Not For Sale: Grapes, Figs, and Pomegranates

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280My father-in-law used to decry what he considered his loss of memory after a cardiac surgery, in that he noticed he could no longer do some kind of complex mathematical computations in his head.  Pity.  I still have use my fingers for some single-digit addition, so I’d better never have heart trouble.

Needless to say, memory is not one of my strong suits.  But compared to the Hebrews embarking on their Continue reading “Not For Sale: Grapes, Figs, and Pomegranates”

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Puzzled

wood 2Disclaimer: this is not a political statement.  I really am not concern with anyone else’s partisan persuasion, it’s just that America’s recent history (translated: in my memory, which is longer than some of my current contemporaries, I realize…) lends itself to a good comparison.

Anyone old enough to read this has an opinion of some kind about the Trump/Clinton election and the media’s reaction.  Sparks are still flying over that one, and will continue to do so.  It’s the American way.

What many of the younger generation may not remember, to no fault of their own since many of them were in diapers or not even born yet, was the Reagan/Mondale landslide of 1984.  Continue reading “Puzzled”

Drivers’ Ed…again

wood 2One of my brothers works for a major pharmaceutical company and, as such, is a well-seasoned international traveler.  At this writing, he has yet another business trip coming up, this time to a place where, unfortunately, he will have to get rent his own vehicle and drive to the company’s site himself.  Not that that’s necessarily problematic; it’s just that the traffic laws in said country are more, um…suggestive, than in ours.

He’ll be careful.  We’ll be prayerful. 

Which makes me appreciate not only the little dotted and solid lines in our lanes here, but also the whole concept of why they’re important enough to be enforced: because people get really hurt otherwise.  In my Continue reading “Drivers’ Ed…again”

The little old woman who lived in a middle school.

Dawncartoon[1] (1)Being a school nurse to several hundred middle-schoolers, I sometimes feel like “the little old woman who lived in a shoe; she had so many children, she didn’t know what to do.”  Sometimes they grace my office with horrific things like hangnails, and chapped lips, and trampoline injuries from three days ago.  Other times there are more significant issues to be dealt with, parents to be contacted, an occasional ambulance.  Or an arm around the shoulder to dry a tear (hormones flow freely) or a high five on a test score.  It’s just all part of being the person in the building in charge of the bandaids and Tylenol.  (The DEA, however, frowns upon stocking Valium for faculty and staff.)

So I do appreciate Moses’ leadership in the Old Testament.  He had to have Continue reading “The little old woman who lived in a middle school.”

The power of obscurity

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I like obscurity.  It’s a safe place, at least for me.  Tucked away on my little plot of Earth in my little small town that barely rates a pin-point on a global map, that’s what I’m talking about.  We had an event one time that brought in some coastal people from back east to our area, and their sentiment was along the lines of, “Where ARE we??”  I am told that people from New York City think of our nation as two coasts, and the in-between is relatively insignificant.  (You know, things like cows and corn and oil, nothing like Fashion Week or Hollywood.) Continue reading “The power of obscurity”

Check the seed before pulling the weed!

garden lastOOPS…

That’s not an atypical comment in my gardening prowess. 

To begin with, there are only a few good things I can say about weeds, one of which is that they afford me at least a little exercise outside in the fresh air. I have some definite work to accomplish in that area, and with a bit of concerted effort, I should make some headway in today’s June morning.  But every once in awhile I’ll be out for something else and a particular unwelcomed green thing will catch my eye and up it will come.

I’m not well-versed in weed identification; if something is emerging where I didn’t plant it, it grows at its own peril.  Such was the case yesterday after coming home from church.  My eye targeted a shoot that didn’t belong, a seeming invader among my tender herbs and cukes.  Oh, the hubris of such an alien!  How dare this offensive intruder bury his tentacles into my soil, (such as it was…), gorging his rogue self on the much needed nutrients intended for my other dearies!  I did what any note-worthy gardener would do without thinking!!  I plucked it up by the root!

Oops…

The seedling still bore the Continue reading “Check the seed before pulling the weed!”

Slip, slidin’ away.

