Investments, and other secrets

wood 2I’m not a financier.  I generally pray before I attempt to balance my checkbook.  Bob isn’t much of a high-tier money guy either, except that D-E-B-T is probably the foulest 4-letter word in his vocabulary, (and growing up an athlete, he knows a few.)

It was an amazing act of Providential grace and Sovereign foresight that all three of our girls got through with their college bachelor degrees without school debt.  Sure, we worked and saved, and they worked and saved, but there were some other pretty amazing things that happened.  It is also a testimony to the hand of God that we paid off our house, (such as it is…), around the time of the housing fiasco/market recession of 07/08.  How did that happen?  Continue reading “Investments, and other secrets”

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You mean I can relax?

IMG_20150103_172451138Sitting on the deck in the cool morning air of a quiet Pacific Northwest morning, I hear a light tapping on the inside window and turn to see our youngest and her 6-month old peering out to say good morning.  That is to say, the 6-month old wanted to say good morning; mommy wanted a hand off and go back to bed for an hour or so.

Of course, for a first-time mother, it’s still kind of new, this hand off thing, even if it’s to her own mother who raised three children.  Immediately after the pass, mommy was still admonishing me to let her know right away if Sweet One starts crying because she might need to be fed, and oh, she might have pooped and need a diaper change, and….

Honey, go to bed.  Right now.  I’ve got this. 

 So while I was enjoying that grandmother thing, it occurs to me that this is exactly what my Father is telling me.  Continue reading “You mean I can relax?”

The clarity of a foggy morning

wood 2An early morning in June along the Pacific coast in Oregon is a little different than mid-summer in good ‘ole land locked Missouri.  By now, the heat is already stifling and the humidity is beading the on the brow back home, even if I’m in the shade.  Here up north on a family vacation, sitting out on the porch, I’m wearing sweats, sweat shirt, Bob’s hat, wrapped in blanket and drinking hot tea.

Does this place actually exist, or am I just dreaming?

They do have humidity, however.  It’s in the form of fog, and lots of it.  It hangs heavily over the mountains in the distance, and even the near pines are hiding on this particular morning. At least intermittently.  I mean, they kind of come and go.  Continue reading “The clarity of a foggy morning”

You’re going out like THAT?!

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I’ve used this picture before, but it’s just too darn good to not use again.  This is my husband Bob and our middle daughter on our visit to Woodstock, the (in)famous place of musical rowdiness back in the 60’s.  Bob and I married in the late 70’s, imposingbobandrobin2 brown tuxes with peach ruffle-collared shirts on the groomsmen.  My wedding dress looked like a formal Little Miss Bo Peep.  So clearly I’m not a fashionista, but after a few years of marriage, even I took the liberty to eradicate a few items from Bob’s pre-marriage wardrobe: the mauve colored polyester slacks with the brown elevator shoes with white marshmallow soles, and the slick acetate shirt…he said he was trying on a new image during that phase.

What exactly that image was is probably best left to the imagination.

For you young ‘uns, feast your eyes on Continue reading “You’re going out like THAT?!”

Preserving more than berries

garden lastMy first attempts at gardening several years ago were pretty funny.  The bunnies, as much as I love them, kept helping themselves to my tender tomato plants.  I’d come out to check my little lovelies, and DRAT!  There went another one!  So I started to concoct various creative boundaries and kept replanting.  I even tried that trick of putting a garden hose around the area so the furry thumpers would think there was a snake lurking about.

It was less than effective, except to amuse Bob, who christened the area my DMZ. 

My friend, Louise, has a garden.  I mean, a real garden.  My garden is more of an adult re-living her childhood of playing in the dirt.  Louise and her husband—they actually know what they’re doing.

When they moved in a few years ago, there was no Continue reading “Preserving more than berries”

Excuse #5: I’m an expert at being a novice; Excuse #6: ….

See my garden?  Ain’t it pretty?  gardenmess

(NOT!)  Obviously, there was some needed work that didn’t happen prior to winter.  No problem, though.  The compost pile is doing its thing, and my tools (and back muscles) are getting ready to do theirs in the coming spring season.  As even an inexperienced gardener like me can surmise, the ground needs some serious work unless I want to cultivate weeds. 

weedsActually, I’m not even sure that these are…

No matter; they gotta go, and I have the gear to get it done.  My expert-gardener sister-in-law even bought me a kneeling pad to protect my knees, bless her little heart!  (I also invested in some volleyball knee pads from the garage sale next door—R-E-A-L-L-Y helps, especially on rocky soil.)

 So, why haven’t I accomplished this yet?

 Excuse #1: I have a full time job. 

Excuse #2: I have volunteer activities. 

Excuse #3: I’m a homemaker (ie, I cook real food, do the laundry, etc.)

Excuse #4: I also have other interests, (like blogging, for instance!) 

 I know, I know, I’m beginning to sound like this~~ 

But that’s not what God sounds like when He says this:

“For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: Break up your ground left uncultivated for a season, so that you may not sow among thorns.”

And then again…

“…Break up your uncultivated ground, for it is time to seek the Lord, to inquire for and of Him, and to require His favor, till He comes and teaches you righteousness and rains His righteous gift of salvation upon you.”

Same thought from two different prophets; I’m thinking God is trying to get a point across to His people.  Which, of course, applies to me, since I’m now one of “His people”.  It’s just so easy to allow issues and situations to remain buried in our hearts and souls, supposedly hidden, sometimes even hidden from our own internal vision. 

