Why Ants Stay Busy, a poem

A poem by my wonderful bloggish friend (you’ll love this one!)—

Why Ants Stay Busy, by Oneta Hayes

Ant Father: “‘Mountain must move’ Big Man said today.”

Ant Mother: “Did he mean us?  The place we stay.”

Ant Father: “He said this mountain is in his way –

And off he went to get the spray.”

 

Down the hole scurried Ant Father and Mother

Taking with them every sister and brother

They shouted warning to one another

“Go lower, slide, hide, take cover.”

 

The fury was great, soft dirt did blow

The mountain they build was rendered low

The mud came rolling in a mighty flow

Only a tiny light continued to glow.

 

“Now it’s all over,” they said with a grin

“Everybody get to work, let’s do it again.”

They scurried and hurried and made such a din.

They loved their life’s work – annoying men!

By Oneta Hayes at Sweet Aroma

OH, the wisdom of humor!!  But here’s the thing.  Ever notice how, when you get rid of one ant hill, others pop up?  I mean, it’s not a one-time deal, slaying ants.  Ants just keep doing what they do, building ant hills, because that’s how they’re wired. 

In other words, that’s what they are created to do.  It doesn’t matter how many times they get sprayed or squished.  They keep working together to build, because it has to be built.  Period. 

They make me look like such a whiner.  Certainly, there are B-I-G boots stomping around: illness, depression, financial concerns, relational disappointments, and the list goes on.  One or two knockdowns and I might be ready to throw in the towel. 

But in reality, that’s not the way God created me.  Nope, not by a longshot.  He has made me (and is re-making me) to build, (a) regardless of who steps on me, and (b) in community with other builders.  Both are important factors for success.

I like how King Solomon puts it:

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might…

Of course, the New Testament version reads more like this:

 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

hiking-shoes-3057428_1920Which means the size of the boot doesn’t matter.  I’ll just continue my life’s work—annoying Satan.

Ecclesiastes 9:10; Philippians 4:13  Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Dog’s best friend…a kitten??

I made three mistakes this morning.  Well, probably more than that, but three that I will relate in print.  A stray neighborhood kitten boldly waltzed up to me as I came out to my patio.  I couldn’t help but pick him up (aw, so cute, etc…).  Holding him in my lap, I gently introduced him to my big black 60-pound dog, Buckley (also a rescue, I might add) and then supervised closely as they actually got to know each other, timidly but definitely.  As they picked around each other, I decided to name him Viking (Vik for short) in honor of our new grandchild in Norway. 

Then I fed him. 

Okay, so that’s probably more than three mistakes.

Obviously, it took a little mediation to launch this canine/feline relationship.  Buckley has a tender heart, but is blustery and weighs about 58 pounds more than Vik.  Vik, even as a kitten, has retractable claws.  And honestly, though I was out here this early Sunday morning to pray for the church, I’m thinking instead that perhaps God wanted to do the talking…about His family.  Specifically:

  1. Some of us are big and blustery, some of us are quiet and timid. When we come in contact with each other, there are times we could benefit from some mediation.  

“Now I appeal to Euodia and Syntyche. Please, because you belong to the Lord, settle your disagreement. And I ask you, my true partner, to help these two women, for they worked hard with me in telling others the Good News.”

  1. Relationships can get inconvenient, especially when boundaries are still being defined. There seemed to be a few times that Vik needed a time-out from my bluster-Buck. He spent a few minutes under a rake, up on the patio wall, and of course, on me. 

“Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

  1. Diversity was God’s idea to begin with. Please forgive the mixed metaphor, but not all the plants in my garden are self-pollenating; they need a little help to produce fruit.  In similar fashion, Vik can go places and do things that Buck cannot, and vice versa.  In short, we need each other to accomplish God’s plan. 

“But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.  How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.  The eye can never say to the hand, ‘I don’t need you.’ The head can’t say to the feet, ‘I don’t need you.’”

