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 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”

And the beat goes on…

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I get all kinds of requests for money, you know, you make one donation and the scent of blood is sensed for miles.  Some of the requests are causes with which I would agree, some not so much.  But even the ones I would tend to support, well, let’s face it, there’s only so much to go around.

Which really isn’t the point.  The real issue is the fact that it’s not “my” money anyway.  Sure, it’s in my name, my account with my beneficiaries and all that.  It goes to pay my bills, my taxes, and my retirement (such as it is).  It puts food on my table and gas in my car.  It’s not that I haven’t worked hard for it all; sure I have.  And yes, some of that hard work has taken a toll I’d care not to admit, but there it is. 

Still, the truth is, it’s not mine.

Not any more.  Because I actually belong to a larger government than any on this planet—the kingdom of God, (which is, I might add, far more just than the IRS…just saying.)

Yes, it’s easy to get to a point in life Continue reading “And the beat goes on…”

Ain’t nuthin’ like the real thing, baby…

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I am not an artist, which perhaps makes me appreciate those who are, like my bloggish buddy at A Time To Share and her husband.  Our baby girl is an artist, as is one of our sons-in-law, and all three of my siblings and our dad.  Even Bob has taken up the pen and pencil! 

But me?  Nope.  I must have been like a flat rock that went skipping over that part of the gene pool.  I can sort of draw a tree…

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Tree. By dawnlizjones All rights reserved, no part of this artwork can be reproduced, blah, blah, blah…but why would you want to???

Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate art…well, some of it.  Admittedly, I’m more a Rembrandt to Rockwell fan than, say, Pablo P.  I’m a bit of a realist in that sense.  I’m a nurse, and I like body parts to be where they are supposed to be.  Is that so wrong?

But then, I would also make a lousy existentialist; I’ve been ruined by day-to-day living and breathing and working to give too much heed to alternate universes, virtual or otherwise.  In my profession, what I do either causes my Continue reading “Ain’t nuthin’ like the real thing, baby…”

Hoosier yer folks?

IMG_20150103_172451138When I was “back home again in Indiana”, (and, if you’re a native Hoosier, you’re probably familiar with that song, even though no one seems to know where “Hoosier” itself comes from)…anyway, when I was back home again in Indiana just last weekend to see the folks, I was helping them consolidate to move into their new apartment. 

Both of them are your typical Builder-Gen—responsible, frugal, forward-thinking, hard-working.  Nothing is to be assumed, (Dad taught me how to spell “assume”—it makes an “ass out of u and me”), and nothing is to be taken for granted.  Gratitude is a chosen attitude, and God’s will and wisdom are superior to mine. 

Yes, I know not to put my folks a pedestal, and I don’t.  But let’s be real; not everyone has had parents like mine.

So while I’m helping Dad recuperate from a knee problem across the street in a separate facility, Mom and my sis (who is local—thank God!) are sorting, organizing, and packing and sweating, with Dad and I out of the way. 

Mom did request, bless her heart, that my brother and I go through Dad’s old financial records (V-E-R-Y old) before she takes them to the shredder, not because Continue reading “Hoosier yer folks?”

Seatbelts, check.

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Our youngest was only school age when she sat on her father’s lap in the driver’s seat of the car in the (empty) school parking lot while he let her “drive” for a few minutes.  Her feet couldn’t even reach the pedals, but as she clutched the steering wheel, she confidently said, “I got it, Dad!”

Typical.  Not just of her, but of humanity in general, right?  Now, Bob and I hope that we have been reasonably responsible parents, and as such had our three children take drivers’ ed while in high school as well as teaching them our own white-knuckled version just like our sweet parents did for us back in the day.  There was Continue reading “Seatbelts, check.”

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.

Let’s call on “Pain & Distress” this time

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I wear a ring I bought back in high school (1970’s, just to be clear) that bears the ichthus (fish) symbol of the first century Christians.  One time, someone pointed out my ring and asked if I were a Pisces. 

Sigh.

Obviously, I’m not an astrological kind of person.  As a citizen of Jesus’ kingdom, I certainly don’t believe that being born under any kind of sign or pronouncement necessitates my destiny. 

So I like really like this little piece about a Continue reading “Let’s call on “Pain & Distress” this time”

Cramped quarters

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280The story of the Old Testament prophet, Jonah, is an intriguing one, and is not without a mild undercurrent of a Providential sense of humor.  Not to poke fun at Jonah’s dire straits, but he did, after all, open himself wide to at least some form of discipline.  Interestingly, as the story unfolds, Jonah never denies that he worships the God of the Hebrew people; he just persistently argues with Him, at least concerning God’s intended task for His wayward prophet.  I have to wonder what brought the man to this extreme—maybe someone from Nineveh had harmed his family somehow, causing a hatred so intense that it created a prejudice toward the whole town (along the lines of the comment about Jesus: “can anything good come out of Nazareth”.)  Maybe Jonah considered God to be unjust in His patient treatment of anyone “not Jewish”. 

Or maybe he was just having a bad day…?

Regardless, a massive storm blows up to buffet the ship carrying Continue reading “Cramped quarters”

Beware of fly-by’s

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280One thing that can’t be disputed about relationship with God in the Old Testament times—it was messy.  A lot of blood was involved: bulls, goats, pigeons,…prophets.

In one of the most historically and spiritually significant Old Testament sacrifices, Abram (not yet having his name changed to Abraham) slices in half several specimens of the animal kingdom in preparation for a special covenant with this Most High God whom very few people are even aware of any more, much less worship.  This is going to be unlike any other offering Abram has participated in, and I suspect Continue reading “Beware of fly-by’s”