What’s in YOUR cupboard?

wood 2We had some funnies while visiting our youngest daughter and her family in Norway this Spring when we were talking about some of her new Swedish family’s idioms that she is learning.  Translating them into English can be more than mildly hilarious!  I took the liberty (a fun waste of time, actually) to look up a few from other cultures as well.  For example:

“Stop hanging spaghetti on them ears” is a Russian expression asking somebody to stop lying.

“I think my pig whistles” is a German exclamation of surprise.

And my daughter sends me this one with love from Sweden:

“Now you’ve gone and [defecated] in the blue cupboard”.  (I think that one needs no explanation, although I don’t know what the color of the cupboard has to do with anything…)

Of course, we have our own.  I personally like the one about not putting the cart before the horse: 

cart-1445429_1920

Which probably made more sense to my grandparents than to the middle-schoolers I serve now in the 21st century who rarely even see a horse, much less a horse-drawn cart.  Nonetheless, the wisdom remains, and, unfortunately, so does the human tendency to ignore it.

This makes me appreciate the very orderly and systematic way that God establishes for His people to serve Him~~

 “In this way, you will set the Levites apart from the rest of the people of Israel, and the Levites will belong to me.”

See, first, there were sacrifices, blood and guts and a total mess that needed to happen.  It wasn’t pretty and it wasn’t cheap, but God said it was necessary to cleanse, consecrate (that’s a really good word study, BTW), and prepare his priests for the next step, which was~~

“After this, they may go into the Tabernacle to do their work, because you have purified them and presented them as a special offering.”

Now the priest could get to the real work of why they were made priest to begin with!  First the purification, THEN the service.

Hmm.  So why do we think we have to clean up our act before we come to God??  Why do we think we can work our way into God’s favor?  Clearly, we simply can’t clean up our own act; they couldn’t even do that in the Old Testament!  (That’s why they had to keep killing off all those poor cattle.) And Jesus came into our very messy world to die on a very excruciating cross to provide us with this purity of Relationship with God—FIRST.

In fact, that’s the horse part.  That redeemed Relationship is what provides the “horse-power” for every other service, every other sacrifice, and every other thing that goes into the cart that follows—BEHIND.   

The interesting part of this Relationship is that purity doesn’t mean perfection, it means process.  Because the horse never comes by itself; no, it always comes with a cart.  Always.  In other words, there are no perfect Christians, only serving ones who are in process of becoming perfected in the service of their King.

Which means He’s not intimidated by what might be in your blue cupboard…or mine.

Numbers 8:14,15  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.

Adam vs. Zeus

wood 2Everyone’s a movie critic, and I’m no exception.  I have two beloved family members in “The Industry”, and when I’m around them I try to be a least a little discreet in my comments so I don’t look like a total dweeb.  Or not.

(Then there’s our own bloggin’ bro, Mitch Teemley!  Go check out his site, and watch for his wonderfully reviewed upcoming movie next year!!  GO, MITCH!!) 

boy-2029807_1280Anyway, my movie prowess is not, how would you say, sophisticated.  I cried at Bambie and Jungle Book…in college…even though I had seen them before and knew the story line.  I’m okay with reversal of fortune, but still need that contrived, oh-there-you-are-again-how-did-that-happen Hallmark thing.  And above all I have to have a happily-ever-after ending.  I mean, I might even allow the glass slipper to have a few smudges and scratches and cracks, but it still basically fits her foot as they dance their way into the castle, roll credits. Continue reading “Adam vs. Zeus”

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?”

Pass the kid

gracievaca4
Bob is smitten.

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.)”

Or…. Continue reading “Pass the kid”

Up, Up, and Away!

wood 2At this writing, Bob and I are waking up in a Portland airport hotel after scooping our kinder from Norway and waiting on the New Yorker to arrive after which we will travel a little more to meet additional loved ones for a week of high fives, and plenty of family-based jocularity.  I missed a really great photo-op as we cruised right past Mount Hood, but here’s a reasonable facsimile:

Mount Hood
KOMOnew.com

In typical fashion, being the only early riser in the whole extended clan, (thus the name “Dawn”, I suppose), I am sitting out on some backside patio before the hotel’s breakfast is even ready, listening to the birds compete with the jet planes roaring off in the not-so-far distance.  I’m impressed by the sound of their immense power, with just two puny little humans at the helm.  Wow.

