Wild Life 2

Burnt Toast
  The family had gone on an outing in the big city. There was, of course, the    long         drive home after the long meeting which followed the long wait in line for the doors to open. It was late.
“What’s to eat, Mom?” With five sons in the house this was a phrase I heard regularly. Other voices chimed in; everyone wanted a snack before bed. “You can have an English.” I popped the muffin in the open toaster oven on the ledge above the stove, slammed it closed and hit the start button.
This will require getting the butter out, I thought, opening the fridge to look for other goodies as well. I turned back to see what progress the toaster was making. Oh. OH NO! What am I seeing? It can’t be. Horrors! What is that?
Through the glass window of the toaster I saw a mouse frantically running in place, trying to escape its hot prison. Demonstrating multi-tasking I screamed, hit the off button which opened the door, and ran from the room all in ten seconds or less. The smell of burnt hair permeated the kitchen. Oh, no. A toasted mouse. Aarrrgh.
The men in the family – I didn’t care who, just as long it was not involving me – removed the appliance to the porch to cool down. “I’ll never use THAT oven again!” I declared. “Baked mouse! Yuck.”
Some time later the now cleaned toaster oven was donated to a worthy cause, replaced by something that had seen neither hide nor hair, burnt or otherwise.
Life was good once more.

Suspenders

Reblogged to Stumbling Blocks and Stepping Stones.

From the Laundry Room

Age does not seem to be celebrated in this country.

Which is odd because we covet old things, just not people. Vintage is hip, as is antique or distressed furniture. We like our wines and our cheeses aged. Old buildings and classic cars are held in the highest esteem. My son collects old comic books and the woman who cuts my hair buys old estate jewelry.

We like old things and yet we don’t see value in aging or old people. We don’t want to show them off to our friends and often times lovingly restoring them takes too much time or effort. It seems in this country people just get old, put out to pasture, past their prime. Some will blame this on the fact that we are a visual society and old people are simply no longer firm and perky and pretty. We tend to look back at…

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Wow!

 

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Morning’s Musing

I was thinking that there are many things I cannot do – but, there are some things I can do.

Then: Of those, there are things which I do not do well, but there are some which I do do well.

Therefore I am exactly as it pleases The Lord.

All of the threads that have come down the generational stream contributing to the tapestry which makes up my particular DNA and person-hood play a part in defining my identity and the way I am able to give a unique expression of the glory of God. The threads are many: I pictured the Romany milking a goat, providing for his family’s needs; a seaman facing storms on open water; a stolid Dutchman in meetings attending to village matters.

In all this there is design, purpose. The scripture about the pot confronting the potter comes to mind. Accusing the potter of insufficiency is common to all of us. Why do we do this?  Rather than accepting and rejoicing that our gifts are adequate in God’s eyes, we grouse and complain, in effect accusing the Designer of All of some shortcoming. We suggest to Him that He could do better by us, giving us the gift that someone else has. In this state of dissatisfaction we then strive to become something we are not and were never intended to be.

A caveat here:  As a Christian I am in process to become the very best I can be.  “Yet, to all who received HIm, for those who believe in His name He gives the power (right) to become children of God. “ John 1:12  What a promise, what a hope! In that process we are being conformed to the image of Jesus which is a present and continuing experience. The standard then is not other people’s gifts and talents which we lack, but the standard of Jesus Christ. Excellence should be the norm for every Christ-indwelt believer. But that excellence is to the standard God has chosen for each person.IMG_1099

So I will not be a graceful dancer interpreting story through body movement. I will not be a modern day Rembrandt bringing ideas and concepts to light with paint and canvas. I will not build majestic buildings, invent better surgical procedures, create glorious symphonies. But what I do, I do well to the honor and glory of God alone. Humble as it may be, and unnoticed by the world, if I exhibit excellence in what I do, it is pleasing to God who requires nothing more from me. It is His standard which matters.

