Who’s measuring stick is in your tool box?

IMG_20150124_162302245Bob was NOT pleased.  I don’t remember the exact scenario, something about possible plane tickets I think.  I just remember I had made him very, very nervous by my looking into some potential plans without cluing him in, but not because he’s a control-freak.  It’s simply that after almost forty years of marriage, he knows:

“You have a way of just making things happen!” Continue reading “Who’s measuring stick is in your tool box?”

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Spandex Rides Again!

bikesAs summer break was drawing to a close, Bob asked me to go on a “rocket ride” with him.  When your husband of almost 38 years asked you on a date, the appropriate answer is “YES!”.

Part of our retirement planning the past several years has been to purchase several good bicycles.  I say several, since they are used for different purposes: on-road, off-road, and then I have one just for errands and groceries (I call it my “town-bike”). 

I’m somewhat disappointed to admit that the muscles and joints are not quite what they used to be, readily complaining, and preferring my great-grandmother’s rocking chair to the hard saddle of my Specialized Allez.  Of course, padded spandex comes in handy.  Bob says there are two fashion rules for wearing spandex:

  1. You have to have the right body type, and,

  2. Nobody has the right body type.

Continue reading “Spandex Rides Again!”

Why I’m a Fan of Messy Prayers — Kris Vallotton

How’s your prayer life? Is it a lively discussion or more of a stale habit? I think as Christians we often get caught up in checklist prayers. How boring is that? Not only is checklist praying an often empty habit, it’s also leading us to miss out on real connection with a Living God. I…

via Why I’m a Fan of Messy Prayers — Kris Vallotton

Still Water Reflections

quillA great idea (in the form a beautiful poem) from Enthusiastically, Dawn, (yes!  another Dawn to BLESS the blogosphere, just sayin’!!)  If you haven’t seen her site, definitely stroll over (her Instagram is fun also).  Here’s a thinker for us all today:

Still Water Reflections by Dawn Paoletta

I have an idea…

for you

to keep you from judging your peers,

to help you not criticize your neighbor –

the one who brings out your fears…

that person you just don’t get

yet.

Am I judging my peers,  criticizing my neighbor?

Do I? Am I?

I have an idea, for you-

to keep you from logs in your eyes,

to keep you from tripping over them

to guard against compromise,

to help you listen, really listen to another

not just think your thoughts

while they talk

and you supposedly listen,

waiting to interject- and inject your

poison.

Do I listen, really listen?

Does my compassion and empathy rise

or do I just wait to stop pretending

I’m listening?

Do I listen? Do I lie?

I have an idea for you,

to keep you from corrupt

communication

to help you not discuss with others,

what was never meant for discussion.

To keep you from speaking lies, disguised

as truth,  masquerading as prayer

but lacking the one thing that matters

before words are ever spoken about another :

love.

Is grace my motive to speak?

Do I love that which I speak of?

Am I guilty of slander or gossip?

Do I hate?

Do I? Am I?

I have an idea, for you-

one to keep you shining like gold,

one to help you reign in your tongue

whether you’re young or old:

Do you grumble under your breath,

murder others with your speech,

excusing your comments and conversation

before you begin to preach?

The words that flow from your mouth,

may seem wise in light of today,

but if you don’t stop the flow,

how can you ever pray?

The clarity of a foggy morning

wood 2An early morning in June along the Pacific coast in Oregon is a little different than mid-summer in good ‘ole land locked Missouri.  By now, the heat is already stifling and the humidity is beading the on the brow back home, even if I’m in the shade.  Here up north on a family vacation, sitting out on the porch, I’m wearing sweats, sweat shirt, Bob’s hat, wrapped in blanket and drinking hot tea.

Does this place actually exist, or am I just dreaming?

They do have humidity, however.  It’s in the form of fog, and lots of it.  It hangs heavily over the mountains in the distance, and even the near pines are hiding on this particular morning. At least intermittently.  I mean, they kind of come and go.  Continue reading “The clarity of a foggy morning”

So it doesn’t get lost in translation…

wood 2If you’re older than, say, 15, you may have realized that what you mean to communicate is not always the message that is received.  Now, when my dog wants to go outside for some biological necessity, he is fairly clear in his insistence; there’s just not a lot of ambiguity to his request.  And a similar scenario happens in the afternoon when he thinks it’s time for me to put his premium brown crud into his food bowl.

