On the way out the door~~

IMG_20150103_172451138Remember sending your kiddo off to kindergarten that first day?  Or camp?  Or that first solo in the car? (GAG!) Or college?  I remember the anxiety of allowing our teenage girls to go on month-long mission trips out of the country. The first one was to Hong Kong when it was still under British rule, and I found out (after the fact) that my 14-year-old smuggled Bibles into China.  She assured me it was safe. 

Because 14-year-olds know these things.

On one such excursion, one of our daughters reported that when she arrived at the staging complex, there signs posted everywhere that read “CALL YOUR MOTHER!”  Somebody there must have compassionately understood.

Now, by the grace of God, all three of our children have Continue reading “On the way out the door~~”

And the beat goes on…

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I get all kinds of requests for money, you know, you make one donation and the scent of blood is sensed for miles.  Some of the requests are causes with which I would agree, some not so much.  But even the ones I would tend to support, well, let’s face it, there’s only so much to go around.

Which really isn’t the point.  The real issue is the fact that it’s not “my” money anyway.  Sure, it’s in my name, my account with my beneficiaries and all that.  It goes to pay my bills, my taxes, and my retirement (such as it is).  It puts food on my table and gas in my car.  It’s not that I haven’t worked hard for it all; sure I have.  And yes, some of that hard work has taken a toll I’d care not to admit, but there it is. 

Still, the truth is, it’s not mine.

Not any more.  Because I actually belong to a larger government than any on this planet—the kingdom of God, (which is, I might add, far more just than the IRS…just saying.)

Yes, it’s easy to get to a point in life Continue reading “And the beat goes on…”

Where are my sticky notes??

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I like to consider myself I an at least somewhat responsible parent, but for some reason, I don’t know why, I seemed to have a mental block when it came to remembering orthodontic appointments for my kids during that phase of our lives.  Thanks to our dear orthodontist (and his secretary!) for their good graces and common sense to make routine phone reminder phone calls.  I’m sure it saved them money for missed appointments and I console myself that I probably was not the only one.  But even if I was, I’m still glad I had the reminder!

To this day, I’m not offended with reminders.  I live with sticky notes.  I email myself from work to home, and vice versa.  I tell people to call me.  If I don’t write it down, it’s a gonner.  There are just so many brain cells for Continue reading “Where are my sticky notes??”

Decisions, decisions!

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Moses, what a guy.  Talk about job stress—the perks were pretty great but so were the occupational hazards.  (And I think I have tough days!)  At least there was clear communication with the Boss; no lost email trails or intra-office misinterpretation of body language, all that.  God’s instructions were always unmistakably clear, right down to what colors of decorative embroidery thread to use for the big church tent!

One year into their miraculous escape/rescue from centuries of Egyptian slavery, God now has them positioned to pull up the stakes and start their journey in earnest to the Promised Land.  He has also promised to be their Guide, a cloud by day and something that looks like a pillar of fire by night.  Again, fairly distinctive, even for someone directionally challenged, like me.  When Continue reading “Decisions, decisions!”

Superheroes loading the dishwasher

wood 2By now, some of my readers know that my husband’s blog, Pneumythology, (the name of which I came up with, BTW, just sayin’…or I guess you can blame me, whichever), has much to do with equating mythology with everyday life.  As such, he writes and reviews about graphic novels, superhero movies, and so the upcoming Wonder Wonder flick is high on the summer watch list in my house.  I’m sure there will plenty of pyrotechnics and the zinging of bullets and explosions of unrealistic proportions. pow-158867_1280

Then there’s real life.  He really does clean the bathroom and load the dishwasher.  (#he’smineyoucan’thavehim)

However, in the midst of the mundane, we both actually believe in a mythology, not in the sense of make-believe fairy tales, as in Greek and Roman trying-to-make-sense-of-nature stories.  I mean the epic, the there’s-got-to-be-more-than-I-see life, a reality the supersedes my sensate tangibles and my abilities to understand.  And, occasionally, “it” pokes through the fabric of even our ordinary humanity…

Evidently, this happened more than occasionally to Moses.

 “But when you heard the voice from the heart of the darkness, while the mountain was blazing with fire, all your tribal leaders and elders came to me. They said, ‘Look, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice from the heart of the fire. Today we have seen that God can speak to us humans, and yet we live! But now, why should we risk death again? If the LORD our God speaks to us again, we will certainly die and be consumed by this awesome fire. Can any living thing hear the voice of the living God from the heart of the fire as we did and yet survive?  Go yourself and listen to what the LORD our God says. Then come and tell us everything he tells you, and we will listen and obey.’

And if you’ve read the rest of the story, we all know how long that lasted. 