Buck has already been looking for his new friend the few times he’s been out as the day progressed.  The little bowl sits ready for some fresh milk if Vik shows up tomorrow. 

(Kinda hope he does.  We have plenty of mice in the area.) 

 

Philippians 4:2,3; Ephesians 4:32; 1 Corinthians 12:18-21  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.

Cucumbers–more than salad.

cukes 2I’m watching with interest as my cucumber plant is flourishing, winding up the metal fencing and sending out little shoots to hold it up.  I’m amazed at the engineering and forethought of this design—some plants need a full support “cage” (like tomatoes), but this little guy has its own tentacles that reach out, find, and attach the vine to the fence, literally pulling whole plant up into the sunlight.  These also serve to anchor and support the plant when the heavy cucumbers mature. 

Brilliant!

Why can’t I be that smart?

God has created us to be in family, in Continue reading “Cucumbers–more than salad.”

This Old House, the continuing saga…

wood 2

Our house is a hybrid of the do-it-yourself series, This Old House, and the hilarious movie from the 1980’s, The Money Pit.  Never mind that my kitchen is probably from the 1950’s; we are evidently concentrating on the outside for the time being.  At this writing, our fairly large free-standing garage is being resided to match the main house we re-sided not too long ago.  A few months ago we had a friend put in a brand new concrete front walk, which necessarily included two sets of steps (we live on a small slope.)  He’ll be out later for the back steps and the driveway.

Try cooking a Thanksgiving dinner in a 1950’s kitchen.  At least I Continue reading “This Old House, the continuing saga…”

Expecting bird poop

bird picmonkeyAt this writing, I’ve just come in from sitting on my patio before going to church on a beautiful Sunday morning.  I mean B-E-A-U-T-I-F-U-L.   The sky has been swept clean (wish I could say that about my patio…), the birds are singing, the sun is coming up over the horizon, the trees are sporting their new greenery—I even have some new things planted in my garden.  And I had a special treat this morning—two Canada geese flew overhead!  Great!

We live in southern Missouri in what’s called a “fly-over zone”, so the geese are frequent residents in transit.  But we also have a Continue reading “Expecting bird poop”

Them’s fightin’ words!

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I really like my comfort zone.  In fact, I tend to snuggle in with my favorite blankie and stuffed toy (it’s name was Pinkie, BTW, a big fuzzy stuffed dog of said color that I remember my big brother swinging around the room to irritate me—which worked.)  Only now my favorite toys are a bit more expensive (a house, a couple of cars, old though they be…) and I frequently wrap myself in my favorite “blankie” (my marriage, my family and friends, my health, such as it is….)  It’s not a perfect mountaintop, but it’s the one I live on, if you get my metaphorical drift, and I’m thankful for it.

Of course, when you’re married to a science teacher like my husband, the metaphorical tends to become the concrete.  He likes to point out practical things like, “Yep, those mountains were brought about by earthquakes, two Teutonic plates vying for the same space, and….” 

You get it.

In this instance, however, the point is well taken in that sometimes God has to shake us up to get us off the mountaintop and out of our comfort zone, since in reality, we are called into the war for His kingdom.  But we’re in good company:

 “When we were at Mount Sinai, the LORD our God said to us, ‘You have stayed at this mountain long enough. It is time to break camp and move on. Go to the hill country…Look, I am giving all this land to you! Go in and occupy it, for it is the land the LORD swore to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and to all their descendants.’”

Interestingly, God could have provided everything His people needed right there on that particular mountain.  (You know, because He’s God.)  But also because He’s God, He knew that was not the best for them, it was not His fulfillment of the promise for them, and God is not One to settle for anything less than the best in, for, and through them.  And us.  For His kingdom. 

A few other things had to take place, and much later, the psalmist put it like this:

“You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver…We went through fire and flood, but you brought us to a place of great abundance.”

Unlike other kingdom conflicts happening on our current timeline, the Christian conflict is a spiritual one for our culture, our children, and even our own hearts and minds.  It’s uncomfortable (to put it mildly), but it is the place where God promises not only His peace, but most importantly, His presence—His Truth in the midst of turmoil, His koinonia in the midst of conflict. 