Oh!  That it were so easy with humans!  Alas!  The ability to clearly transfer (I do like that word) what I’m thinking, wanting, needing to someone else is a skill that takes a lifetime to master, if then. 

And if it can be that difficult to communicate what’s really going on inside of me to another human, I can only speculate how my Continue reading “So it doesn’t get lost in translation…”

Dawn’s List (not to be confused with Schindler’s…)

This post is a little different from what I normally write.  It’s not going on Facebook or Twitter.  No pretty photos.  No sarcasm or tongue-in-cheek humor (well, okay, I’m not done writing it yet, so we’ll see…).  Not even any analogies!

January, 2017, marks my second year of blogging.  I used to be more critical of social media, of the shallow content and mere shadow of so-called “friends”.  Although that can still be true, I have largely repented of my former viewpoint.  When I started this enterprise, I had no idea (nor any planned intention) of forming relationships, honest ones, and getting to know the people behind the screen.  Real people with authentic needs, trying to interpret their past and find some hope for their future.  Victories and defeats.  Questions, and even some answers—quite a few answers, really!  (Okay, right, so there’s a whole relational analogy there, but I shall refrain…)

So for now, Thursday has become Continue reading “Dawn’s List (not to be confused with Schindler’s…)”

An ounce of prevention…

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280If anyone in history had it made, it was Solomon.  Then this happened:

“The LORD was very angry with Solomon, for his heart had turned away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him twice.”

Unbeknownst to the king, there had been some things in the works “under the radar”, so to speak, for many years.  (One doesn’t generally get to the top of social food chain by making lots of friends; Solomon was, after all, a son of King David, a true man of war.)  All of these situations could have been avoided: two had been providentially held in check, (1 Kings 11:14-25), and the other was actually instigated by God Himself (1 Kings 11: 26-39).  All three were about to be unleashed because Continue reading “An ounce of prevention…”

A Parent’s Prayer

swimming-pool-149648_1280

I like to call this “A Parent’s Prayer”.  Anyone who’s been a parent for, say, more than 60 seconds can relate to the feelings of: a) overwhelming affection and, b) overwhelming responsibility.  As uncomfortable as it may seem, all of us are born into a war zone; we call it Earth.  And it’s been a spiritual war zone since before Eve discovered apple pie.  So this prayer of David speaks to me of the spiritual warfare that we, as parents, are never discharged from.  But we have the best-ever assistance from our Captain.  Pray this over your family, no matter what circumstances looks like– Continue reading “A Parent’s Prayer”

Seeking Wisdom

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This prayer was penned (typed? keyboarded? whichever…) by Dan Ledwith, and I highly recommend visiting his site, Learning to be Full of Grace and Truth.  And who doesn’t need more of God’s amazing grace and eternal truth?  I hope this offering encourages more than a mere participatory “amen”.

God Most High,

We confess to You Father because You have revealed Yourself to us.
You have shown us Your glory.
You have given us a sense of Your holiness.
You have opened our eyes to the light of Your Son Jesus Christ.
In that light we see that in ourselves we are all dark, and there is no light in us at all.
How can we confess enough?
How can we repent when we are unaware of all we need to repent of?

But You promise it is by grace, we have been saved.
Your love and grace and forgiveness are not conditioned upon any work that we do or don’t do.
Your grace moves us to confess to the best of our ability,
and covers what we do not or cannot see.
How wonderful is that grace!
How deep it goes!
How far it travels!
How joyous when it comes!

For where Your grace is there is
forgiveness,
freedom,
life,
and joy.

Where Your grace goes
holiness follows,
pride falls,
fear fees,
and love grows.

Father, we know that we are not enough, and that in Jesus we will always have enough.
So we ask for faith enough to trust You in our needs.
Some struggle with finances,
others with loss,
others with illness,
others with anxiety.
Give us faith that assures us that You are always with us and always working, even when we do don’t discern it.

We ask for discernment, that we may know Your will and hear Your voice.

We ask for discretion, that we may grow in humility and meekness.
That we may in grace hold our tongues,
be slow to anger,
and loathe to judge.

We ask for direction, that we may know what You want us doing both as individuals and as a church;
that we may understand our gifts and calling and place in Your kingdom so that we can be faithful servants,
doing the work that You have called us to do,
helping the people you have called us to help,
serving where you want us to serve,
praying how you want us to pray,
and living how You want us to live.

Work through us Lord, that we might love, nurture, and equip one another so that we can grow to maturity in Christ.

To see the other Sacred Springboards, click HERE.