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Anyone who happens to be in my age bracket might recognize that title as the tag line from from a song by the inimitable Paul Simon.  It reads almost like a modern-day psalm of lament, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re already having a bad day, but Simon makes a good point in that, although we can influence our situations, ultimately we are not in charge.

Of course, that’s not a popular thought, regardless of one’s faith-affiliation or lack thereof.  We want to be in charge, desperately want it.  Especially when our circumstances threaten to dissolve into further chaos around us unless we “take action”.

King Saul, the first king of Israel, was very much like that.  He was told in no uncertain terms that he was to wait for Samuel, but like many of us, waiting was not his forte. 

“…but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away.   So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself. 10   Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived…”

Oops.  The king had fired up the grill a little too soon.

This was just one in a series of epic fails for Saul’s leadership.  Not that I can boast much better.  It can just be so dang hard to be patient when what I see as “success” is so different from God see’s as success—which is, foremost, OBEDIENCE.  Faithful, patient obedience, which speaks volumes of how much we trust Him for whatever outcome He determines, even if everyone else heads for the door.

In fact, that can be easily become one of the mottos in our decision-making:

demonstrator-154201_1280

Never a good way to lead, and definitely not the way of the cross.  I specifically remember a time as the leader on our church worship team, when God told me to repent (great word) of leading by appeasement.  Make everyone happy as much as possible.  Then try to keep them that way.  Good recipe for a mental health break down, let me tell ya.

Not that we shouldn’t let others share an opinion, offer suggestions, or even voice some serious concerns about potential consequences.  But as one poster once asserted—“The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing!” 

And the main thing is loving my Lord by trusting obedience, leaving the result of that obedience in His hands.  Because as someone once said: God is rarely early, but He’s never late.

I don’t want to fire up the grill too soon before the Main Guest arrives.

1 Samuel 13:8-10  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.

Lion tamers, to name a few

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280

Gary Smalley, a gifted family counselor and founder of the Smalley Relationship Center, conceived a simple personality test using four animals as examples; the lion is used in his demonstration as one who tends to have inherent leadership potential, but is also fraught with some significant relational challenges.  I’m thinking the Apostle Paul was, perhaps, one of these:

“Each Sabbath found Paul at the synagogue, trying to Continue reading “Lion tamers, to name a few”

Superheroes, UNITE! (This means us.)

Underdog_(animated_TV_series)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The iconic Underdog character was birthed from the mind of W. Watts Biggers. I think he intuitively knew our American mindset in this area!

Bob is pretty fascinated with the superhero phenom in our culture.  At the time of this writing, we just returned last night from a date (yes, couples should still date after 36 years…) to the local theatre where we saw Captain America-Civil War.  No spoiler alert in case you’re one of the handful who hasn’t seen it, but as the title implies, it’s the flick in the interminable series where the supers duke it out against each other. 

I guess they haven’t read that part about “a house divided against itself…”

Anyway, as a society we congregate over these fantasies for several reasons, some more ominous than others.  In fact, a good blogging buddy of mine, Oneta at Sweet Aroma, left me this comment:

“And while we build supermen in the sky, on earth we live so far below what God has available for us.”

Good seg into this account about Continue reading “Superheroes, UNITE! (This means us.)”

Hand me the hose

garden last

Water.  Simple H2O.  We drink it, fish in it, splash each other with it in the summertime.  Then in the winter, we shovel it, make snowmen out of it, and sometimes shovel it some more.  And most significantly, at least here in the US of A, we tend to take it for granted, (our brethren in California notwithstanding.)

When the girls were in school, we were flying over St. Louis on a family vaca.  It was just after an unusually disastrous downpour in the Midwest, and the aerial view of the city was amazing, sad, but amazing.  St. Louis was basically under water.  While up in the air, I was perusing a newspaper.  Someone had taken sequential photos from the same deluge, again from an aerial viewpoint, of a beautiful big farmhouse next to a dam.  The photographer caught it all: the dam breaking, the water rushing unrestrained toward the now-unprotected home, Continue reading “Hand me the hose”