You’re going out like THAT?!

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I’ve used this picture before, but it’s just too darn good to not use again.  This is my husband Bob and our middle daughter on our visit to Woodstock, the (in)famous place of musical rowdiness back in the 60’s.  Bob and I married in the late 70’s, imposingbobandrobin2 brown tuxes with peach ruffle-collared shirts on the groomsmen.  My wedding dress looked like a formal Little Miss Bo Peep.  So clearly I’m not a fashionista, but after a few years of marriage, even I took the liberty to eradicate a few items from Bob’s pre-marriage wardrobe: the mauve colored polyester slacks with the brown elevator shoes with white marshmallow soles, and the slick acetate shirt…he said he was trying on a new image during that phase.

What exactly that image was is probably best left to the imagination.

For you young ‘uns, feast your eyes on Continue reading “You’re going out like THAT?!”

Superheroes loading the dishwasher

wood 2By now, some of my readers know that my husband’s blog, Pneumythology, (the name of which I came up with, BTW, just sayin’…or I guess you can blame me, whichever), has much to do with equating mythology with everyday life.  As such, he writes and reviews about graphic novels, superhero movies, and so the upcoming Wonder Wonder flick is high on the summer watch list in my house.  I’m sure there will plenty of pyrotechnics and the zinging of bullets and explosions of unrealistic proportions. pow-158867_1280

Then there’s real life.  He really does clean the bathroom and load the dishwasher.  (#he’smineyoucan’thavehim)

However, in the midst of the mundane, we both actually believe in a mythology, not in the sense of make-believe fairy tales, as in Greek and Roman trying-to-make-sense-of-nature stories.  I mean the epic, the there’s-got-to-be-more-than-I-see life, a reality the supersedes my sensate tangibles and my abilities to understand.  And, occasionally, “it” pokes through the fabric of even our ordinary humanity…

Evidently, this happened more than occasionally to Moses.

 “But when you heard the voice from the heart of the darkness, while the mountain was blazing with fire, all your tribal leaders and elders came to me. They said, ‘Look, the LORD our God has shown us his glory and greatness, and we have heard his voice from the heart of the fire. Today we have seen that God can speak to us humans, and yet we live! But now, why should we risk death again? If the LORD our God speaks to us again, we will certainly die and be consumed by this awesome fire. Can any living thing hear the voice of the living God from the heart of the fire as we did and yet survive?  Go yourself and listen to what the LORD our God says. Then come and tell us everything he tells you, and we will listen and obey.’

And if you’ve read the rest of the story, we all know how long that lasted. 

Yet, God seemed okay with this plan.  Unfortunately, the people’s historic track record with this kind of communication/obedience pattern fell pretty short.  Second-party information can sometimes be just that—information.  Head knowledge instead of heart knowledge.  “What”, instead of “how” and “why”.  Information bereft of application.  Experience without wisdom.  And all that boils down to legalism or license, both of which are deadly as poison.

Enter the new covenant, with the Holy Spirit, A.K.A., the Paraclete, translated for us as Helper.  And, boy, do we need help, especially with the application part.  At least the Hebrew people, quaking in their sandals at the foot of the mountain, had a glimpse of the power and awesomeness that they were dealing with (and probably more than a few had to clean themselves off when arriving back at their tents.)  We, unfortunately, are generally not graced with that sense of awe, but instead with a smug arrogance of self-sufficiency, even without our Christian context. Got the marching orders, thanks Lord, I’ll take it from here! (Ouch.)

We really don’t know What (Who) we’re dealing with here.  But part of the good news is—we can.

“Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.”

And part of the important news is, as a disciple of Jesus—I must. 

Because as Peter Parker’s uncle told the young and upcoming superhero Spiderman, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

Not bad wisdom for a myth.

Deuteronomy 5: 23-27; John 14:21 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.

“Can you hear me now?”

IMG_20150103_172451138Several years ago we finally went the way of modern innovation by disconnecting our land line in preference to our cell phones.  That was a big step when you consider my children themselves actually bought us an answering machine for the old phone prior to that since they “could never get a hold of” us.  Of course, Bob’s cell is of little use since he leaves it lying on the dresser in the front room…all the time.

Yes, technology comes slowly to my home.

telephone-167068_1280The challenge I have with cells phones is the inconsistency.  Depending on “the service area” and “the carrier”, calls get dropped, or can be really hard to hear.  Our eldest daughter used to live in a part of L.A. notorious for bad cell reception.  During one wild fire season, (akin to our Midwestern tornado season I am told), I received something like this:

“Hi Mom….(crzhrhhhrzzz)….fires close…(zxsssssgrrrrccrr)….heard on news, ok for now….(chrrrrrsszzarckkkkk)…..

