That elusive hummer

hummingbird-691483_1920I’m smiling as I write this watching a hummingbird perched on one of the feeders taking his sweet fill.  They fascinate me, and since I’m not an Audubon, I’m dependent on the research and experience of others how to attract these little guys.

Originally, I had spent a few dollars on the store-bought red stuff to put in the feeders.  That can rack up some funds over time—do you know how much these hummers eat?! Continue reading “That elusive hummer”

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Still checking the sign

Just got in about 1AM Monday morning from our grandparenting trip to beautiful Sweden, and my eyes have been feeling the seven-hour time difference.  Our number two granddaughter has been referred to by her parents as “half cowboy” (our daughter being American) and “half Viking” (our son-in-law being Swedish).  No problem—we bought the pappa an authentic cowboy hat a few years back and the momma is getting used to finding rune-stones sticking up out of nowhere in the fields. Continue reading “Still checking the sign”

What’s for breakfast?

Okay, I’m finally doing the calorie-counting thing.  As age has caught up and metabolism has slowed down, it seems that my days of eating ice cream at will are pretty well gone.  My dear mom reminisces about me coming home from school and diving into a bowl of three or four scoops.

Ah, those were the days.  And thus, I purchased a kitchen scale, and am using measuring implements consistently for the first time.  The calculator sits conspicuously on the kitchen island.  Right now, I’m working on just 2000 calories a day. One would think that would not be too difficult…ugh. Continue reading “What’s for breakfast?”

FOMO

Here’s a new one on me: FOMO, which stands for Fear Of Missing Out.  In a social context, I think it means that staying home to read a book may lead to a missed opportunity at a good party.

Typically, I’m more of a bookworm myself…

Nevertheless, people-connection is important for several reasons, albeit in varying amounts for different people.  Here’s the story of a big event back in the Old Testament—the first real Passover in a L-O-N-G time.  King Hezekiah has chucked his family culture of worshiping idols and made the decision to follow after God “wholeheartedly”.  As the party is gearing up, he sends out invitations with an interesting response:

“The runners went from town to town throughout Ephraim and Manasseh and as far as the territory of Zebulun. But most of the people just laughed at the runners and made fun of them.  However, some people from Asher, Manasseh, and Zebulun humbled themselves and went to Jerusalem.”

Hezekiah was offering them more than a good time, (which it was, BTW, and lasted two weeks minimum!)  He was summoning the people back to truth, to know and worship the one true God, and such invitations usually have mixed reactions.  Here’s what I see:

Truth is not compulsory.  These people were invited, not threatened.  Likewise, the Holy Spirit is a gentleman; He forces Himself on no one.  This is a tenant of God’s truth: coerced Christianity is an oxymoron, and historically, a tragic mistake.

Truth invites open derision.  Not a mere polite, “no, thank you”.  I should expect my fair share of it.  After all, Jesus Himself was crucified.

Truth will have a minority following.  I’m certainly not against large churches, as long as the people are taught truth.  But, related to point #1 above, since truth is offensive, it always leaves the door unlocked for those who choose to leave… 

…because following truth takes humility.  Humility is seeing myself as God see me, which is usually not how I see myself.  Humility brings me into a right relationship with my Creator.  As such, true humility is a gift.

Now here’s an interesting postscript:

“At the same time, God’s hand was on the people in the land of Judah, giving them all one heart to obey the orders of the king and his officials, who were following the word of the LORD.”

If that doesn’t demonstrate the importance of being a part of an active church fellowship, I don’t know what does!  Contrast the reaction of the people in Judah, the hub of God’s activity, the ground zero of His spiritual explosion, with the reaction of the people on the fringe who were far removed from this fellowship. 

So, here’s my last point:

Accepting truth is one thing, but stewarding that truth in my life is different matter.  We are created to need each other—encouragement, correction, support.  That whole “do not forsake the assembling of yourselves” takes on practical perspective.  In fact, the rest of the chapter is a fine example of healthy spiritual momentum, and the social part it plays in our lives.

card-1800383_1920Too bad the people who were left out of the party didn’t have a little more FOMO, because this was a gig they didn’t need to miss.

Thankfully, the invitation is still open for us.

2 Chronicles 30: 10-12  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.

Proper use of the bulldozer.

wood 2Bulldozer—now there’s a fun word!  I did a little digging (pun intended), and evidently bulldozer is a very American term, no surprise that.  Its origin is summarily inelegant, and had nothing whatsoever to do with the helpful heavy machinery we count on today.

