Reuben, more than a sandwich

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Jacob’s progeny was an unruly bunch.  Our dysfunctional society has nothing on them, and Jacob’s in particular reads like a trashy dime-store novel.  Of course, having two official wives and two sort-of wives probably didn’t help much.  So let’s start with the first born, who’s name is immortalized in the rye and sauerkraut sandwich, Reuben.

This hot-blooded young man had a one-night stand with one of his father’s sort-of wives (i.e., his step-mother), eventually getting him booted out of line for the first-born blessing rights, which was a really big deal back in those days.  (Jacob would have known that, having maneuvered the same kind Continue reading “Reuben, more than a sandwich”

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The capstone of nine months

IMG_20150103_172451138As I begin this post, our youngest daughter is in the birthing process with their first child.  She called last night around 1:30AM (their time) to say that the dam had broken, but were home from the hospital with the injunction to “try and get some sleep”.

Yeah, right.  A separate human being is trying to push her way into the world through your body, and you’re supposed to “get some sleep”. 

Last report is that the contractions are getting more regular.  Of course, their bags are packed, and my son-in-law has been the one “nesting” by changing all the lights in their small apartment so that they can be turned on and off by a phone app, by rotating the tires on the car, etc…we love him.

And yet, even though he will experience everything he can as our own baby girl goes through this process, no one can really Continue reading “The capstone of nine months”

Definitely graphic, but not novel.

IWAA7I love birds.  Not like Audubons love birds, but Bob and I do own a cheap pair of field glasses and a nice Peterson’s Guide.  Here in southern MO, we live in a fly-over zone, and also near a conservation area, so we’re just geeky enough to enjoy a “date” seeing how many avians we can identify.  Our day is made if we are visited by a bald eagle or a close up view of a gaggle of something. 

Listening to Jesus, one would think that His Father was pretty keen Continue reading “Definitely graphic, but not novel.”

Never waste a good compost

garden lastIt’s an uncharacteristically warm day in winter, so I’ll need to go out and turn the compost.  Now, that might not sound too exciting, unless you see it with a little vision (or a lot, depending on your perspective, I suppose…)  My heavy-duty fork and I have an interesting relationship—I supply the muscle but it touches the biologicals.  It’s work, but I’m hoping a good harvest this coming summer. 

Which is nothing compared to the work in this account…

Backstory: What little was left of the Continue reading “Never waste a good compost”

T-i-m-b-e-r!!!!

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Before writing this, I just mowed and trimmed the yard.  Instead of a “rider” we have a push mower, (well, alright, gas powered, not the kind your great-grandfather used, which was the REAL push mower).  And I was having issues with my trimmer, (okay, it’s also gas powered, not the hand clippers I used as a kid…)  And it was Missouri-summer HOT and HUMID! 

Whine, whine, whine.

That’s kind of what a couple of the Hebrew tribes sounded like when they came to Joshua as the nation of Israel was settling into the long-awaited Promised Land—

“The descendants of Joseph came to Joshua and asked, ‘Why have you given us only one portion of land as our homeland when the LORD has blessed us with so many people?’  Joshua replied, ‘If there are so many of you, and if the hill country of Ephraim is not large enough for you, clear out land for yourselves in the forest…’   The descendants of Joseph responded, ‘It’s true that the hill country is not large enough for us. But all the Canaanites in the lowlands have iron chariots,…They are too strong for us.’”

At first, it does sound a little like whining, but to their credit, these leaders had made a proper assessment of their current situation and resources; they were being honest. 

“Then Joshua said to…the descendants of Joseph, ‘Since you are so large and strong, you will be given more than one portion.  The forests of the hill country will be yours as well. Clear as much of the land as you wish, and take possession of its farthest corners.’”

Bringing that honesty to the Lord (via Joshua, since we’re talking Old Testament), the people were initially given the direction they needed…

 …but they were going to have to work hard for it. Then check out what Joshua says next (this is so cool)—

“And you will drive out the Canaanites from the valleys, too, even though they are strong and have iron chariots.”

Bringing that honesty to the Lord, they were then given the needed encouragement to make it happen.

God has allotted certain things to us, which includes our deliverance from the clutches of sin.  He wants that abundant life to flow from us to others (as I have to remind myself, it’s not just about “me”).  Because of Christ, I have too much in me to be penned in by my puny circumstances, not when God has forested hills and open valleys for me to expand into. 

…but I’m going to have to work hard for it.

I’m expected and designed to work hard.  Spiritual battle is not fun.  Clearing out the wood from the hills (past experiences, regrets, and my own “personal demons”) and the iron chariots from the valleys (Satan’s demons, since they like to hang around my warning-sign-304370_1280garbage), can be a daunting business.  Messy, too.  Definitely not a one-man job, but neither was it for the tribe of Israelites who needed to expand. 

So I should sharpen my axe and stop whining.

Joshua 17: 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 so bird-brained?

IWAA7The Seed Lady has returned!  At least, that’s what Bob calls me.  No, actually that’s what he says the birds call me.  Although I have been grossly neglectful of keeping the several feeders filled for quite a long time now, I have finally gotten my act together in the hopes that the grackles and starlings stay away. 

Yes, I am somewhat discriminatory about my birdseed…bird feeder

My husband, the bio-prof, says that the avian brain is basically a visual cortex, or as his brother, the business major, interpreted, “see bug, eat bug.”  Gleefully, I noticed that a mommy cardinal chose to grace my eating establishment with her morning presence! Sparrows came by also to test the menu. How cool, after all this time, I give them food, and somehow they find it. To paraphrase Kevin Costner, “if you feed them, they will come…”  

Even so, I’m impressed by the birds’ innate Continue reading “Not so bird-brained?”