Now, granted, those two puny little humans had to go to school and learn some pretty impressive things, like to properly engage that immense power.  Otherwise, that plane, as pretty as it looks, is just not going anywhere.

Or worse, yet, it might go somewhere it shouldn’t… 

9:11
From: my aesthetic @intradasting

“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves…For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.”

One of the challenges for Christians in my culture (translated: for me) is the misunderstanding of the power that resides within us/me.  I look in the Bible and see things, powerful things, and I have to wonder, “Am I really living all that God has for me?” 

(Oh!  There goes another one into the wild blue yonder!!  Man, those engines are huge.)

Or am I just shaking my head and thinking, “Yep, that’s a nice plane”, but never bothering to go to school and learn to fly for myself?

The thing is, God says the power, His power, the power His Son died for, is already in all of His children.  Fueled up, ready to go.  Many times, however, I stay grounded, not only by ignorance, but also by fear, self-contempt and blame, offense, and the list goes on. 

This doesn’t mean God doesn’t love me any less—no way.  It’s just that He calls me to more.  And He needs me for more.  Others need me for more:

 

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up…”

…or throttles the plane.

2 Corinthians 4:7, 20; Hebrews 12:1 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.

No protest marches in Tyre

IMG_20150103_172451138It fatigues my already tired mettle when that worn out rag of an opinion resurfaces that Christianity is somehow anti-female. Of course, now that the definition of “female” is under debate, I suppose that is, itself, a shifting deck in a storm of opinion.  No matter, because at least, historically, there is in my mind (admittedly, for what that’s worth…) substantial evidence that feminism has its actual roots in true Christianity.  Note the word “true”.  Not necessarily organized religion, because most people never bother to check out the Source Document for themselves, and if they do, it’s merely a cursory study without much in depth “what’s-really-going-on-here” desire to know truth.  I realize that’s a scathing indictment, but there it is.  

Case in point, here’s a story that can be easily misunderstood, but in reality, it’s one of my faves: Continue reading “No protest marches in Tyre”

Hey, where’d YOU come from?!

garden lastHot, humid, it’s southern Missouri and the first official day of summer, so what else is new?  I’m already a sweaty mess working in the yard, and the compost needs turning, so out comes the pitchfork (à la American Gothic) and the back muscles are put on notice. 

It’s during this little exercise in semi-organic gardening that I observe a real surprise—two tomato plants growing, quite well I might add, to the side of my large, homemade compost bin, hidden between the garage and the fence line. 

tomato

Huh?!?  And they’re as large or larger than some of the ones I have growing now in my suped-up garden with my organic, sore-muscled compost mixed with expensive dirt that grows things “miraculously”, and is watered with our very, very expensive third-stage (whatever that is) city water!  Continue reading “Hey, where’d YOU come from?!”

Define productivity…??

wood 2One of my bloggish buddies, Enthusiastically Dawn (yes, how could I not like someone who’s name is also Dawn?!?  I wonder if she’s a morning person like me?) is an avid journalist.  No, I mean, she writes the journal on journaling.  And her journals aren’t just the five-and-dime variety, they are, themselves, works of art, that she further turns into works of art with her both her prose and poetry.  Even her blog site is b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l and her Instagram feed gives us frequent vids of the ocean (ahhhhh….that soothing sound of waves….here in Missouri we get tornado sirens.)

So, what’s more inviting to a writer/poet/artist than a blank folio? (Unless, of course, you have writer’s block, which I doubt my buddy ever does, bless her!) That clean unqualified availability just pulls the pen to the page, or if it’s my almost three-year-old granddaughter, the crayon.  Or better yet, as when we moved into this old house, we knew we were going to strip the wall paper off and repaint, so guess what we let our children do with their crayons?  Don’t you think those blank walls were inviting!?!