Yet, God seemed okay with this plan.  Unfortunately, the people’s historic track record with this kind of communication/obedience pattern fell pretty short.  Second-party information can sometimes be just that—information.  Head knowledge instead of heart knowledge.  “What”, instead of “how” and “why”.  Information bereft of application.  Experience without wisdom.  And all that boils down to legalism or license, both of which are deadly as poison.

Enter the new covenant, with the Holy Spirit, A.K.A., the Paraclete, translated for us as Helper.  And, boy, do we need help, especially with the application part.  At least the Hebrew people, quaking in their sandals at the foot of the mountain, had a glimpse of the power and awesomeness that they were dealing with (and probably more than a few had to clean themselves off when arriving back at their tents.)  We, unfortunately, are generally not graced with that sense of awe, but instead with a smug arrogance of self-sufficiency, even without our Christian context. Got the marching orders, thanks Lord, I’ll take it from here! (Ouch.)

We really don’t know What (Who) we’re dealing with here.  But part of the good news is—we can.

“Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

And part of the important news is, as a disciple of Jesus—I must. 

Because as Peter Parker’s uncle told the young and upcoming superhero Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Not bad wisdom for a myth.

Deuteronomy 5: 23-27; John 14:21 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.

Seatbelts, check.

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Our youngest was only school age when she sat on her father’s lap in the driver’s seat of the car in the (empty) school parking lot while he let her “drive” for a few minutes.  Her feet couldn’t even reach the pedals, but as she clutched the steering wheel, she confidently said, “I got it, Dad!”

Typical.  Not just of her, but of humanity in general, right?  Now, Bob and I hope that we have been reasonably responsible parents, and as such had our three children take drivers’ ed while in high school as well as teaching them our own white-knuckled version just like our sweet parents did for us back in the day.  There was Continue reading “Seatbelts, check.”

But, God…!

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280

God has such a sense of humor. 

“God answered, ‘I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain…'”

Why would God tell Moses that He would confirm this commission AFTER this little errand had been completed? 

I repeat, God has such a sense of humor. 

This comment marks the beginning of Moses’ courageous “but, God…!?!” speech.  Not that I would have done any better, to be sure.  I love that he begins at this most uninspiring place and ends up in the Hebrews 11 hall of fame, but that’s another story….

God graciously proceeds to give a few more confirmations:  You will find Continue reading “But, God…!”

Feminism at its BEST! (or…makin’ dad proud,… again.)

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I remember a brief conversation with my mother, probably back in the late 60’s; I was around 9 or 10.  She said to me, “Dawn, you can be ANYTHING you want to be, and you don’t even have to be just one thing—you can do more than that!”  I could grow up to be an engineer (like my dad) or a doctor, start my own business, wow. I was never really aware of any gender barriers, not in my family’s culture.  My orientation from youth was “the sky’s the limit!”  So what did I choose as my profession?

Nursing. (Duh.)

The word “feminism” carries different connotations for different individuals.  For example, there are some that get genuinely Continue reading “Feminism at its BEST! (or…makin’ dad proud,… again.)”

Alt-Trekkie

wood 2I follow my actor-brother-in-law, Doug Jones, on Instagram and Facebook.  We rarely get to see his face, but he has been nonetheless amazing as Pan in Pan’s Labyrinth, the fish/man Abe Sapion in Hellboy, the Silver Surfer in the Fantastic Four, and Chochise in Falling Skies, to name just a few.  And we just found out that he is going to be (yet another) alien in the up and coming Star Trek spin-off Discovery

Of course, I’m old school, with the original Kirk and Spock and Bones and Scottie and all that.  But far be it from me to consider myself a snobbish connoisseur of fine sci-fi—I also enjoyed Galaxy Quest, and the “famous” quote from Captain Jason Nesmith, “never give up, never surrender!”

So, okay, I’ve not yet donned any cosplay nor stood in line for hours to talk to a personal hero of the silver screen.  Heck, I hang out with Doug and Laurie on fam-jams anyway, and they ARE heroes in my book!

I also appreciate the actors in the Hebrews 11 “Heroes of the Faith” line up—it reads like something out of one of Doug’s movie credits.  Allow me to review (from my human perspective):

Gideon, cowering in the barn trying to hide his grain, and who needed a fleece (twice) to convince him of God’s answer.

Moses, who’s recorded conversation with God (as if standing in front of the burning bush wasn’t enough) is replete with “but God!?!”

Sarah and Abraham, who both thought God needed a little help, (since that always turns out well…)

Amazingly, God chooses to interpret their history differently:

“Their weakness was turned to strength.”

Say what?  How is it that God somehow overlooks, not only their failures, but also the consequences of those failures, and chooses instead to record in the New Testament rendition (for all eternity, no less) their successes?

Like it or not, “oops” is part of a Christian’s vernacular, and “I’m sorry” should roll off the tongue more and more easily as time goes on.  One important thing that can be said for these heroes of the faith is that they never gave up.  They may have given in a few times, but they never gave up

In that, Captain Kirk has nothing on Captain Nesmith.