Naturally, when something important like that is coming through, one tends to strain a little more to get the message.  I think that’s also an old teacher trick to quiet down some unruly kids; i.e., start talking more softly, and curiosity gets the best of them if nothing else.  With all the newer brain studies and neuro-imagining (talk about technology!), I’d love to see what the brain looks like when it’s really focused on something.

I figure God knew something about this magnificent piece of organic technology we call the brain (since He created it) when Jesus said this:

“To those who listen to my teaching, more understanding will be given, and they will have an abundance of knowledge. But for those who are not listening, even what little understanding they have will be taken away from them.”

Interestingly, He’s not just talking about more knowledge, but more understanding.  That is, application, and how it all fits together in the context of the larger picture.  A.K.A., wisdom.  The challenge,…no, the danger comes when I don’t discipline myself to listen, even strain if you will, because we all know in our work-a-day world of noise both external and internal, real listening is a lost art. 

To only hear the first part of that phone call from California might have set off a small panic, but focused attention to get the FULL message, even though some of the words were muffled, gave me what I needed to know.  The rest was verifiable later in a follow up phone call.

God is speaking, albeit sometimes in a “still, small voice”, that strategic teacher voice.  It’s just a matter of if I’m in a place of adequate reception.

Matthew 13:12  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.

In other words…

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A loud and cheerful greeting early in the morning will be taken as a curse!

Proverbs 27:13  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.

Frail, but Strong

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For this week’s installment of Not My Poetry, here’s a beautiful one from Peaceful Journey, a thought well worth contemplating at this time in our history.  Thank you, Yvonne, for the encouragement!

Frail, but Strong

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She stood frail while others listened attentively.

Her wisdom was beyond her physical weakness.

Many sought her to understand the world’s mysteries.

Many sought her to tap into the cistern of her spirituality.

Her frailty was only a noticeably weakness to herself.

It was certainly not an outward sign of weakness in her moral character.

She lived a life dedicated to those impoverished.

She knew the secret,

love for all mankind make you rich.

Yes, she was frail, but strong

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alove1`Yvonne L

Ice Beauty

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This is from Mitch Teemley.  Mitch keeps us smiling and chuckling with the terrific sense of humor through which he view life.  This little jewel of a poem reflects a deep sense of awareness…

Ice Beauty 

                                                 The world is born in the spring

rejoices in summer

and bundles its blessings in autumn

But only in the winter

does it learn who it is

In other words…

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Fools have no interest in understanding;
    they only want to air their own opinions.

Proverbs 18:2  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.

Compassionate haircut

IMG_20150103_172451138I think it’s not an uncommon scenario, a young mother dressing up her precious little ones in the new clothes from Grandma for a family photo only to have the 3-year old get ahold of mommy’s lipstick and use it to “paint” his little 1-year old sister.  On the way.  The baby’s face is sufficiently cleaned off, and miraculously (mercifully) none of the red “paint” got on the dress…only to have the other “end” of the situation explode, uncontainably. 

One of my personal favorite recollections is Bob coming into the room where I was napping before going to work nightshift at the hospital one evening.  He enters with this question, “Honey, do you love your middle daughter??”

Great way to wake up.

Robin had decided to give her little sister a haircut.  And I willingly leave Continue reading “Compassionate haircut”

The Wisdom of Wildflowers

garden lastI think this is called Spiderwort.  Such a weird name for such a cool plant, as I was not aware that spiders have warts—sounds like something out of Harry Potter or C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters.  It grows wild here in Missouri; you’ll find it along country roads or railroad tracks.  Since I have some in my own garden, I observed its fascinating property of opening in the cool of the morning, and closing up shop in the heat of the day.  Check it out:

It’s like this little wildflower knows its limitations and adjusts accordingly to keep itself safe and therefore more productive (and beautiful, I might add.) 

If only I had such intrinsic wisdom….

Dr. Henry Cloud, in his brilliant book, Changes That Heal, also speaks Continue reading “The Wisdom of Wildflowers”

Cold Mountain

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Cold Mountain is the popular name of the famous Chinese poet, Hanshan whose history is a bit elusive, but lived long, long ago in a place far, far away…from me, anyway.  I’m interested in the thought that his poems were written on rocks, evidently pen and paper not be available, or perhaps not invented yet.  In any case, beauty must find a way to be expressed from within its creator.  I like this verse, as it speaks to the vanity, even selfishness, of too much solitude, of not allowing your voice to be heard.  (Yet another reason I Continue reading “Cold Mountain”