Pass the gluten, please.

wheat-3241114_1920Let’s face it—I am NOT gluten free.  I’m writing this toward the end of wheat harvest here in the Midwest.  A good friend who farms says their yield has (thankfully) been really good, something I’ve learned one cannot take for granted.  It’s seriously beautiful out in the country as I drive by the tawny fields of ripe grain.  And, of course, the days are long and hot right now for the harvesters, even with the high-tech air-conditioned tractors! 

My tummy and taste buds are so glad they do what they do. Continue reading “Pass the gluten, please.”

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In Which Dawn Learns to Pray (#4)

notebook-1361981_1920I felt this pull while praying to check my website email.  Putting it off as a distraction, I went back to praying, only to have it crop up again.  So, I asked the Lord if this is something He was wanting me to do right now.  I immediately heard, “Go for it.” 

Okay, checking the email, nothing there I needed to see as far as I could tell.  That’s a little discouraging since maybe I didn’t hear from Him after all, which then degrades into maybe none of the things I think I’ve heard in the past are from Him either, which spirals into the typical that-works-for-others-but-not-me mindset of my past.  Doubt, failure, intimidation.

Regardless of whether I heard right or not, I know that those last three thoughts are not from God either!  What do I do with this?

Then I realize I’m still on the steep end of the learning curve.  In fact, we’re all on the steep end of the learning curve until the day we leave this place, so I’m in good company.  And the learning curve is just that, learning.  That, in itself, is encouraging.  I was a good student in school, but I still had to study and learn from my mistakes.  In fact, mistakes are some of the best instructive devices!  Plus, I know I have the best Teacher.

The opposite plays right into the enemy’s strategy: discouragement.  Who would want me to stop praying and jump off that learning curve?  Who has a vested interest in my giving in to doubt, failure and intimidation?  And fear of deception (one of my personal past Big Three)? 

Besides, if I need to hear from God about something important with obvious far-reaching consequences, He is good enough to confirm it for me.  He did that with Gideon, and He promises He doesn’t play favorites.  Plus, He has provided safeguards during the process: the Bible, koinonia with those who are further up the curve than myself, and of course, the Holy Spirit Himself.

He also promises that His sheep hear and know His voice.  Jesus is patient and kind and gentle, so I’m not by myself on this mountain of a learning curve.  Psalm 23 help-2444110_1920says, He leads me in paths of righteousness, and that He is with me in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  Well, if He’s with me there, surely He’s with me in the Valley of the Shadow of Doubt. 

I can let this serve to increase my tenacity and resolve, pushing me further in, rather than scaring me away.  Good things don’t necessarily come easily, and great things come with a price. 

Hey, this is good stuff.  Maybe I heard Him after all.

The wheel keeps turning, but am I going anywhere? (Prayer journal #3, cont…)

I’m a bit fascinated by the concept of Prayer Wheels.  Put somewhat simplistically, a Prayer Wheel is cylindrical collection of Buddhist mantras wrapped around a central core that turns (usually clockwise) so that every time it makes a full revolution, the virtue (“merit”) of those scripted prayers are incurred by the one who turns it.  It’s generally recommended that the practitioner use a form of meditation at the same time, but I’ve read that, even in a distracted state of mind, merit is still obtained.  The more it is turned, the more benefit is received.  This from Lamayeshe.com: Continue reading “The wheel keeps turning, but am I going anywhere? (Prayer journal #3, cont…)”

Grandparenting 101.

microscope-2223268_1920You know the typical story of the excited grandparent that buys their 5-month-old grandchild a full-size baseball glove?

Yeah, that’s us.  We are now decidedly in that category.

Bob recently had a delightful conversation with our eldest granddaughter, soon to turn the ripe old age of four.  Her mom is just so amazingly great about taking her to museums and using so many available resources for their Precious One’s brain development!  And, since Grandpa teaches biology at our local college, naturally a little course on “cells” has been on the educational menu of late.

Precious One has decided that microscopes are all the rage right now.  So, in an effort to take advantage of this current (and momentary) interest, I thought it prudent to send her a toy representation.  Of course, the one I picked out was W-A-Y too juvenile…according to the Professor.  Continue reading “Grandparenting 101.”

It was a set-up!

chess-2489553_1920I don’t play Chess.  That is to say, I know the basic rules, but like football, there are more intricacies than I care to ponder.  What little I know, however, helps me to appreciate those that really are quite adept at the game. 

As I understand it, the goal is to capture the opponent’s king.  Period.  That’s the goal.  It doesn’t matter how many pieces you have left when that king bows to your strategic prowess.  It doesn’t matter which piece gets the king; even a pawn can do that!  Every piece has a specific function and, yes, there are sacrifices to be made along the way.  It’s all a challenge, not of chance, but of resiliently setting up the next move, anticipating each opportunity, and patiently allowing the plan to unfold. 

I imagine true chess masters can also recognize the strategy of their opponent.  They’ve seen this move before, and won’t allow the trap to entangle them. 

A comment that I’ve not quite been able to live down from one of our family reunions was when I asked if anyone would like to play a “quick game of Chess”, not wholly unlike asking for a quick game of Monopoly.  Such a thing does not exist, (unless you’re playing with me, I suppose.)

Hmmmm….