Out of the mouths of babes…

why-meditating-on-christ-helps-us-fight-sinOne of my bloggin’ buddies, Slim Jim, has started a new series which I call “Post-It Note Theology”, based on the above picture which I have also stolen from his most worthy and informative site.   He certainly has longer, more in-depth treatments of Christian apologetics and other scholarly things, but I likewise appreciate these spiritual sound bytes for my brain!  To my exceptionally non-techno mind, a sound byte is like a food bite. It’s not enough to fill me up and sustain me indefinitely, but it gives me something to chew on and draw me back for more.
Here’s his most recent tidbit:

As we adore Him, we abhor sin.

As several of us were sitting around his blogging meal and began sampling this morsel, the digital table conversation began.  Here is a part, (and their websites are pretty cool also):

Nice. Fill our minds with the things of God, and no room left for the things of Satan. This is a time when limited brain power is quite useful. Space is limited, so no room for the garbage if I put the right stuff in. Good reminder, Brother Jim, thanks.

Good point Wally…I for one have so much useless garbage stored in my brain that I must delete something in order to make room for more…Should I tell another joke before hitting the delete button? :)

LOL, Patrick, what you said makes perfect sense to me. My storage is limited, so if I use it for God, not as much is left over for the devil. And yes, keep on with the jokes. Your cheesy jokes are a high point of my day usually.

I am reminded of Romans 2:4. It was the quality of God’s character that made me want to give up certain thoughts and actions. They simply didn’t compare well, and they got in the way of what I really wanted. Thank you for the memory prompt.

Interestingly, I was just considering myself how we tend to “fill up on junk food” that may taste good at first (and who doesn’t like a double-scoop cone this time of the summer??) but which is actually pretty bad for you, especially compared to real food.

Real food.  Sustaining.  Which is what adoration is, actually.  A disciplined steady diet of thinking about the love of my life, (well, yes, Bob, that’s you, but I mean….), the One Who gave His life to give me mine back.

And like the future food critic says in this vid, “Umm, ummm! Delicious!”

 

Frog legs for dinner…again?

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280Call me weird (and it’s okay, probably others already have) but I LOVE frogs and lizards and snakes and turtles.  I’ve been known to find fascinating specimens in our yard during early morning gardening, and taken it in to visit my husband who is still in bed. 

As I said…weird.

frog-540812_1280But definitely one of my favorites would be the croaking/jumping beastie.  They come in all sizes and colors, and they sing me to sleep on summer nights.  I don’t know the difference between frogs and toads, and I don’t particularly care; that’s my biology-teacher husband’s department.  But it’s just always a treasure to find them and hold them, to which Bob (the soft-hearted nature-loving guy that he is) always says, “put him down, he’s a scared little creature!”

That said, I will qualify my love of all things herpetologic by adding that I Continue reading “Frog legs for dinner…again?”

Different sin–same offering

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I don’t know who came up with the idea of a “white lie”, as if whitewashing something gives it an air of purity.  Let me tell you about white—I’m from the old-school nursing profession that wore white everything.  White uniform, white cap, white hose (yes, hose), white shoes.  You know what WHITE does?  It accentuates every little spot, highlights any little stain or imperfection.  I suppose it looks clean; it just doesn’t always stay clean for very long.

Really, there is nothing purely innocent about a “white” lie.  It may quite likely show situational dirt at some point.  And yes, I’m guilty as, you know,…sin.  However, the hidden deception of grading our “sins” is actually more insidious and viral than simply being caught.  It is more in the false perception that I’m “not as bad as…” or conversely, that I’m “worse than…”  Then there’s always the corollary, “I could never…”  (NEWS FLASH!  If you have the human genome, then yes, you could.)

So I find this little information from the book of Numbers, buried and seldom read, quite encouraging:

As the recently freed Hebrew nation is getting ready to continue their trip to the Promised Land, a leader from each of the twelve Israelite clans now brings a “dedication” offering to the recently completed tabernacle.  This is interesting, because they had just taken a census of the people, and regardless of the size of each clan, the prescribed (and very expensive) offering was the same.  Each tribal offering included:

  • A silver platter and silver basin (of prescribed weights) both filled with choice flour and olive oil
  • A gold container filled with incense,
  • A 21-piece set of certain livestock, (see Numbers 7:13-17)

As mentioned, the dedication offering for each tribe was identical regardless of the “size” of that particular community. 

I see this a just another clue embedded within God’s Word about the coming of the promised Messiah: Regardless of how “bad” or how “many” our sins may be, the offering is always the same—the sacrifice of Jesus.  Dear reader, you don’t need any more (or any less!) of His blood than I do. Jesus paid it all.

He is also the reason for THIS season.cross-66700_1920

Skunk, by any other name, would smell…badly.

IMG_20150103_172451138Epistemology.  Hermeneutics. Higher and lower textual criticism.  Big words that describe the study (in one sense or another) of God, trying to answer questions like: Does God exist?  What is He like?

I would like to posit my additional contribution to the discussion: Humor.  Who but a creatively funny Deity could conceptualize the duckbill platypus?  I see Adam now, while he was naming all the animals:

 picgood.com
picgood.com

“What was He thinking??”  (Adam’s reaction, however, is unfortunately not recorded.)

Here’s another example: the skunk.  Who else would have the sense of humor to create an animal whose main self-defense was to assault the olfactory nerve of its antagonist?? 

(I wonder if this was also the occasion of the first expletive, post-Garden, of course…)

Several years ago, my husband and I were out for a summer’s evening stroll in the Continue reading “Skunk, by any other name, would smell…badly.”