Hebrews 11:34   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.

Who, me??

hand-1331323_1920

And I quote…

“But please listen to me when I say this: America is worth it.”

“It’s up to each and every one of us to keep working to make America better and stronger and fairer.”

“…stay engaged on every level.”

“We need you.  America needs your energy.”

                  –Hillary Clinton*

That pretty well sums it up, no matter who we did or did not vote for.  So yeah, the truth is that, regardless of the 40+ hour work week or lack thereof, the car in the shop and the dishes in the sink, the kids’ activities, the bills, the aging parents and/or concern about the how to deal with the in-laws…somewhere in there, our country needs our involvement, our voice, our help. 

I love the story of Moses when God first called to him from the burning bush.  The short version goes something like this:

“Who, me!?!”

“Yes, you!!”

About five times, in fact, and answered by some practical strategies that necessitated Moses’ (as Mrs. Clinton puts it) “energy and engagement”.  In other words, it cost him something.

Obviously, there is no disagreement about the American right to disagree, and in that view, the most current presidential election was not unique.  (The Brits have their own version…)

Pugnacious verbal blood-letting is a time honored tradition in all the colors (not merely red and blue) of the political spectrum.   Unfortunately, school children are not the only ones adept at playground bullying; they learn it well from us adults.  What seems to be passion for “our” cause can easily go beyond true activism into irreparable damage.  Advocacy becomes practical, however, when I choose to step in and confront the day-to-day “adult-bullying” which takes many creative forms, some of which can be couched in seeming sophistication, much of it in my own backyard.

There are also other ways to stay engaged, regardless of whether or not your candidate of choice won the election.  Here are a few practical suggestions, and I hope you may add more in the comment section:

  • Maybe your thing is political advocacy. Here’s good comment from the interaction with my oldest daughter:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             “A way to be involved is to not only confront any hateful actions or remarks you personally come across, but also to hold your representatives accountable. Be in contact with your state and federal lawmakers. When I was a lobbyist (for lack of a better term), constituent concerns were the most important thing, hands down. As few as 20 phones calls from constituents could sometimes sway a lawmaker’s vote. If you disagree with them, tell them.”

Here’s the place to start:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

  • To find a good match for your skills and time availability, take a look at these sites for help.

http://www.volunteermatch.org/

http://www.createthegood.org/

  • For someone who’s passion is housing, try Habitat for Humanity. It’s kind of hard to stay mad at someone when you’re focusing on hanging sheetrock for a good cause…together.

http://www.habitat.org/

  • Now for a challenging word for us bloggers, tweeters, instagrammers, snapchatters, and otherwise connoisseurs of fine social media. Try reading some writings by those from the opposing side of the argument. True debaters are taught to contend on each side; it causes them to learn the age-old skill of walking a mile in the other guy’s shoes. Another wise quote from my progeny:

“If you want to see a perspective firmly lodged in the liberal camp, look at Shaun King’s Facebook page. I’m not saying I agree with him, but it might be a place to see another side of things, or at least to see why people are worried. My newsfeed has a decidedly liberal slant, so I intentionally continue to follow more conservative folks so I’m not unaware.”

I love her word “intentional”.   I’ve followed Pied Type since I started this blogging thing.  We are obviously divergent in our worldviews, which is good for me.  It’s a beautiful site, so check it out!

And while we’re at it, how many of us are guilty of initiating and/or forwarding unseemly and unsubstantiated emails or posts about “the other side”, hmmmm???

Moses became instrumental in delivering God’s people from tyrannical rule.  Now, you can apply that allegorically however you wish, but the point remains—you are needed, not merely to advance the policies dear to your heart, but also and at the same time (please hear this), to help maintain the “indivisible” part of the pledge most of us grew up with. It is, in fact, the American way.

Here are a few other quotes from another famous American who had his share of personal and political vilification, and eventual made the ultimate sacrifice.

While we must, by all available means, prevent the overthrow of the government, we should avoid planting and cultivating too many thorns in the bosom of society.
–March 18, 1864 Letter to Edwin M. Stanton

I have desired as sincerely as any man — I sometimes think more than any other man — that our present difficulties might be settled without the shedding of blood.
–April 26, 1861 Address to the Frontier Guard

I appeal to you again to constantly bear in mind that with you, and not with politicians, not with Presidents, not with office-seekers, but with you, is the question, “Shall the Union and shall the liberties of this country be preserved to the latest generation?” 
–February 11, 1861 Speech to Gov. Morton in Indianapolis

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds…”
–March 4, 1865 Inaugural Address

Thank you, Mr. Lincoln.

http://www.abrahamlincolnonline.org/lincoln/speeches/quotes.htm

*Quoted from FoxNews online