I can see this being (yet another) reason why we need each other—bumping up against others in life has a way of revealing myself…to myself.  Then there’s quantity time alone with God on my own, learning His mind on things, my things.  It can sometimes be an uncomfortable process, breaking up clods of offense and wrong thinking and pride, but to put it off is eternally unproductive.

So, when the Lord comes to pick some fruit, what will be your excuse? 

Jeremiah 4:3; Hosea 10:12 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)  Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation

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Away in a bathtub…er, manger

IMG_20150103_172451138At this writing, our second granddaughter is celebrating her first Christmas, having been born only a few days ago.  This was an interesting birth.  Granted, all my girls were born 30+ years ago, but to make things even more interesting, this wonderful event took place in Scandinavia, and things are a little different there—our little jewel was birthed underwater in a special bathtub, after which the new family was taken to a special area in the adjoining hotel for three days while they adjust and learn and ask questions and are generally pampered, rested, and supported until released home.   

Finally, someone is making some sense!

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Not sure what Dopey’s part was in this reenactment….

Which is a far cry from the little Lego manger scene that I’m looking at right now (belonging to our first granddaughter, whose home we are in for Christmas!)  In fact, right now everyone is still asleep, the packages are just itching to be unwrapped, and I have enjoyed a few quiet moments reading Luke chapter 2. 

Now, if Scandinavia could provide such a nice environment for our sweet new bundle, why couldn’t God provide something a little more upscale than a dirty feeding trough in a stinky stable for His own Son??  On the surface, one could think…well, one could think many things, I suppose.  And do, but mistakenly.  

No matter how much we learn about conception, pregnancy and birth, even I have too much of an artistic soul to arrogantly think we can ever fully grasp the sublimity of it all, nor can anyone within a paradigm of a closed universe grasp the Grand Design.  For crying out loud, those of us who ascribe to a divinely open universe can’t see it all either! 

Which makes me think that this temporal life is likewise akin to a pregnancy as we are being formed and ready to be birthed into Eternity.  A whole bunch of things take place inside the womb preparing a child for their first appearance.  Isn’t the same happening to me, and those whom I so dearly love?  Who am I to question or doubt God’s unique plan and mysterious process He is using to bring about their preparation for the heavenly birthing process?

“Just as you cannot understand…the mystery of a tiny baby growing in its mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the activity of God, who does all things.”

And He does all things well

Ecclesiastes 10:8,9; 11:5  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.

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”

No Tide Pens back then

IMG_20150103_172451138My biological mother was a fabulous 1960’s stay-at-home suburban homemaker.  (My beautiful stepmother was also, I just hadn’t met her yet!)  Now, granted, Mom didn’t waltz around in a dress, heels, and pearls like the old black and white reruns.  But she could clean and cook with the best of them.

And, wow could she sew!  She made play clothes for me, and she even made beautiful formal gowns for herself. 

IMG_20160227_094854094Now play clothes were different than church clothes or school clothes back then.  Play clothes were to do things you expect to get dirty in, like climbing trees.  And your school clothes might even get a bit scuffed up.  But church clothes, if you were fortunate enough to have them, were a bit more top shelf.  Those you kept clean, generally speaking.

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Definitely play clothes for the sandbox Dad made for us.

So this cracks me up when I read what God was preparing for the newly-delivered slaves from Egypt:

“Make sacred garments for Aaron that are glorious and beautiful.”

If you remember, Aaron was Moses’ brother, and God had appointed him to be the first installment of the high priesthood of God’s nation, Israel.  This was a pretty big deal, as we can see by the expansively immaculate and expensively decorative apparel that was being prepared for the office.  It included:

  • Fine linen cloth embroidered with gold, purple, blue and scarlet thread complemented by a matching sash,
  • Braided cords of pure gold attached at the shoulder
  • Multiple engraved gems and stones like onyx, emerald, moonstone, turquoise and amethyst, (to name a few) set in gold filigree,
  • A hem of gold bells and colored yarn made into pomegranates
  • A turban sporting an engraved gold medallion.

No offense to my mom, but this was a bit more upscale than what her old Kenmore could crank out.

Now here’s the kicker.  At the dedication of this priesthood:

“Then take some of the blood from the altar and some of the anointing oil, and sprinkle it on Aaron and his sons and on their garments. In this way, they and their garments will be set apart as holy.”

Are you kidding?!  Can you imagine what the “skilled craftsmen (and women)” were thinking when Moses doused their beautiful work with oil and blood?  (And you men, do you have any idea what it’s like trying to get oil and blood out of clothing??)

I just love this.  It’s telling me that whatever I bring to God, my most beautiful craftsmanship (career, music, blogging?), my most precious possession (husband, children, reputation?), must first be covered by the blood (redemption) of Jesus to be fully serviceable, and drenched in the oil (power) of the Holy Spirit to be effective in that service.  Who am I to think otherwise?

So heed a little warning—think before you commit to Christ what you consider your most prized “possession”, because it’s going to get stained. 

For eternity.

 

Exodus 28:2; 29:21  Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

What were you thinking…?!?

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If Jonah was a prophet, then he must have been a very discouraged and disillusioned one.  You know how it goes.  Serve, serve, pray, pray, but nothing seems to change, except maybe to get worse. You’re misunderstood, misrepresented, laughed at (at best), ignored, shunned, or shut away.  Serving the Lord God Almighty was not a particularly easy, stress-free job.  It had few Continue reading “What were you thinking…?!?”