Extreme Corn Pickin’

hot-159386_1280I’m sweating.

I know I’m not alone.  Dot-gov says it’s 74 F., (and it’s not even eight o’clock in the morning), with an expected high of 94 and heat index of 105. 

Of course, drinking my delicious hot tea probably doesn’t help.

But I love my tea, on the patio, in the morning.  If I waited for perfect conditions I’d be inside all day most every day.

corn1
Eclipsed by the corn!

My dear brother and sister-in-law from Minnesota are visiting.  It’s been terrific, but the high heat and 2000% humidity doesn’t suit them either.  We took them over to a friend’s place to pick some sweet corn, thankfully right before this life-altering weather took hold. 

I’m thinking of heading over there again myself this afternoon when they go visit their daughter nearby, to get some more for them to take home tomorrow.  I’m starting a new sport: Midwest Extreme Corn Pickin’. 

Life’s too short to wimp out.

Of course, the farmers here in the Midwest don’t wait for perfect conditions either; I’m really happy about that.  I like to eat. 

I’m also really appreciative that God didn’t wait for me to get my life together before He invited me into His home.  In fact, I didn’t even have to wipe my feet!  Here’s how one of His early saints put it:

“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners…But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.”

I suspect lots of people still think of Christianity as achieving some perfected state.  It’s not about my perfection, however, it’s about His.  He doesn’t even want me to wipe my feet before I come inside the door.  Instead, Jesus has this habit of washing our feet Himself!  In other words, my sin is the “perfect condition” for the application of His perfect righteousness. 

He also makes it clear that it’s His washing that gives me the capacity to be clean.  There’s definite partnership in this situation, but it’s not until He washes my spiritual condition that I can clean up my act. 

“By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence.”

So there’s no waiting for this relationship to get going, or it may not come to pass.  It’s like waiting for perfect conditions to make picking the corn more comfortable—instead, it’ll just rot in field.

“Indeed, the ‘right time’ is now. Today is the day of salvation.”

As far as the sweet corn is concerned, I’ll just wait for the heat index to get a little higher.

[Postscript: In the interest of honesty, our farming friends picked corn and brought some out to us this morning so I wouldn’t have to endure the heat.  There’s another whole analogy there…)

Romans 5:6,8; 2 Peter 1:3; 2 Corinthians 6:2  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.

Preparing for impact

SASWe’re traveling quite a bit recently, seeing family and all.  Our children have dispersed globally—if there were reasonably inhabitable colonies on the moon, at least one of my kinder would be there.   Even our nearest kin are out of state.  I told our youngest daughter, (the one currently residing in Scandinavia), that her software engineer husband needs to hurry up with that transporter beam.  Until then, however, it’s the car or the airline.

I’ve flown plenty, but Bob still gives me the window seat.  There’s just that wonderful rush when the plane speeds noisily down the runway, then the cabin gets quiet as the ground just falls away.  I love it. 

Of course, not long after that happens, the flight attendants begin their little demonstration that no one pays attention to, but should.  Instead we go back to staring out the window or reading the magazine in the seat pocket.  I think it’s somewhat comical when they instruct us on how to put on the life jacket under the seat when we’re flying from Missouri to southern Cal…?? Continue reading “Preparing for impact”

Color blindness at Walmart

paintbrush-24251_1280It’s getting time to repaint the downstairs of “this old house”.  I’m not terrible adventurous when it comes to paint, so I’ll probably just stick with white.  I was checking out some options at the paint department.  Do you know how many shades of white there are? 

Neither do I…

Interestingly, the definition of “white” (in terms of paint, anyway) seems to have more to do with comparison.  Pick just one, and yeah, that’s white.  But put it next to a “whiter” white, and I can see that the original looks more blue, or green, or whatever. 

And the names they give to these infinite variations on a theme are pretty funny: Rarified Air, Intimate White, Big Chill…etc.  (You know, people are paid to do that.  Someone must have a sense of humor.) Continue reading “Color blindness at Walmart”

High tech vision

eyeglasses-30168_1280I’m one of those unfortunate visual myoptics that had to start wearing glasses in fourth grade.  I remember my first pair—we called them “cat-eye glasses”.  No, they have not returned to the fashionable scene, thankfully.

My most recent pair of glasses, yeah, multi-focals now, supposedly has some kind of hi-tech, anti-glare feature.  Only I think they forgot to include things like car headlights, snow on a bright day, and sunsets. 

Okay, so maybe that’s being a bit unreasonable.  Continue reading “High tech vision”

Bird-brained behavior

IWAA7I just finished repairing and reinstalling one of my bird feeders, and this morning I stopped in my tracks when I saw a bright red cardinal enjoying his breakfast with a smaller white-striped bird I didn’t recognize. 

Then I saw him feeding the little guy—ah, what a good parent!  Daddy even aggressively chased off a sparrow from the breakfast table so his growing kiddo could eat privately. (Poor sparrow.  He was just trying to quietly go about his morning also…)

It was fascinating to watch, this avian culture!  But I just wanted to be sure I was identifying it all accurately.  Thus, I turned to that incontestable resource—the internet—and guess what?  It wasn’t a juvenile cardinal Daddy was feeding; it was a juvenile cow bird! Continue reading “Bird-brained behavior”

Pass-downs, and other investment strategies

stock-exchange-738671_1280Clearly, Bob and I are not financial moguls.  Our newest car is an ’04 (or is it an ’03?  When it’s that old, who cares?) But it runs, and it’s paid for, so that.  I say we’re the Joneses that no one tries to keep up with.

