That’s what doorbells are for.

IMG_20150103_172451138Best dating story: Bob and I were coming home from an evening out.  As I was still in college, I lived with my parents in the summer, and my dad, as a stickler for protecting his family, always had the door locked if I got home late enough and they had gone to bed.  Naturally, I also always had a key to get in when my soon-to-be finance would deposit me at the front step.

The key, however, only fit the main entrance, not the outer screen door…

What happened next was almost something out of Ferris Beuller’s Day Off.  Bob, being the practical science-guy he is, couldn’t understand why I didn’t just ring the door bell, (which, to this day, seems like the most sagacious option), but in deference to my objections, he pulled his little Pinto (remember those?) around to the driveway and helped me go from the big wooden storage box, to the top of his car, and onto the garage roof which led to my own second story window.  Thankfully, I had left the window open, but DRAT!  There was that locked screen window (what is it with screens??) that I had to poke my fingers through to raise, hoping that the family dog wasn’t currently my room ready to sound the intruder alarm.

Having successfully deposited his future bride safely, albeit not conveniently, within her home, Bob took off and I went to bed, thinking I would relate the incident to my folks…someday.  Until I got up that morning and they asked me how I had gotten in last night, as Dad noticed he had locked the screen door, and Mom was wondering what my shoes were doing in the garage.

At what point in a young person’s life does she realize that her parents are not stupid?

Now, Dad is a fixer; property is something that must be improved and/or maintained, so my screen window didn’t stay impaled for long, allowing for mosquitoes, bees, and other pests equal access to my room, (geewhiz, hadn’t thought of that one).  And thankfully, I didn’t dent Bob’s car, pull off the guttering or slip and break my neck scampering up the shingles.  In retrospect (sigh) I should have just rung the doorbell!

Which is kinda the point the writer of Hebrews is making when he says:

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”

I wonder how much wasted time, energy, and (gulp!) destruction I have caused by not first coming boldly to my Father’s presence.  What fears have stolen my peace, what anxieties have poked holes in my power, and what kind of hellacious peril I have put myself (and others) in due to my lack of faith in God’s most holy acceptance of me because of His Son!

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And he STILL takes me on dates: roses and camo. What more could a girl want??

After all, I’m one of the family.  If I’m feeling locked out, I just have to ring the bell.

Hebrews 4:16  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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God’s alternate reality and the eyes of a grandchild

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Our youngest daughter and family live in Norway.  I’ve never been to Norway, never particularly had it on my list of places to visit until, of course, we found out that their first baby was going to be born. 

Bob and I have found that grandchildren have a certain unequaled pull.

They have sent us beautiful photos of Scandinavian countryside—what a marvelous place on the globe with their fjords and waterfalls, and not a little snow.  Naturally, none of that can hold a candle to the little bundle and her parents that will outshine it all.  And as much as I love pictures and video chats, it’s never the same as being there for myself, as with our first grandchild, when we could caress that little one ourselves and gaze into her occasionally waking and alert eyes. 

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So I kinda “get” what the writer of this psalm is thinking when he penned this:

Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem.
    Walk around and count the many towers.
Take note of the fortified walls,
    and tour all the citadels,
that you may describe them
    to future generations.

For that is what God is like…

I don’t think this is merely talking about taking a trip to the Holy Land, as cool as that would be with all the ancient ruins and history and such.  This is an invitation to the world to come see God’s reality, and it is to be reflected in the church.  Not the church building, for that is as impermanent as those now ancient ruins of Jerusalem were about to become in the day this psalm was written.  Instead, we are to “take note” for ourselves the Universe of God, not just the visible one He created, but the eternal one.

And it seems that the only effective way to take note of it is to go there, personally, experiencing the relationship with God and seeing/experiencing the church as He means for it to be.  (Read: not as it is frequently portrayed by His children still under construction.)  Which is a challenge for all who claim to discount Christ because of His people’s imperfections.  No, each individual is called to come and “tour all the citadels” for themselves.  It takes time and effort and not a little reallocation of resources…

…but after the long plane ride, there is Someone even more beautiful than a grandchild waiting to gaze into your eyes.