Not long after the American Civil War and Honest Abe’s Emancipation Proclamation, racial prejudice continued (duh) in the form of intimidation tactics, which included administering a “bull’s dose” with a whip on the backs of black Americans who would not vote for a certain party.  The thugs eventually were referred to as “bull dosers” or “bull dozers”, those who cleared a path for their own ideology. (1) Continue reading “Proper use of the bulldozer.”

Just a thought

wood 2

We become like the entities we worship.

[King Ahab’s] worst outrage was worshiping idols* just as the Amorites had done—the people whom the Lord had driven out from the land ahead of the Israelites.”

*NLT note: “The Hebrew term (literally round things) probably alludes to dung.”

Too bad he didn’t know this part of the Book—

“And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them.”

‘Nuf said.

1 Kings 21:26; Psalm 135:18  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.

More than a cowboy hat

IMG_20150103_172451138When we formally met the man who was to become one of our sons-in-law, we wanted to give him “the tour” of the small Midwestern town our girls where we live and are girls grew up.  He is Swedish, but had lived and worked in both the Big Apple and sunny Cal.  However, he had not yet been initiated into rural mid-America.  Even so, he liked camo, and he wanted a cowboy hat. 

He came to the right place.

His soon-to-be sister-in-law, (daughter #2), decided it would be a good idea to devise a scavenger hunt throughout the town, hiding clues in places that would take him all over the familiar haunts including the high school, an old abandoned farm tractor who’s final resting place was behind a local grain elevator, a landmark eating establishment with the finest in traditional, heart-stopping American hamburgers and milkshakes, and the like. 

hat-2738831_1920Of course, the end point was a true-to-earth Midwest Farm and Home store, where he got to pick out his own real life cowboy hat. 

Together, they have since put on a similar “treasure hunt” for his nieces and nephews.  There’s just so much fun in watching the kids’ excitement as they follow the clues and find good stuff! 

Which gives me pause to consider that this enjoyment must have its foundation in Someone who similarly enjoys His children searching and finding.

“He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth.”

There is a thought circulating that if God is so intent on us knowing Him, why doesn’t He just make it easier, speaking more directly, personally, getting our attention more efficiently.   Allowing this new member of our family to look for and find each clue was hopefully causing a greater connection with the town (experientially) and with us (personally).  It took some time and creative energy to put that together!  And he was worth every bit of it.

Granted, God has and still could use an occasional burning bush, talking donkey, or disembodied hand writing on the wall, I suppose.  Those tend to be a bit more compelling, but not necessarily as effective toward His everyday purpose.  Which is…?

Glad you asked.

“And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.”

Eternal life—not just pie in the sky by and by, but true moment-by-moment intimacy with Creator God.  Right now.  Nothing less. 

However, the funny thing about clues is that they are easily missed unless one is actively looking for them.

“The world cannot receive him, because it isn’t looking for him and doesn’t recognize him.”

We were not about to let our daughter’s loved one miss out on even one clue, as we gathered around him to help him out, (which is a huge part of what God’s family is supposed to be doing with each other as well.)  We knew what we had waiting for him at the end of the ordeal.  crown

And so does God.  Only it’s not a cowboy hat… 

John 15:17; John 17:3  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.

Table-turning

Underdog_(animated_TV_series)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The iconic Underdog character was birthed from the mind of W. Watts Biggers. I think he intuitively knew our American mindset in this area!

Why am I always rooting for the underdog?  I love David and Goliath stories, and how the tables are turned on the bullies, whether that bully comes in the form of a person or an attitude.  Like this one: Continue reading “Table-turning”

ASSUME nothing

neuschwanstein-castle-467116_1280I’ve used this media file before, (that’s what we call it now, I suppose, at least it sounds more impressive that “picture”.) 

post
http://www.amazon.com

Media file wasn’t a phrase when Norman Rockwell was around, or if it was, it certainly wasn’t digital.  Just about everything is digital now-a-days.  I still haven’t quite figured out what that means, as opposed to analog, I mean.  Continue reading “ASSUME nothing”

Why stay hidden?

wood 2I grew up on the edge of a large Midwest city (Indianapolis).  My graduating class in high school was over 700, and I attended the main campus of a Big Ten university immediately thereafter.  I have been to visit my daughters on both coast in L.A. and the Big Apple, and accompanied my husband’s small college on a trip to London several years ago. 

crowdAll this to say, crowds don’t bother me. 

It’s not that prefer them; I don’t.  In fact, I’m writing this on my somewhat secluded patio in my comparatively sleepy small town with my quiet mutt on the pavestones as the birds sing around me.  Yes, in a way, I’m hiding.  Intentionally.  Is that so bad?

But I’m quite adept at hiding in a crowd also.  I really like not 
Continue reading “Why stay hidden?”