Given my ‘druthers, I’d sometimes rather hang out on the mountain than join the fight in the valley, but reader beware: because of the Father’s love, if a little shaking doesn’t do it, He may turn the mountain into a volcano.

Deut 1:6-8; Psalm 66: 10,12  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.

I’ve got your back

wood 2

I wish I could think of a better title for this, as it was used in a similar offering on Facebook, but it’s honestly the best title for this concept.  A (very) little research reveals that the phrase originated in WW2, when men were cleaning up remaining enemy pockets after a stronghold had been conquered.  Going into a house or room meant his ammo was pointed ahead, but it left the soldier’s back unprotected. 

Unless his comrade “had his back”. 

But sometimes, the comrade isn’t there.  Or is out of Continue reading “I’ve got your back”

B-o-i-n-n-g!!

guitar

On the Sunday platform with the worship team, first song (no, it couldn’t even be the LAST song, had to be number one!), upbeat tempo in full gusto, and there goes a string!  As it starts flapping in the front of sound hole, I somehow manage to keep the beat and finish the song, after which I just wrap what’s left of the sting around the head stock, thankful that I somehow didn’t go horribly out of tune (maybe a little), and that I didn’t get slapped in the face with a thin piece of steel. 

This is not the first time I’ve popped a string during a set, and it’s really not a serious problem, especially since I play a twelve-string guitar.  Shoot, I still have eleven strings.  But then it hits me—this is exactly what the phrase “koinonia” is about. 

Koinonia is a word that has its origins in the ancient Christian community.  It indicates shared experience, which can be applied on several different levels.  It includes my participation and contribution to the whole.  I have a part to play, however small it may seem (at the time), and even if that contribution is not acknowledged by others, it is a stand out to God my Father. 

So back to my Fender fiasco.  A few other considerations:

  • When one strings pops, the others can still continue the song. And when one member of the Body of Christ “over-stretches”, the others can continue the work while the wounded one is gently wrapped around the Headstock until the situation is repaired.
  • Of course, some don’t want to be repaired. Their “break” is, unfortunately, with fellowship altogether.  This is particularly tragic, but offenses still happen and the work of building God’s kingdom is still our mandate.
  • Now, this kind of break generally throws the whole instrument out of tune. Out of tune is just ugly.  It’s best to just STOP, admit the problem regardless how interruptive or awkward, and with the help of others to get back in tune before starting the next song.  Otherwise, the whole song is pretty well useless and distracting.  (I won’t insult you by explaining the obvious comparisons…) 

Admittedly, I can be a bit of a procrastinator.  Some of the team members are gone this coming Sunday, you know, ones that helped cover the distraction of my worn out string.  I finally got the rest of the strings replaced, and now they are s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g so that they will (hopefully) stay in tune tomorrow.  New strings take time.  But that’s for another analogy.

Koinonia is a powerful thing. 

Are you in tune with the rest of the band?    

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

(by John Fawett)

Truth Tutorials

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Blogging 101 and 201–good stuff.  No, great stuff.  Naturally, you get out of it what you put into it.  The important (and encouraging) thing to remember is that there is JUST SO MUCH there, especially for someone like myself who still remembers the Dewey Decimal system.  When I started this blogging adventure, I wasn’t merely on the ground floor. More like the basement.  But I’ve progressed to some extent, am now helping my husband through Blogging 101, and, lo and behold!  I am learning new things the second time around!  (As in, “wait-a-minute-how-did-I-miss-that?!?)

My point: any new skill set is, well…new.  That is, frustrations and setbacks are to be expected, anticipated, even welcomed as the learning process continues.  If I learn nothing else for a particular attempt but patience, that in itself is success. 

Major kudos to WordPress, however, not only for the free courses provided us newbies, but also for the myriad of Continue reading “Truth Tutorials”