Perhaps our personal dissatisfaction is rooted in insecurity about our own value or worth.  The striving to become what we were never intended to be is a clear indicator that we have not grasped fully our true identity as cherished creations of The Lord of the universe. Coming to that understanding brings us (you) to a place of rest where striving ceases.

Hebrews 4:9   - 11  There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;
  for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his.
Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest.

John Paul Jackson, considered by many to be an elder or senior voice among the prophetic community, recently shared his testimony of being caught up to the throne room of heaven. There before the Ancient of Days, the all Powerful One, he was instantly aware that God was totally righteous, and that he, John Paul, was not. It was only the covering of Christ which kept him from being totally annihilated before that source of power.  He reports that a continual stream of light and power came out of the center – which we might call the heart or center – and with each burst the surrounding creatures and angels would erupt into cries of wonder “Holy!”  “Holy”  “Holy!!” The noise was deafening, between the continual erupting bursts and the responses of those around the throne. Translated into our present day and world what they were saying was “Wow!”  “Wow.” “Wow!!”  These were expressions of wonder at His continual revealing of new facets of Himself. They never became jaded, because the revelations were each more awesome than the other. I was reminded of the Scripture which declares that He holds up the world with His power. “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.”  Hebrews 1:3

Each eruption was another creative act. Each one elicited a “Wow!” Each was something new and truly awesome in the original meaning of that word. It is not too far a stretch to consider that with the creation of each individual – whom the Bible declares is dearly loved and highly valued – the very angels of heaven are exclaiming “Wow!” We are, all of us, made in the image of God. That image is so inexhaustible that even millions upon millions of persons display something distinctive to the glory of God. As no two snowflakes are alike, and no two magnified grains of sand are alike, so is it with His beloved crown of creation: mankind. You are so unique that the angels are “wowing” over you.

The problem is, not knowing or believing that fact causes many of His dearly loved creations to slide into a downward spiral of darkness, rebellion, and woe. The life that rejects the very Creator from which it came is soon a life of strife, a chain of pain. The spouse batterer, the drunk face down in the gutter, the trafficker in pornography have fallen far from revealing the glory of God. The “Wow” has become “Woe.”

It seems to me, therefore, that the first order of business for the church is believing the truth of our identity, teaching it, and best of all, modeling it. Learning our identity is the way into His rest. Anyone who grasps the significance of who he is, becomes changed, radically so. Moving from “woe” to “wow” he displays a clear demonstration of the gospel’s power.

Stillness

 Total stillness now, interrupted only by the cawing of crows in the sycamore down the way. In that stillness there is space and time for reflection, for listening to inner dialog. To think, to ponder, to get in touch with the self within has become a rare thing, a luxury enjoyed by too few. I become aware that I am playing with phrases, constructing and deconstructing sentences, describing even the air around me. People come to mind–family members who are struggling, friends not seen in years, those talked with just yesterday. This brings me to reflection on my own attitudes and emotions. The change, I realize, has been deep and wide. I am not now the person I was 20 years ago, 5 years ago, last month. And I like the person I am becoming. Notice the continuing present. Life is a process. When we stop growing and changing, we start dying.

1428571_45245035    I hear other birds as well. Some newcomers to the neighborhood add their unrecognized song to the surroundings. My pondering continues, now observing creative thoughts, deeper thoughts are stirring. I am struck by the great treasure that is available to everyone, the ability to process and create, bringing forth a new aspect of reality unique to them. However, a world of unceasing noise and distraction removes the stillness, that space and time of quiet in which the individual’s thoughts can take shape, to the blessing of us all. We are therefore all losers in a noisy environment. The unrealized potential creative idea that each person could bring to the world is lost to the din of the day. Our culture has trained us to be restless unless there is a steady stream of noise — the background store and elevator music, the ubiquitous TV. Headphones, iTunes, Pandora. We fear to be left alone with our thoughts; the very idea is foreign to us. In the process, we lose our true selves.

Rescue

 

11 Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter.

