It appears a male starling is making advances to the female, who in turn is playing hard to get. At first, I hear sweet tunes, which quickly have turned into unpleasant assertions. Then arrives male #2 and the competitors have at it, chasing each other through the branches while the female ignores them, rearranging her coiffure and powdering her beak.
There are the luxury cars that try to evoke images of ecstasy by a voluptuous female draped over the hood or a tuxedo’d movie star falling backwards (slo-mo) into a swimming pool. You want to be cool? Drive this car.
Then there are the manly truck commercials with the deep, disembodied voice talking about ratios and torque (whatever those are). You want to be studly? Drive this truck.
The ones that appeal to family make much more sense to me. The safety factor of “your-child-is-more-likely-to-survive-a-crash-in-this-car” is a brilliant advertising strategy in my book. You want to be safe? Pick this one.
I’m more of an SUV gal myself. Being 5-foot-12 makes a sport car a bit challenging, and I like the thought of having more steel around me anyway. All-wheel drive, stowing capacity and towing strength, it’s all on my check list.Continue reading “Built to serve”
You walk out to go to work and the front tire is flat. Or you’re welcoming the new pastor to your deliciously prepared Thanksgiving dinner only to remember (while on the doorstep) that he’s vegetarian.
Okay, those are actually easy ones. How about your son calls from college and his girlfriend is now pregnant with your grandchild? (And the girl is contemplating get rid of both of them?)
Introducing the Panic Button, and we all have one. Or for some of us, several. Big ones clipped onto our keychains that we carry around every day, with glow-in-the-dark coatings and red LED-lit letters that invitingly read PUSH ME NOW. Continue reading “In which Dawn learns to pray…(cont.)”
Sitting in in the cool morning air of a quiet Pacific Northwest morning, I hear a light tapping on the inside sliding glass door and turn to see our 6-month old granddaughter peering out to say good morning. That is to say, I think it’s my sleepy, blurry-eyed daughter tapping on the door hoping grandma is up for a morning snuggle session so mommy can go back for a brief morning nap.
Well, DUH. Pass the kid this way, puh-LEZE.
My daughter’s typical comment is, “Mom, I’m sorry to interrupt your quiet morning moment, but…”
Or then there are the times in the car, “Mom, I’m sorry for all the crying and screaming…”
Or, “Mom, sorry if you have to clean out the car seat, (or your jeans, or your shirt…etc.)”
Still being a bit of a novice at this grandparenting thing, I’m told that grandchildren generally chose their own monikers for their grandparents, something easy to say, at times comical and endearing little things that stick like glue: Mimi, Nana, Papoo…so I was curious what the first of this new generation was going to choose for us.
I love birds. Not like Audubons love birds, but Bob and I do own a cheap pair of field glasses and a nice Peterson’s Guide. Here in southern MO, we live in a fly-over zone, and also near a conservation area, so we’re just geeky enough to enjoy a “date” seeing how many avians we can identify. Our day is made if we are visited by a bald eagle or a close up view of a gaggle of something.
When I was a teenager, my mom used to tell me that I could use her as an excuse anytime I might find myself in a socially compromising situation. The phrase was along the lines of,
“ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Do you know how many ways my mom will annihilate me if/when she finds out? Do you have any idea how many synonyms my dad knows for reprimand? I suppose you WANT me to be grounded until graduation!!”
This prayer was penned (typed? keyboarded? whichever…) by Dan Ledwith, and I highly recommend visiting his site, Learning to be Full of Grace and Truth. And who doesn’t need more of God’s amazing grace and eternal truth? I hope this offering encourages more than a mere participatory “amen”.
God Most High,
We confess to You Father because You have revealed Yourself to us. You have shown us Your glory. You have given us a sense of Your holiness. You have opened our eyes to the light of Your Son Jesus Christ. In that light we see that in ourselves we are all dark, and there is no light in us at all. How can we confess enough? How can we repent when we are unaware of all we need to repent of?
But You promise it is by grace, we have been saved. Your love and grace and forgiveness are not conditioned upon any work that we do or don’t do. Your grace moves us to confess to the best of our ability, and covers what we do not or cannot see. How wonderful is that grace! How deep it goes! How far it travels! How joyous when it comes!
For where Your grace is there is forgiveness, freedom, life, and joy.
Where Your grace goes holiness follows, pride falls, fear fees, and love grows.
Father, we know that we are not enough, and that in Jesus we will always have enough. So we ask for faith enough to trust You in our needs. Some struggle with finances, others with loss, others with illness, others with anxiety. Give us faith that assures us that You are always with us and always working, even when we do don’t discern it.
We ask for discernment, that we may know Your will and hear Your voice.