Psalm 48:12-14  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.

With Love to Sammy, 63 Years

quillMy good blogger buddy, Oneta Hayes at Sweet Aroma, provides me with a perspective I appreciate on several fronts.  Here is just one of them, albeit a BIG one.  The idea of covenant in marriage is not one that is fairly understood, much less practiced, in our so-called modern society.  The idea of sticking with someone through thick and thin (of which I believe they’ve had both) may seem a bit old-fashioned, however…

Here is Oneta’s tribute to such an “old-fashioned” idea.  Hat’s off to you, my friend!!  And God bless you both!

WITH LOVE TO SAMMY, 63 YEARS

Home, fortunate to be my pleasant place;

my hubby and I talk face to face.

Home, all my belongings there I stash;

got a lot of stuff, just not cash.

 

Home, cars can park on my one acre lawn;

afternoon naps when I yawn.

Home, food and drink and company too,

if you were near, we’d invite you.

 

Home, a place to have the family meet,

games and songs and plenty to eat.

Home, sixty-three years since we were wed,

tied the knot with unbreakable thread.

Cucumbers–more than salad.

cukes 2I’m watching with interest as my cucumber plant is flourishing, winding up the metal fencing and sending out little shoots to hold it up.  I’m amazed at the engineering and forethought of this design—some plants need a full support “cage” (like tomatoes), but this little guy has its own tentacles that reach out, find, and attach the vine to the fence, literally pulling whole plant up into the sunlight.  These also serve to anchor and support the plant when the heavy cucumbers mature. 

Brilliant!

Why can’t I be that smart?

God has created us to be in family, in Continue reading “Cucumbers–more than salad.”

The two-year-old immersion experience

wood 2No, as the title might suggest, I haven’t been gone in some foreign country for two years.

At this writing, Bob and I just returned home from a week-long extended family vacation in Maine where we all stayed in a huge old house (older than my own, fancy that, and in many ways, reminiscent of…)  The week prior we were superlatively blessed to have our two-year-old granddaughter and her mommy (our eldest) with us before the four of us flew out to join our son-in-law and the rest of the crew. 

Here’s what greeted me upon returning home from the airport this morning at 1:30AM…

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Some of the aftermath…
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A poignantly empty booster seat…

It’s been about 30 years since I’ve had a toddler.  I believe that one really doesn’t appreciate parents adequately until you have children of your own.  Now, I’m thinking the same about the grandparenting experience, so here goes.

Open letter to my mom (now a great-grandparent several times over!):

Dear Mom,

Whenever we came to visit those, oh-so-many times, did you ever find yourself—

—cutting fresh peaches into small pieces for your own cereal?

—arguing with the Pack-n-Play about fitting back into the carrying case? (oh wait, you didn’t HAVE the convenience of Pack-n-Plays back then…!)

—Cleaning the oatmeal (or worse, as I remember…) from your Sunday outfit before church?

—locating a forgotten bag of (used) diapers upstairs after the house had been closed up for a week?

And did you start noticing how many horribly dangerous plastic bags there are in the world??  Sheesh, they’re EVERYWHERE!

Did you ever wonder if there is a heavenly equivalent to rocking your granddaughter to sleep on a patio with cool breezes gently blowing? (Or maybe that’s just a little piece of heaven that God allows for us to have down here.) 

Hey, Mom, I continue to appreciate why you loved Erma Bombeck so much, with pearls of wisdom like,

“When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and he says he’s doing nothing but the dog is barking, call 911”, and,

“Onion rings in the car cushions do not improve with time.” 

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Sound asleep in the carseat that takes an engineering degree to figure out how to use.

I remember your wisdom as to why the knees always wore out in my long trousers, and now, thirty years later, how my knees just feel, well, worn out.

But one thing I know never wore out was, and continues to be, your prayers for us, a gift far too precious for adequate expressions of gratitude!