Bob’s parents were likewise not investment wizards.  Frugal and responsible, yes, but they were not big names on Wall Street.

However, Bob’s grandfather worked many years for a particular company in which he was able to acquire personal stock.  This “stock” continued to “split” (whatever that means), and through the long time of continued reinvestment, grew somewhat impressively. 

To see his grandparents’ home, one wouldn’t think much of their investment strategy, the financial legacy of which was passed down to their two children and was then passed down to Bob and his brothers on the death of his parents.

My (also very frugal) husband has chosen to invest this share, with the intent of not only passing it down to our children, but with the hopes to adding to it for them as well. 

Which means our newest car is still an ’04…

Nevertheless, we both have and continue to realize the benefits of a financial inheritance in ways we’re probably not even aware of to this day, including while growing up.  Likewise, we have both been reaping the even more important benefits of a spiritual legacy passed down to us through both of our families.   

 “The priests will not have any property or possession of land, for I alone am their special possession.”

What a countercultural statement for back in the day!  Land acquisition was all that!  Property was your security, your status, and a major part of the financial legacy to hand down to your family.  What I hear God saying here is that knowing Him is a far more necessary and sufficient inheritance than anything else.  Then this:

“I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

Jesus is talking here about a kingdom harvest of souls for God, but I’m thinking the principle applies to the spiritual pass-down in our lives as well.  And what do I do with it?  I can squander the spiritual and physical resources I have, which are largely due to blessings of our parents’ godly obedience.  Or I can invest them for further growth (the dividends of which never fluctuate with the cultural moral tide) to be passed down to my children and beyond. 

My own dear parents have discussed with us some investments which they someday intend to leave with “no strings attached”.  In my usual levity I quipped something like,

“So, you mean I can go buy that bright red Ferrari?”

“Well, if that’s how you want to use it,” was the sincere reply.

Nah.  The ’04 is fine. 

(For some practical and encouraging info on passing down the spiritual blessing to your children, you might find this interesting:)

https://www.focusonthefamily.com/media/daily-broadcast/passing-along-a-blessing-to-your-children

Ezekiel 44:28; John 4:38 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.

“Because enquiring minds want to know.”

newspaper-2874482_1920The above title was the advertising tag for one of those insipid tabloids from years past that grace the check-out counter at the grocery store.  They tend to be right there with the candy bars to make it more convenient to rot your body and soul at the same time.  In my mind, tabloids rank up there with Harlequin romances and other forms of mental/emotional snake oil. Continue reading ““Because enquiring minds want to know.””

Stinky feet

argument-3312463_1280 (1)“Now, if I were in charge…!”

Ever had that thought?  ‘Fess up, because who hasn’t.  And not just about the government, but the media, the job, or even the church…(c’mon, Someone bigger than me is reading your thoughts.)

It’s been said that absolute authority corrupts absolutely.  I’m sure that’s probably true in a human sense and, although I’ve never had absolute authority, I know what I messes I’ve made with the little authority I have had.  Continue reading “Stinky feet”

Stone, wraps, and other impediments.

I wonder if Martha gets a bit of bum rap.  She’s the calculating one, knows what needs to be done and does it herself if necessary.  The list-maker, the bean counter.  Martha was the chief cook and bottle washer when Jesus came to visit her and her siblings.  She alone was the one who received a gentle rebuke from the Lord when she demanded that her sister, Mary, come and help her in the kitchen instead of sitting with the Master, listening and absorbing.

I bet Martha as the older one, the one who helped her little sister growing up to put on her clothes and lace up her sandals.  You know how older sibs are called upon in a family.  Insert all of that on Martha’s shoulders.

Now Mary, it’s possible that Mary is same woman mentioned in another of the Gospels as the “unclean” prostitute who broke the jar and anointed Jesus in an act of repentance for her now-former lifestyle. The jury is out on that one, but for argument’s sake…

In this context, I can perceive Martha’s frustration, helping to sacrificially raise her younger sister only to have her go off and ruin the family name.  Perhaps this is why no spouse is mentioned for Martha— in that culture once the family is disgraced, who wanted to marry into that?  If this is case, like the older brother in the parable of the prodigal, I get it.

Then their beloved brother dies. 

Interestingly, when Jesus finally decides to make an entrance, Mary is the one who stays behind, but it’s good ole’ practical Martha who goes out to faithfully meet the Master.  Of course, the first words out of her mouth are, guess what, cause and effect:

Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died.  But even now I know that God will give you whatever you ask.”

Problem defined, problem solved.  That’s Martha.  If Plan A didn’t transpire, she always had a Plan B.  It wasn’t, however, quite what she expected:

 “Roll the stone aside,” Jesus told them.

But Martha, the dead man’s sister, protested, “Lord, he has been dead for four days. The smell will be terrible.”

How often do I ask God for a miracle, only with the proviso that He does it my way.  Good grief, don’t open the tomb!  Don’t expose the decay and don’t make the smell of death public.  No, I like to keep things private.

I forget there was nothing private about Jesus dying on a cross—for me.

There is something about the things we keep hidden which allows them to fester and multiply.  I’ll try to deal with it on my own. If my first plan is tanked, then I’ll think of the next step, but by all means, let’s keep stench under control.

window-806899_1920Except life doesn’t actually work that way.  The only way Lazarus was going to walk out of that tomb was to roll away the stone and let him breathe God’s fresh air.

How’s your air quality today?

John 11:21,21,39 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.

Built to serve

car-3189771_1920Car commercials crack me up. 

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”