Check marks

ok-1976099_1280As I write this, it is almost 5AM and I’ve been up since 3:45AM.  It’s called jet lag.  I’m wide awake, made more permanent by the nice black tea I bought while in Sweden (seven time zones away), and might as well start my day while my brain and body make the adjustments.  My “to-go” list is as follows:

  • Laundry
  • Groceries
  • Weed-whacking
  • Bug spray
  • Rake the grass
  • Fix the carrier
  • Thank you note to ____

And I won’t bother to write the rest.  (I did get the yard mowed yesterday, as it was looking more in need of brush-hogging after being gone for two weeks.) Continue reading “Check marks”

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“That’s entertainment!” (not…)

tv-1844964_1920Just bought a Roku at the beginning of summer.  You need to understand that such a plunge into entertainment technology is a significant step for this retiree.  I grew up with four or five channels on a TV of which you had to walk across the room and manually turn a knob to “surf”. 

Bob is well please with the sports coverage, as well as the savings from “cutting the cable”.  Being a big movie buff, he’s also enjoying the multiple choices and genres in those offerings as well.  Which means, as he is well aware, that for us to watch a movie together, it has be what he now calls “a Dawn movie”.  Basically, that means it must have a puppies and butterflies ending. 

Don’t give me angst and call it entertainment—I have enough of that in real life. Continue reading ““That’s entertainment!” (not…)”

Popped strings, and other favorites tunes.

guitarAs a past worship leader, I appreciate, at least in a small degree, the importance and effort that goes into putting song sets together for the congregation.  In the case of contemporary music, there’s rhythm and flow to be considered, as well as your team’s availability for that week, and hopefully prayerful discernment. 

Of course, then I would break a guitar string in them middle of it all, and God shows His sense of humor…Not only does the string almost hit you in the face, but it throws the rest of the instrument out of tune, and naturally it can’t happen during practice, oh no, but during the set, in front of the congregation.

So then there’s life, well planned, even prayerfully so, and then…

…BOOOIIIINNNGGG!  (And usually not in private, right?)

Kinda sounds like this worship leader from a long time ago.  His name was Heman, an ancestor of Ezra, so he’s got an impressive Hebrew pedigree. The note at the beginning of his song reads as follows:

“A song to be sung to the tune ‘The Suffering of Affliction.’”

(…because that would certainly be a go-to for a Sunday morning.)

“O Lord, God of my salvation,
    I cry out to you by day.
    I come to you at night.”

Starts out okay, but kinda plays on that “out of tune instrument” from then on.

“For my life is full of troubles,
    and death draws near.
I am as good as dead,
    like a strong man with no strength left.
They have left me among the dead,
    and I lie like a corpse in a grave.
I am forgotten,
    cut off from your care.
You have thrown me into the lowest pit,
    into the darkest depths.”

ETC, etc, etc…. Then he says this.

“Can those in the grave declare your unfailing love?
    Can they proclaim your faithfulness in the place of destruction?
Can the darkness speak of your wonderful deeds?
    Can anyone in the land of forgetfulness talk about your righteousness?”

Now, c’mon, how can he talk about God forgetting him (and worse) in one breath, and in the other speak of God’s unfailing love and faithfulness, His wonderful deeds and His righteousness??

Something tells me this is more about Heman reminding himself of God’s goodness, than reminding God to take care of him. Obviously, somewhere in his past, Heman has an intimate history with the Deity of his ancestors, as well as a working knowledge of God’s unchanging character leading up to this personal crisis.  He’s hurting, but not hopeless.  He’s frustrated, but in still fanning the flames of faith.

I find it most informative, and incredibly encouraging, that God has included Heman’s depressing little song of woe in the eternal Word of the Ages, alongside “the Lord is my Shepherd”, and “I am fearfully and wonderfully made”, and “those who live in the shelter of the Most High”, and “I will lift my eyes to the hills”.  It allows me to be real with my Father Who art in Heaven, even though His name be hallowed. 

He’s got big enough shoulders to cry on.

But then, there is plenty of reason to dry the tears also.  Because, as Heman’s song shows by its very poetic construction, God’s “unfailing love, faithfulness, wonderful deeds, and righteousness” are in there, smack-dab in the middle of my mucky life situations (“grave, destruction, darkness and forgetfulness”)!

Like Heman’s predecessor and fellow hymn-writer (King David) penned, “yea, though I walk THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death, Thou art with me…” (Emphasis mine.)

And that’s something to smile about.

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Psalm 88:1,3-6,11-12 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 the broom and dust pan?

wood 2I think I used to somewhat deceive myself that once my three children flew the coup, my house would be a more organized residence.

 What a joke.

 The reality I have had to face a long time ago (and Bob has patiently and lovingly embraced this with my other idiosyncrasies) is that I am a “messy girl”.  Now, add our big, black dog to that mix, and my fur-covered carpet and floors just underscore that truth.

messy

By contrast, everywhere my folks go, improves.  Amazingly.  They are both from the builder generation, and are themselves two of the most disciplined and selfless people you could hope to find.  Continue reading “Where’s the broom and dust pan?”

