Just another part of a healthy garden

gardener-3336148_1920It’s August, and we’ve finally gotten a little rain.  My lack of gardening prowess is showing of late.  Part of it is not my fault—the flowers look considerably scorched because I’ve reserved most of the watering for the edibles. 

Unfortunately, even the tomatoes and cukes are having a tough time, which IS my fault. 

Composting, planting, weeding—I’ve definitely increased my skill set over the years.  Pruning, however…not so much:

garden

Problematic on a few different levels, right?  Continue reading “Just another part of a healthy garden”

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Pass me the brush

paint1It’s done!!  We were able to get the caution strip painted by the Daycare/Preschool’s new parking area BEFORE the doors opened on Monday morning.  We had already had a couple of people trip up on the overhanging lip to the sidewalk, so this really needed to be done.

Others in the church had helped lay the concrete.  They had also researched and provided what was needed for the paint job. I guess I was the erstwhile crew-chief for this part, so I got there early to sweep and tape, when another church member showed up to help.  As he started on one end and I on the other, I yelled down to him that I had never painted concrete before, so if he had any suggestions…

“Just start painting!”

Hmmm..I liked that.  Do the best you can with what you have and keep the main directive in mind, i.e., prevent injury with a warning stripe before the kids come on Monday. 

And we had some pretty good help, I want you to know!

Okay, so it wasn’t perfect, but it’s not like we were asked to do brain surgery.  There may need to be a few touch ups later.  But mission accomplished, and actually quite well, if I do say so myself!

Nehemiah also had a task that laid heavily on his heart—rebuild the protective wall around Jerusalem. Importantly, he also had a clear directive from God AND confirmation to match the weight of the task before him AND he had done his research, which was actually ongoing, as the narrative continues.  (Slightly more than painting a church caution strip.)

Once construction started, there was immediate backlash:

Sanballat was very angry when he learned that we were rebuilding the wall. He flew into a rage and mocked the Jews, saying in front of his friends and the Samarian army officers, “What does this bunch of poor, feeble Jews think they’re doing? Do they think they can build the wall in a single day by just offering a few sacrifices?  Do they actually think they can make something of stones from a rubbish heap— and charred ones at that?”

I find this to be such a perfect picture of how our enemy, our truest enemy that is—Satan, reacts when we begin the task God has given us to do.  Note, however, it is (1) a directive from God, and (2) it has been confirmed to the level of the task’s weight, and (3) the pre-project research had been done (“counting the cost” and all that). 

Then I just have to start “painting”.  God is more than able to touch up a few strokes of misplaced color along the way.

Nehemiah 4:1,2 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.

Where’s my brush?

paint-117599_1280As I write this, I’m waiting for a phone call.  Our church recently completed pouring concrete for a much-needed upgrade on the parking spaces by the daycare facility.  They were asking for help and so, although Bob and I have absolutely no experience in these things, we showed up to see what we could do, which was as expected—very little.  So I provided food for the workers for a few days. 

Now some painting needs to be done, a yellow caution strip to prevent tripping over the little step-up to the sidewalk.  Again, I’ve never painted on concrete, but put a brush in my hand and tell me where and I might actually make a small contribution!  (Or a mess, or both…) Continue reading “Where’s my brush?”

MINE!

volleyball-1568154_1920Back in the Dark Ages when I was in high school, I played volleyball.  Not well, but I tried.  In the 1970’s, girls’ athletics was not quite as competitive as it is today and being 5’12” (as I used to call myself) didn’t hurt my chances of making the cut either.

Generally on any team, you have to communicate with each other.  Specifically in volleyball, if you don’t communicate with your teammates, you might plow into each other, which would defeat the purpose of getting the ball over the net.  When the ball comes your way, you have to send the message, “I’ve got this, so you don’t have to, but be ready because it might be coming your way next.”

As that tends to be a bit wordy, it is condensed into simply:

“MINE!” Continue reading “MINE!”

Packin’ heat

I have some friends who, when they go to church, carry their concealed firearm.  One of them is with the local sheriff’s department.  The other is a pastor in another town.

I looked up where the term “arms” as a reference to weaponry comes from:

“Arms, meaning those things used during fighting, comes from the Latin arma, which had largely the same meaning and came from the root ar- meaning ‘to fit together’. Since the 14th century arms has referred to weapons. When new weapons came along that used gunpowder, they were referred to as fire-arms.”  (a quote from Doug Rice on https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-etymology-of-the-word-firearm)

 Huh.  I just kinda thought it looked like fire coming out of your arm…?  Shows what I know. Continue reading “Packin’ heat”

Where’s a screen writer when you need one?

Have you noticed that it seems like quite a few flicks coming out of southern Cal studios are based on true events?  Maybe the “Industry” kingpins (holding the purse strings) have realized that it’s profitable for art to imitate life rather than the other way around.

Clearly, there’s enough drama, intrigue, and corresponding courage in life and history to keep the screen writers busy.  Here’s one I haven’t seen written yet. Continue reading “Where’s a screen writer when you need one?”

Planning…

You know that whole “knock, and the door will be open to you” thing that Jesus talked about?  I’m wondering how many times we stand on that same threshold with the door finally open, but are too scared to step over.

Which makes this story of Nehemiah so informative to me.

The land of the Hebrews, God chosen people, lay in utter ruin and desolation, as predicted.  The people, those who survived, are in exile, servants of the foreign king.  Nehemiah lands the job of cupbearer of this pagan king himself, not particularly a posh position, since at any time the royal loses his cool, Nehemiah could lose his head. Continue reading “Planning…”

Meet you at the Dung Gate (bring your own shovel)

tap-2978478_1920We have what’s called “Third Stage” water treatment in our small town. (I don’t know what stages one and two represent, and possibly would prefer not to.)  Suffice it to say that living next to the water treatment plant isn’t a choice area due to the sulfur-like fragrance that wafts in once in a while.  (Who likes eating their morning Wheaties when everything smells like rotten eggs?)

Evidently, the water was A LOT worse before we moved here, before the water treatment plant started doing its thing.  I’m sure the natives who remembered the old water were grateful.

I tend to shy away from nasty things, except that being a nurse has probably strengthened my olfactory resolve a bit.  Nevertheless, given a choice… Continue reading “Meet you at the Dung Gate (bring your own shovel)”

Your turf, or mine?

I love the description of the rebuilding of the wall in Jerusalem under Nehemiah’s close eye.  We read phrases like “next to him”, and “beside him” throughout the narrative as each family group takes responsibility for a part of the reconstruction.

Obviously, Nehemiah couldn’t accomplish the project on his own; it may have been his vision, but the people’s participation was not only expected, but necessary.  There’s a lesson for the church right there—pastors can’t do it all; in fact, not even most of the work in building God’s kingdom. Continue reading “Your turf, or mine?”

Red Ink

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Red ink.  The bane of literary students, or any student for that matter.  You know what it means: misstake, eRr0r, wrong answer, ruuunnnn-on sentence (that was one of my specialties, still is, for all that.)  My husband is a teacher, and with some of his exams he allows what I call a do-over (he calls it a “revision”, which sounds much more professorial.) The red ink, or whatever he uses, shows the mistakes which, as disappointing and uncomfortable as it may be at the time, is actually a good thing.  The student then gets another chance.

This is what happened with the people in Nehemiah’s day.  Having returned from their seventy-year exile to their home in Jerusalem, they were now being instructed from God’s book of the Law, some of them undoubtedly for the first time.  Their collective reaction is quite compelling: Continue reading “Red Ink”