Mom, it’s not technically Mothers’ Day, but we would have no days at all without you.  Thank you for teaching me to be a mother, and now teaching me how to be a grandmother. 

I think it’s time to start ordering my own library of Bombeck classics.  In fact, it’s on my “to-do” list for today, along with laundry, and picking up the dog from the vet, and cleaning the car…

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Bob is smitten.

(nah, just wait until the fragrance makes itself known a little more, right?)

Much love, Dawn

 

 

 

 

 

Quoted from http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/e/erma_bombeck.html

Priority Pause

IMG_20150103_172451138My great-grandmother, with whom I was privileged to grow up as just another part of the extended family, traveled in the Midwest via covered wagon as a younger woman, and lived to visit relatives in Florida…by airplane. She made the best homemade chicken and noodles, lived by herself well into her 90’s, and the house I remember as a child had one of those r-e-a-l-l-y steep stairwells with the door that closed behind it, which was only mildly creepy for a kid daring to ascend and explore all the old things “up there”.  Like the Singer sewing machine with this weird foot-peddle thing.  She also had a cabin; I don’t remember where, but I do remember pumping the water outside, and flushing the toilet by pouring a bucket of said water into the bowl.

Interesting experience for a little girl from the ‘burbs.

There are stories about how she nursed great-grandpa off morphine and/or whiskey after the war (which war, I’m not sure), about how her grandkids Continue reading “Priority Pause”

God Loves Dogs–lessons learned from man’s best friend

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Bath time…..probably could have had a few non-publishable comments on that one.

Just to make it clear from the start, we are a dog family.  My business-minded daughter, Robin, set me up with an Esty site to sell some things I had made out of yarn, and suffice it to say that, although the page advertised the items being from a “smoke-free” home, we definitely could NOT say that our home is a pet-free zone.

At this post, we are on our fourth, not to mention a few visitors that have come and gone.  My husband bonds excessively with his canine compadres, so after #3 expired, it took me a whole year and a half to convince him that it was time for another.  Such is the emotional connection we allow ourselves to get into with our pets, and as difficult as good-byes can be, those “live in the moment” times (something are dogs try to teach us, I suppose) are well worth it.

In fact, there are many good lessons our dogs can teach us.  By the way, I might as well confess in this first endeavor that our dogs talk to us.  Yes, I suppose that’s what I would call it.  It’s not unusual for someone to talk to their dog, being such good listeners and all.  Our dogs, however, have a propensity for verbal response, and many times somewhat uncouth ones at that. I have, as yet, been unable to train them to behave themselves in their choices of conversational topics, particularly with company present, and have resigned myself to thier unfeigned social inappropriateness.

Despite that, and at times because of it, dogs have added emmensely to my family’s collective personality as, if you choose to continue in this “category”, you will soon share…

dawnlizjones

From my side of the fence to yours…

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First, let me just say that…

…my father-in-law is a Master Gardener and I have turned to him more than once for advice and assistance.  George does things correctly…the first time.  He has patience and experience; he is a builder of things.  He designed a special birdfeeder for my garden, and not only explained, but also got his hands dirty helping me “re-do” some potted plants that desperately needed to be, well….re-done.  In spite of my obvious inexperience, there was no chiding, only gentle and joyful condescension like a father to a child.

Our lives, our relationships, our families, and our own hearts are so much the same as my innocent garden with all its mess in the midst of beauty.  Who saw the divorce coming?  How could anyone have prepared for the accident?  Lost the house, what now?  Why does life have to be so hard?!

Master Gardener or invested amateur, navigating through life’s gardens takes more than the basics, even more than the best planning.  We, all of us, none excluded, need help, and usually more than a little.  We need the original Master Gardener Himself to walk through the garden of our lives, tending the soil, rearranging the environment, mulching, weeding and nurturing us.  And along the way, He makes us flexible, creative, patient, and attentive to what He supplies for our needs.

This is my offering.  A few seeds and grains of dirt from my life’s garden to yours.  I hope it helps good things to grow on your side of the fence!

—-dawnlizjones