to make money, since I see them touting the same nonsense about who-knows-what alien got who-cares-what Hollywood starlet pregnant. 

Clearly, enquiring minds still want to know.

What is it about human nature that makes secrets so enticing?  Maybe the upside is the curiosity for the unknown which has also put us on the moon and brought us the cure for smallpox and polio, so okay, I’ll grant us grant.  But, boy howdy, there sure is a downside!  It’s the stuff of James Bond 007 as well as the local beauty shop gossip. Continue reading “When you know that you don’t know, but you want to know…y’know??”

God of the bathrooms

wood 2Bob likes reading mythology, old and new, and even makes up some of his own.  One of the classic old standbys, of course, is the hero in the Odyssey.  Here’s my crib note version based on what’s left of my memory from required reading in high school and watching some old Hollywood interpretation on TV:

Odysseus has been away from the home castle for quite a long stretch; I can’t remember why, but “the rosy fingers of dawn” is mentioned several times.  That, plus the fact that he and his very macho comrades go through all kinds of fantastic adventures with all kinds of out of this world creatures (today, I believe they are referred to as “meta-humans” in the Comicon universe).  Continue reading “God of the bathrooms”

The little old woman who lived in a middle school.

Dawncartoon[1] (1)Being a school nurse to several hundred middle-schoolers, I sometimes feel like “the little old woman who lived in a shoe; she had so many children, she didn’t know what to do.”  Sometimes they grace my office with horrific things like hangnails, and chapped lips, and trampoline injuries from three days ago.  Other times there are more significant issues to be dealt with, parents to be contacted, an occasional ambulance.  Or an arm around the shoulder to dry a tear (hormones flow freely) or a high five on a test score.  It’s just all part of being the person in the building in charge of the bandaids and Tylenol.  (The DEA, however, frowns upon stocking Valium for faculty and staff.)

So I do appreciate Moses’ leadership in the Old Testament.  He had to have Continue reading “The little old woman who lived in a middle school.”

The Shack Out Back

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Heeding the call to stop concentrating exclusively on their own interests and start looking after God’s, the tide begins to change beneficially for the returning Hebrew exiles.  But there must have been a discouraging note for some of the old-timers who remembered the good ole’ days of their beloved Solomon’s Temple, now summarily destroyed.  As always, God realized this bent in our human psyche:

“Does anyone remember this house— this Temple— in its former splendor? How, in comparison, does it look to you now? It must seem like nothing at all!  

But now the LORD says: Be strong, Zerubbabel. Be strong, Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people still left in the land. And now get to work, for I am with you, says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.  My Spirit remains among you, just as I promised when you came out of Egypt. So do not be afraid.”

All this began to happen when the people obeyed God in the very tangible way of laying the foundation to the new temple.   Here’s what I glean from it:

  1. God still speaks to me, and tells me to be strong.
  2. I am not the only one “left in the land”, and I am not alone in this struggle. Granted, I may have to work to see who else is under the rock and rubble with me, but I am most certainly not alone.
  3. I have a directive—get to work.
  4. I can do this because God is with me, and He is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, a formidable ally indeed.
  5. I have the power of God’s Spirit.
  6. God is the same God—He’s brought me “out of Egypt” before, and He’ll do it again. His character and calling do not change.  (Yessss!)

In this life, things tend to crumble, and not merely bank accounts.  Relationships and families, dreams and plans, health and vitality,…and churches.  There’s just no sense sitting around pining over the dust of Solomon’s Temple when God’s calling me to build something new.  Stop comparing.  Stop waiting.  And above all, stop whining.

jackhammerAnd get to work.

Haggai 2:3-5  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.

CUT!  TAKE 26!

wood 2My son-in-law, Michael Greenholt, and Bob’s brother, Doug Jones, are both in “The Industry”.  Now, to me the word industry (lower case “i”) conjures up mental images of 3-M, Lilly Pharmaceuticals, or General Motors; but then, I’m from the Midwest.  Bob and I quickly learned that “The Industry” in southern California meant that which is the bread and butter for a large portion of the populous: the silver screen. 

abe-sapien
My kids’ Uncle Dougie as “Abe Sapien”. As you might imagine, this gave me some street-cred with my middle school students… (photo: Wikipedia)

It’s actually a fascinating business for an outsider-looking-in.  Mike took us into one of his work spaces and we were mightily impressed with his expertise and artistic skill as an animator.  Naturally, we have followed Doug throughout his career as a prosthetics actor, and some of his stories of being under the heavy get-ups that can take HOURS to put on are pretty hilarious!

So when we go out West to visit, we inevitably run into writers, stage people, and those who are in various strata of “The Industry”.  I still know so very little about the process, but I now have at least a small concept of part of it (and am certainly willing to stand corrected for those in-the-know…):

First, there is a story, perhaps from a book, which then is followed by the screen-writer who puts in much of the blocking and movement, which is followed by the actors who get “into character” and learn their lines, but who are then instructed by the director who tells them how he wants certain things to look, albeit it make takes several times for the players to get it just right as the director thinks it should be.  (Naturally, this doesn’t preclude some personal interpretation on the actor’s part, which leaves their own distinctive stamp on the roll—who else but Ian McKellan could play Gandalf, I mean, really?!)   At last the producer shreds much of the film onto the cutting floor and picks out only those pieces he thinks makes the movie just right, those things that will remain as the true story.