M.O.N. (Mean Old Nurse)

IMG_20150103_172451138Working as a middle school nurse for many (many) years, I’ve come to expect that quite a few—or maybe even more than a few—of the young visitors who come to my office don’t actually want the services I have to offer.  Based on my assessment, they can finish their school day with a cough drop, or a Tylenol.  And, yes, I make loads of phone calls to parents just to inform them that I’ve seen their child and they might want to recheck their child’s temp that evening as, of course, things do progress.  But, for now, I send the student “BTC” (back to class). 

It does not make me popular….

…because it was not the “help” they were hoping for or expecting.  Ah, growing up is hard to do, as I check the child’s throat while fighting back my own migraine, or offering the good old staple of Saltine crackers while hiding my own stash at my desk after taking a couple of Tums that morning myself.  Life is not always as we would want it, kid; let me “help” you start figuring that out now.

Again, not exactly the help they Continue reading “M.O.N. (Mean Old Nurse)”

Dismissal time! Woo-hoo! (…but until then…)

IMG_20150103_172451138As a school nurse, (like everyone else working with kids), there are Mondays, and then there are Mondaze.  But through it all, I can always count on this—the dismissal bell. 

Here is an email response I had from my husband from his office back in 2011:

“The titles of your last two emails are telling: ‘Great Weekend’ followed by ‘Crazy Morning’.   My imagination is racing: blood dripping from the walls, a contagion that turns students into zombies (all marching lock-step toward your office), sewage backing up from the toilet in your office, a Fed Ex truck out front and a driver in the front office announcing loudly, ‘Paperwork for Dawn Jones…Where do you want all these boxes?’”

And that’s on a good Monday.

Makes it just a wee bit easier to see what the Continue reading “Dismissal time! Woo-hoo! (…but until then…)”

God’s alternate reality and the eyes of a grandchild

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Our youngest daughter and family live in Norway.  I’ve never been to Norway, never particularly had it on my list of places to visit until, of course, we found out that their first baby was going to be born. 

Bob and I have found that grandchildren have a certain unequaled pull.

They have sent us beautiful photos of Scandinavian countryside—what a marvelous place on the globe with their fjords and waterfalls, and not a little snow.  Naturally, none of that can hold a candle to the little bundle and her parents that will outshine it all.  And as much as I love pictures and video chats, it’s never the same as being there for myself, as with our first grandchild, when we could caress that little one ourselves and gaze into her occasionally waking and alert eyes. 

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So I kinda “get” what the writer of this psalm is thinking when he penned this:

Go, inspect the city of Jerusalem.
    Walk around and count the many towers.
Take note of the fortified walls,
    and tour all the citadels,
that you may describe them
    to future generations.

For that is what God is like…

I don’t think this is merely talking about taking a trip to the Holy Land, as cool as that would be with all the ancient ruins and history and such.  This is an invitation to the world to come see God’s reality, and it is to be reflected in the church.  Not the church building, for that is as impermanent as those now ancient ruins of Jerusalem were about to become in the day this psalm was written.  Instead, we are to “take note” for ourselves the Universe of God, not just the visible one He created, but the eternal one.

And it seems that the only effective way to take note of it is to go there, personally, experiencing the relationship with God and seeing/experiencing the church as He means for it to be.  (Read: not as it is frequently portrayed by His children still under construction.)  Which is a challenge for all who claim to discount Christ because of His people’s imperfections.  No, each individual is called to come and “tour all the citadels” for themselves.  It takes time and effort and not a little reallocation of resources…

…but after the long plane ride, there is Someone even more beautiful than a grandchild waiting to gaze into your eyes.

Psalm 48:12-14  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.

Not My Poetry (but I still claim it!)

quillI’m thinking that by this time, this guy Asaph was old; he’d seen a lot.  As he pours out his heart to God, you can hear his pain and frustration and confusion.  I love his raw yet respectful honesty before God.  I also love how these verses so exquisitely illustrate what Satan tries to do in our lives today, and I mean the lives of Christians, dedicated believers in Jesus.  After all, our hearts are now the Continue reading “Not My Poetry (but I still claim it!)”

I gotta question…

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What’s up with Psalm 109?  Here is this guy who is obviously being treated unfairly (welcome to life) and he’s asking God to not merely rescue him, but to lay it on thick to his enemy and their families. Seems a bit harsh. I’m addressing this specifically to some folks whose opins I respect, but welcome any other comments.  (Be nice.) If you feel your comment is too lengthy for this platform, please feel free to leave a link if you already have thoughts on this somewhere in your blog.  No obligation and not offended if you don’t have time.

Much obliged.

(PS, if you haven’t checked out these blog sites, please do.  Good stuff.)

To:

From the Inside Out

Truth in Palmyra

Learning to be Full of Grace and Truth

The Recovering Legalist

Mustard Seed Budget

Sweet Aroma

Domain for Truth

The True Light

Turkey is over!

 

turkey

I will praise the Lord as long as I live.                                                                   I will sing praises to my God with my dying breath.

Psalm 146:2 New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved