“Combining” us together (excuse me, couldn’t help it…)

This is a combine:

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This is a header:

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Actually, that’s only one kind of header; different headers are needed for different jobs.  It’s a far cry from the old back-breaking scythe of past centuries.  Not that modern farming is a walk in the park, since I’m talking about the folks that put in 14-16 hour days to put bread on our tables. 

My friend (who farms) told me recently of a little 2-year-old boy whose mom (another farming family) picked up a toy combine at a garage sale.  Obviously, it was used, and was missing the header, but the boy was so young, mom didn’t think this would be a problem.  Kids that age have great imaginations anyway, right?

Until she gave it to her son, and he remarked, “Where’s the header?  How do you expect me to get any work done without the header?!?”

In my defense, I’m from the ‘burbs, and my milk and bread came from the grocery store.  So evidently, a combine is not as effective (like, at all?) without its header.  Missing pieces in farming equipment mean no more bread on my table, and imaginary bread doesn’t fill the stomach very well.

All this brings to my mind what the Apostle Paul talks about when he compares the Body of Christ to an actual human body.  It’s that crucial idea that we need each other to be fully productive.  If the hand says to the foot “I don’t need you”, then the hand probably isn’t going anywhere!  Finally, Paul makes this simple but essential conclusion:

“All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”

That word, together, is highlighted in my brain.  Even if I’m just a little screw that helps hold the header in place, when I take my part away, (perhaps due to offense, neglect of my health, complacency, whatever), the harvest is at risk.  Of course, this also applies to those around me, the one in the next pew whose part seems dirty and squeaky and maybe even a little rusty.  I need—no, I am accountable, to allow the Lord of the Harvest to put my piece in place with all the other pieces.

So we can get some actual work done, without just pretending.  Even a two-year-old could tell the difference.

1 Corinthians 12:27  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.

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”

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”

Things that don’t make sense…

wood 2Things that don’t make sense:

  1. Why flight attendants give instructions on how to use the inflatable life jacket on a flight from Kansas City to to Los Angeles. It seems these items would be much benefit flying over Kansas wheat fields or the Rockies. Granted, my geography isn’t so good, but maybe they know something I don’t?  (Corollary: why don’t we get parachutes instead?)
  2. Why “flammable” and “inflammable” mean the same thing. (As if the English language isn’t confusing enough, even for those of us who grew up with it.)
  3. Why a black hat stands for the bad guy and a white hat stands Continue reading “Things that don’t make sense…”

“Can you hear me now?”

IMG_20150103_172451138Several years ago we finally went the way of modern innovation by disconnecting our land line in preference to our cell phones.  That was a big step when you consider my children themselves actually bought us an answering machine for the old phone prior to that since they “could never get a hold of” us.  Of course, Bob’s cell is of little use since he leaves it lying on the dresser in the front room…all the time.

Yes, technology comes slowly to my home.

telephone-167068_1280The challenge I have with cells phones is the inconsistency.  Depending on “the service area” and “the carrier”, calls get dropped, or can be really hard to hear.  Our eldest daughter used to live in a part of L.A. notorious for bad cell reception.  During one wild fire season, (akin to our Midwestern tornado season I am told), I received something like this:

“Hi Mom….(crzhrhhhrzzz)….fires close…(zxsssssgrrrrccrr)….heard on news, ok for now….(chrrrrrsszzarckkkkk)…..

Naturally, when something important like that is coming through, one tends to strain a little more to get the message.  I think that’s also an old teacher trick to quiet down some unruly kids; i.e., start talking more softly, and curiosity gets the best of them if nothing else.  With all the newer brain studies and neuro-imagining (talk about technology!), I’d love to see what the brain looks like when it’s really focused on something.

I figure God knew something about this magnificent piece of organic technology we call the brain (since He created it) when Jesus said this:

“To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”

Interestingly, He’s not just talking about more knowledge, but more understanding.  That is, application, and how it all fits together in the context of the larger picture.  A.K.A., wisdom.  The challenge,…no, the danger comes when I don’t discipline myself to listen, even strain if you will, because we all know in our work-a-day world of noise both external and internal, real listening is a lost art. 

To only hear the first part of that phone call from California might have set off a small panic, but focused attention to get the FULL message, even though some of the words were muffled, gave me what I needed to know.  The rest was verifiable later in a follow up phone call.

God is speaking, albeit sometimes in a “still, small voice”, that strategic teacher voice.  It’s just a matter of if I’m in a place of adequate reception.

Matthew 13:12  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.

Pass the duct tape

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Boy, how I wish I had purchased stock in duct tape!  Not only do they now have this universally revered product in a seemingly infinite array of colors and patterns, but have you seen the bandaids with the same kind of fiber embedded in them?  They’re the BEST!  (And, as a school nurse, I am, after all, a connoisseur of fine bandaids.) Do they even use it for ducts anymore?  I wonder if they took a roll of it into space during the ill-fated Apollo 13 mission; I seem to remember Tom Hanks and his crew using it…

I have discovered, however, a weakness in our beloved Continue reading “Pass the duct tape”

One Size Fits All

wood 2I don’t fit. Or maybe it’s that things don’t fit me.  I’m a five-foot-twelve-inch (think about it) woman in a 5’6” woman’s world.  As I’ve mentioned before, I’m somewhat more comfortable talking with other woman sitting down together rather than standing in a group, since the latter arrangement has the conversation hovering several inches below my ears, and I find myself slumping a bit.

Shopping is a quite the challenge.  Once I walked into a retail store at the mall and asked if they had jeans with a 35” inseam, but the incredulous expression on the saleswoman’s face said it all.  Even the J.C.Penny’s Continue reading “One Size Fits All”

Is your religion a rabbit’s foot?

wood 2The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City, Missouri, is a truly beautiful place, inside and out.  I love the antiquities area, as you can walk through ancient Egypt and gawk at the real-live (pardon the pun) mummy.  I especially appreciate the artwork from the days of the early church.  In one glassed-in case resides a “reliquary”, a silver ornate depository of some sainted person’s finger bone, or so they say.  Who “they” are, I’m not sure.  Evidently, there was supposedly something special about the bones of any saint so-and-so, and to have one was quite a boon back in the day, a bit higher on the scale than, say, a rabbit’s foot.

Mark Twain makes a point in one of his books that, in Continue reading “Is your religion a rabbit’s foot?”

Here, There, Everywhere

IMG_20150103_172451138Still 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.

Our oldest daughter, however, took that into her own hands, and has done a fabulous job preparing her little one to know us as (are you ready for this one?) Continue reading “Here, There, Everywhere”

The capstone of nine months

IMG_20150103_172451138As I begin this post, our youngest daughter is in the birthing process with their first child.  She called last night around 1:30AM (their time) to say that the dam had broken, but were home from the hospital with the injunction to “try and get some sleep”.

Yeah, right.  A separate human being is trying to push her way into the world through your body, and you’re supposed to “get some sleep”. 

Last report is that the contractions are getting more regular.  Of course, their bags are packed, and my son-in-law has been the one “nesting” by changing all the lights in their small apartment so that they can be turned on and off by a phone app, by rotating the tires on the car, etc…we love him.

And yet, even though he will experience everything he can as our own baby girl goes through this process, no one can really Continue reading “The capstone of nine months”