Ah, that life should be so clear cut….

And yet, to a degree that we are not fully aware of (yet), this is very similar to what God is doing in our lives. 

God, the Ultimate Author, has given me a unique story, as well as all the other players with whom I have to interact throughout my life.  God is also the Director who guides me until I get it just right, which can unfortunately mean several “takes”, (or sometimes, more than several…) This doesn’t mean He expects me to be a robotic automaton; quite the contrary, He has given me a personality with nuances that lend special “flavor” to my roll.  (In other words, He wants me to play me, not someone else!)  Finally, and this is truly amazing grace, there are parts of my life that (thankfully, gratefully) end up on the cutting floor so that the final reading in the Eternal Filmfest with that “great cloud of witnesses” will read just like He wants it.  In fact, He’s just so good at what He does, sometimes He even allows that editing to happen on this side of eternity as well—check out how Abraham’s wife, Sarah, is set down in history as a woman of faith in the book of Hebrews compared to the historical account in Genesis!  Now, that’s heavenly production at its best.

“The Lord will work out his plans for my life—

for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever…”

I’m in for as many takes…as it takes.

Psalm 138:8  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.

Some assembly required

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I’m saving for a new kitchen.  They say the first rooms of any old house that should be remodeled are the bathrooms and the kitchen; okay, now that we’re 25-years into this already old house, it’s probably time.  So I’m saving my dollars as I am hoping for a visit from the contractor in the months to come.  (Bob, honey, take note.)

This past Christmas, our oldest granddaughter received a “new kitchen” from her father’s parents.  I have rarely seen such an elaborate and beautiful play thing, and I’m thinking of writing them to request they send me one, only on a bigger adult scale!  It’s magnificent! 

The challenge is that it Continue reading “Some assembly required”

Fragrance of summer grill

wood 2Probably one of the most popular activities at church parties is volleyball; that is, volleyball in some form.  Because we all know it comes in several creative variations: mud volleyball (a personal favorite, although I’ve never had the opportunity…yet), volleyball with a big inflatable beach ball, and even the old-fashioned kind is still just so much fun on a sunny day with the fragrance of grilling happening in the background.

tug-of-war-1100-2013-10
This, only with volleyball!! (www.utdallas.edu)

 

Such was the situation one morning in our church, as we were setting up for our annual Block Party for the town.

With so many preparations whirling around, a small group of us were fixing the volleyball net, well-used as it was with its holes and tears and tangles and knots.  It can make one appreciate just how L-O-N-G a volleyball is!  There must have been some discouragement as to whether or not it was Continue reading “Fragrance of summer grill”

Just an encouragement~~

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280

Ever feel like you can never get on top of a problem? Here it is again, rearing its ugly and persistent head, and the thought comes,

“You’ll never win.”

Well, then, you’re in R-E-A-L-L-Y good company. 

Once again, God’s people were being assailed by a foreign entity, this time Assyria (you could substitute any number of names on the evil entity, like anger, depression, loneliness, whatever, they all fit quite well into the same storyline.)

This time, the enemy used a few interesting tactics worth looking at; thankfully, we get to listen in:

“Listen to this message from the great king of Assyria! This is what the king says: Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you. He will never be able to rescue you.  Don’t let him fool you into trusting in the Lord by saying, ‘The Lord will surely rescue us. This city will never fall into the hands of the Assyrian king!’

“Don’t listen to Hezekiah! These are the terms the king of Assyria is offering: Make peace with me—open the gates and come out. Then each of you can continue eating from your own grapevine and fig tree and drinking from your own well. Then I will arrange to take you to another land like this one—a land of grain and new wine, bread and vineyards.

“Don’t let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us!’ Have the gods of any other nations ever saved their people from the king of Assyria? What happened to the gods of Hamath and Arpad? And what about the gods of Sepharvaim? Did any god rescue Samaria from my power?  What god of any nation has ever been able to save its people from my power? So what makes you think that the Lord can rescue Jerusalem from me?”

Warfare always involves strategy.  Here, the enemy—

  1. Spoke in the language of the people (Satan knows just how to communicate his message to us most effectively, sometimes even using those close to us.)
  2. Offers what seems to be a better option than what God clearly wants, (a neatly disguised slant on the serpent’s original “hath God truly said?” from back in the Garden…)
  3. Comparisons (generally a slippery slope)
  4. Mixes truth with misunderstanding, misinterpretation, or outright lies.

I rather like the king’s initial response:

But the people were silent and did not utter a word because Hezekiah had commanded them, ‘Do not answer him.’”

Lots more could be/has been said about our counter-strategy, but I’ll end instead with this encouragement~~

Isaiah 36: 13-21  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.