I’m thinking this same kind of opportunity caught Jesus’ eye as well~~

“One day as Jesus was preaching on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, great crowds pressed in on him to listen to the word of God.  He noticed two empty boats at the water’s edge, for the fishermen had left them and were washing their nets.  Stepping into one of the boats, Jesus asked Simon, its owner, to push it out into the water. So he sat in the boat and taught the crowds from there.”

Availability.  I can imagine that an empty, waiting boat would have been more inviting than a boat with a bunch of slippery fish in it.  This doesn’t mean totally tanking our responsibilities to clear our schedule, but it will most probably mean a severe reordering of priorities.

Of course, what happened next surprised everyone, Peter most of all.  After finishing His sermon, Jesus decides to take Peter on a little fishing trip right there, in his own boat.  Peter objects.  He’s been up all night (he’s a bit tired and hungry, hasn’t even had his morning java yet), he’s already lent this guy his boat when he’d rather be sleeping, and now he’s being told to fish waters he already “knows” is a waste of time (this is his own profession, after all.  Sheesh.  Who does this guy think he is?)

“And this time their nets were so full of fish they began to tear!  A shout for help brought their partners in the other boat, and soon both boats were filled with fish and on the verge of sinking.”

The point is, Peter’s availability proceeded his productivity.  Of course, then his product line changed to a slightly higher order…

I guess I should be prepared for that as well.

Luke 5: 1-3,6,7  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.

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

wood 2

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…

tree
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…”

Call your folks

wood 2There’s a story in the book of Joshua where God holds back the sun so the Hebrews could have more time to fight on and subdue their enemies. 

More time.  Man, I wish.  Of course, most of us would just blow it.  But somewhere in our collective psyche where “deep calls unto deep” is that gnawing feeling that time is something we can’t grasp or control.  A cursory glimpse at even modern entertainment is informative—sci-fi time travel flicks abound, even the humor of “Ground Hog’s Day” maybe-I-can-get-it-right-this-time wistful thinking is not far below the surface for most of us. 

So somewhere thousands of feet over Midwest farmlands, I was in a jet heading home from seeing my parents for a few days at their retirement village.  Dad was recovering from a knee problem across the street from where mom was preparing for their new digs in the apartment complex. 

After sharing my dad’s breakfast table with a 93-year-old WW2 veteran, after hearing of one of their friends who skipped her chemo so she could go hiking in Colorado (“just give me a little extra medicine this time, will ya?”), and after meeting some of the other indomitable souls in their neighborhood, it kind of makes me think twice before complaining about…anything. 

We went to church together that Pentecost Sunday morning huddled around his computer at the foot of his hospital bed watching the live-stream from their Methodist Church with mom and one of their neighbors (a retired world-traveled physician who can now only see peripherally due to a degenerative eye problem—but walks everywhere anyway.)  I’m kicking myself for not providing some grape juice and flat bread for communion.  (“The good Lord knows our hearts, honey.”)

One of my parents’ good friends from W-A-Y back, (meaning my teenage years, okay, no wise-cracks necessary), is now in his 90’s and just returned home to the same complex from visiting family from the west coast.  I am informed he is of the polar-opposite political party than my father, which in this day and age could mean, well, we all know the vitriol that implies.  Evidently, they are both “old school”, which means that they can discuss politics without interference in their relationship. 

Would that we had such maturity these days.

Dad’s the one who taught me to “ask for the moon” but won’t ask for a bag of ice when he bumps his bad ankle on the wheelchair.  When I mention a plan to call for something, it’s “oh, no, don’t bother them…”  So I have dubbed myself “the wicked witch of the West” and I can imagine the nurses in report saying, “she called again.” (One of my main consolations is all the heavy lifting my local siblings do when it needs to be done.  This long distance thing STINKS.)

Dad says that as the light streams through his window in the morning, he gives thanks to the Lord for another day of life.  My folks have a perspective that my culture has largely lost, or missed altogether—gratitude.  Fortitude.  Resilience. 

Gray hair is a crown of glory;
    it is gained by living a godly life.

Now, let’s see, who shall the witch bother today?  

(Call your folks!)

Proverbs 16:31 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.