Patience in life is not one of our culturally intrinsic qualities.  Spiritually, however, it is a must.  I love God’s “suddenlies”, His intervening grace when what I’ve been praying for happens “above and beyond all I can ask or imagine”.  Like when Peter was miraculously released from prison and was left standing to knock on the door of the praying disciples.  Or when the Holy Spirit fell on the Gentiles as the same Peter was in the middle of his discourse to them about Jesus.  Or the initial “Light, be!” in Genesis chapter one.

Yeah, those are nice.

Unfortunately, I’m not quite so great concerning God’s “set ups”.  I want to mentally and emotionally check things off my prayer list a little faster than seems to be happening in my very linear timeline and limited perspective.  There are relationships I desperately want restored.  There are needs I don’t see being met.

Then I remember: the goal is the king.  And I’m not a mere pawn, but a servant, with moves in the game that are assigned to me specifically.  I cannot do what a knight or a rook or a queen can do, but I can be part of the set up for the end result, protecting my King and going after the opponent’s. 

And, importantly, allowing myself to be moved, empowered, guided by the Master, regardless of personal sacrifice in the interest of the Goal, will require learning to hear Him more acutely.  That is my foremost strategy.

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.”

My second is tenacity.  As much as I would love a sudden “checkmate” on my formidable enemy, my Master has other things in mind that by necessity must be set up.  I may not (probably won’t) see or understand what He is doing in the present tense, but that does not preclude my responsibility to hang in there. 

“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.”

chess-2776289_1920The game isn’t over yet.

Your move.

John 10:27; Galatians 6:9 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.

Projects take time

IMG_20150103_172451138The most-beautiful-three-and-a-half-year-old on the planet decided to help me do a little crocheting when she and her parents were visiting.  One of her favorite cartoon characters, the brilliant Richard Scarry’s Lowly Worm, was in the process of being recreated in yarn.  Not a terribly difficult project for a 58-year-old grandmother who learned to crochet decades ago (from my grandmother, BTW, only I was a bit older.) Continue reading “Projects take time”

Here comes the bride!

IMG_20150103_172451138Planning weddings has become a multi-gazillion dollar business.  I fancy you could send their kids to college with some of the hoopla that society calls weddings these days!  I mean, c’mon, if half as much time, effort, and financial resources went into preparing for the marriage as it does in preparing for the wedding, well…the statistics would read a whole lot differently.

So there’s my soapbox.

Evidently, however, our 21st century Western culture is not alone in this absurdity.  Take another look at 1st century Judaism—

“The next day there was a wedding celebration in the village of Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration.  The wine supply ran out during the festivities…

One source I looked at said that wedding celebrations typically lasted five to seven days, and the whole village would be invited!  Okay, they’ve topped us on that one.  I don’t know how much wine costs back then, but over a week, it would’ve certainly driven up the bill.

“…so Jesus’ mother told him, ‘They have no more wine.’”

 “Dear woman, that’s not our problem,” Jesus replied. “My time has not yet come.”

I love, love, love Mary’s concern for the bride and her family.  True empathy.  It could be that she has already married off daughters of her own, and can feel the coming embarrassment if something isn’t done, and quickly.  Very possibly, her own husband, Joseph, is dead by this time, so she turns to her nearest benefactor, her oldest son Son.  (How convenient.)

Her next remark is brilliant—

But his mother told the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’”

Seemingly having just been given a bit of a brush off, albeit polite, she proceeds to clear the way for something extraordinary should God decide, in His wisdom, to do something…extraordinary.

Which, as we know, He did.

I don’t know if the bride and groom, or their parents, ever found out.  (Yet another example of how God comes to the rescue for us when we’re not even aware we’re in danger, but that’s another whole lesson, I suppose.)  However, the disciples knew what happened, and it made a decisive impact.

people-2576936_1920Which leaves me with another impression—shall I ask God for something and not “clear the path” for Him to do what only God can do?  Should I not also listen for His voice in response to my request rather than go on wringing my hands?

I think not.  I prefer Mary’s tack, doing what I can do at present to allow for future heavenly intervention.  Then, listen.  Carefully, and creatively.

(To be continued tomorrow….)

John 2:1-5 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.

Roger, Wilco

plane-607224_1920This past summer Bob and I enjoyed visiting my parents in their beautiful Midwest retirement community—it’s like a college campus for the over-60 crowd.  They’re incredible!  Interestingly, we were also roaming around the California Redwood Forest just few weeks prior to that, and in my mind, there is a striking resemblance between the two in more ways than one, if you get my drift.

Now a retired engineer, Dad is a United States Navy veteran who worked as a mechanic on airplanes, and his stories keep me spellbound.  While we were visiting, a neighbor stopped in.  Mr. B is a 90+-year-old U.S.A.F. bomber pilot vet from World War II.  (Triple exclamation marks…!!!) Continue reading “Roger, Wilco”

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”

When you know that you don’t know, but you want to know…y’know??

wood 2I remembering growing up and seeing those asinine tabloids in the check-out lines at the grocery store.  I suppose they continue to make money, since I see them touting the same nonsense about who-knows-what alien got who-cares-what Hollywood starlet pregnant. 

Clearly, enquiring minds still want to know.

What is it about human nature that makes secrets so enticing?  Maybe the upside is the curiosity for the unknown which has also put us on the moon and brought us the cure for smallpox and polio, so okay, I’ll grant us grant.  But, boy howdy, there sure is a downside!  It’s the stuff of James Bond 007 as well as the local beauty shop gossip. Continue reading “When you know that you don’t know, but you want to know…y’know??”