We ask for discretion, that we may grow in humility and meekness. That we may in grace hold our tongues, be slow to anger, and loathe to judge.
We ask for direction, that we may know what You want us doing both as individuals and as a church; that we may understand our gifts and calling and place in Your kingdom so that we can be faithful servants, doing the work that You have called us to do, helping the people you have called us to help, serving where you want us to serve, praying how you want us to pray, and living how You want us to live.
Work through us Lord, that we might love, nurture, and equip one another so that we can grow to maturity in Christ.
Since my wonderful dad’s 86th birthday is fast approaching, I’m going to indulge with another account of his stint as an enlisted sailor in the USN. I grew up wearing Dad’s old white seaman pull-over (I’m sure there was an official name for it; I should ask Dad), and even had one of his sailor hats, you know, the kind that turns up on the rim. Something that I didn’t remember having, although I have since learned that it made the rounds throughout my many cousins as the years rolled by, was his dark blue, woolen Navy peacoat.
Dad recounts a time when he and his buddies were all lined up out in the cold on a pier for inspection—by a visiting admiral! (He impressed upon me that this was a pretty big deal.) They were, naturally, all wearing the navy-issued peacoats. As the big-wig perused the young men standing ram-rod straight (and probably hardly Continue reading “AT-TEEEEEENNNN-TION!!!”
I’m not sure who coined the phrase “let sleeping dogs lie”, but I think it refers to “leaving well enough alone”. Now that we have Buckley, I can see how the two thoughts relate.
There’s something very comforting about having a dog sleep peacefully at your feet. It’s also quite a high compliment. For an animal to willingly lie down and sleep I surmise there probably must be an element of trust, a trust that is earned from familiarity and relationship. And he just looks so doggone (pardon the pun) adorable! It makes me want to snuggle up next to him, bury my face in his warm neck, and stroke his soft black velvet coat. They say this practice brings down your blood pressure, you know.
Of course, then the opposite happens. Buckley wakes up, followed by him wanting something which usually involves me in an activity other than what I want to be doing at that time. Our winter morning routine is an oft repeated dance: I sit at my desk with my pot of hot tea prior to going to work, Buckley decides he wants to be outside (it is NOT an biological emergency), I have to convince him to lie down and “wait” and “be patient”. Evidently, these are not commands that he relishes any more than we humans do.
At other times, all his other physical needs being met, he just wants attention—mine. The Buck can use his nose like a soft but persistent battering ram, summarily inconvenient when I’m holding a cup of tea at my desk, since his head is just at the level of my elbow. Other times he uses his eyes; oh, those woeful, cushiony brown eyes!
The overall challenge is that Buckley is demanding, in his own endearingly sweet way, for what he perceives he really needs or wants,…now. I may have acquiesced more at first so as to build his confidence in our commitment to him, but maturity of relationship must follow as I insist that he comes to me on my terms, not his. The other way around would not be healthy, for either of us!
Consider the similarities in our relationship with our Heavenly Father:
When we are not even aware, God looks upon us with the greatest affection, admiring things about us that we are not even aware of! Buckley has no cognizance of how beautiful his coat and coloring are, or how comforting that musty fragrance of dog is to me. Likewise, we have qualities that bring our Creator enormous pleasure, and we are wise to let this realization sink deep into our hearts as we walk through a world that criticizes and accuses.
There are legitimate needs and desires that we bring to God, and are well invited to do so. Our neediness for knowing God’s affection is something He is very aware of, and early on in the relationship we may have wonderful moments or seasons of intimacy (back in the 70’s, we called it “hilltop experiences”). There might even be immediate answers to prayers to build and encourage our faith.
We should NOT in any way be discouraged, however, when or if these times progress to periods of waiting; that is, what we perceive to be delayed answers to prayer, or perhaps even more difficult, disappointing answers to prayer. There are learned saints that have written more eloquently and effectively on this subject of “where are You, God?” Suffice here to say that He is There, since that is one of His covenant names to us (i.e., Jehovah Shammah), and the time of dryness provides opportunity for greater affection—on His terms, not ours.
It is important that, regardless of what my emotions tell me (or scream at me!), my mind and my heart must stay informed by Truth. I can trust Him to redirect me in my neediness, and restore me to His peace. In essence, I come full circle to a childhood song —
Jesus loves me, this I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
They are weak, but He is strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
Yes, Jesus loves me!
The Bible tells me so.
As I write this, the black furry battering ram has been in my lap, and he has now resigned himself to my feet to wait for a more opportune moment. He trusts my affection and my care. And he recognizes that I am in charge, although he sometimes needs to be reminded. The winter storm of yesterday has passed and the sun is shining. We will head out to play…later, when it’s time.