12 If you say, But we knew nothing about this, does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay each person according to what he has done?

Word of the day, word of the week.  This is a direct command found in Proverbs 24. It is a NOW word for the times we are in. Who is being led to death? Who are those being led to slaughter? Who are the ones who are saying “we did not know anything – nobody told us?”

Well, for starters, Christians around the globe are dying wherever they are near more than a few adherents of Islam.  Appeals for help are largely ignored by our government as well as most churches.  Some times the inaction is based on not knowing what to do,  Helplessness in the face of evil, fear for one’s own life, keeps people busy following their own  pursuits, head down, ears closed.

Keep quiet.  Don’t rock the boat. We don’t want to become targets. Maybe it will all go away.

Islam is not the only source of suffering and slaughter.  Tyrants of all and no religions continue to arise around the world, snuffing out life ruthlessly in their pursuit of power and control. Average citizens who want to live out their lives in peace get run over and run through with cruel disregard.

We don’t do that – yet – in the United States.  We just kill young life, that which does not yet have a name or Social Security number. This is done with governmental approval and financial support. The policy now is so broad that those individuals and institutions which refuse to participate in causing death are penalized and threatened with imprisonment. At the other end of the time line, laws are now in place which deny persons over age 70 the right to corrective intervention in case of brain bleed or stroke.  That which could be done to heal and restore is no longer allowed; the written mandate is “comfort care only.”

NOW is the time to speak up. NOW is the time to do something, anything to resist this culture of death.  As a nation we are careening downhill to chaos. I have been too long silent.  First, it is time to repent for all our whistling past the graveyard. We have looked with horror at the Holocaust of the 1940’s, ignoring the 21st century holocaust around us. We have judged those who did not speak up while Jews were being led away to slaughter, yet we are no different in our failure to speak up against the abortion business and some of the odious parts of the new “health care” act. Perhaps it is not too late to find mercy and forgiveness for our inaction. Perhaps it is not too late.

How many voices are needed to convince a congress person we are serious?  What does it take to stop a juggernaut in its tracks? It is a huge challenge, yet we are told in this passage of scripture we MUST do what we can to stop the evil we DO know about.

Now, not tomorrow. Writing this is for me a beginning step. I can keep silent no longer. We must turn back the tide that is close to sweeping us away. Now.

Wild Life

Wild Life Part 1

It was a standard, run-of-the-mill high energy morning, although not as frantic as it had been when Dean and Mark were still home. My husband was already at the office; the youngest son, Alan, had gone out to catch his bus – wait! Did he remember his lunch? I didn’t want to make a trek to the school with it.  Again.  “Keith! Kevin! Get down here for breakfast or you will be late. You don’t want having to go see Mr. Jones.” He was the ‘cop on the beat’ otherwise known as the high school vice-principal. Short and stocky, he had the manner of a former Marine. They had already received warnings for being late a time or two before and were rather well known in the school office.

I went into the pantry to put away the cereal boxes, flipping the light as I went. EEK! AACCCK!  What was that?  What WAS that? Something had darted by my feet. Something alive was running around in there! The pantry in that somewhat old house was large enough to have its own window, a tall broom cupboard for cleaning equipment and lots of space for kitchen storage. There were cabinets below and shelves above. It was a wonderfully useful catchall. And now it had a living creature in it.

Like any normal woman, I screamed. A mouse! There’s a mouse in there and now he has disappeared.  Get him out!  Do something. I slammed the door to the pantry and gave stern orders to the twins who had come running. You have to get him out. Never mind about school; it will wait. Of course, when crises come, husband is at work or out of town. This time was no different. I had to rely on two 15 year olds.

He had vanished. The boys pulled out every item, looked behind, above, under. What in the world could have happened to him? Where could he be hiding? There would be no joy in Mudville if he were not located. Then, desperate to get this over with so they could get to school, one of them thought to check the vacuum sweeper. Aha. That little furry felon had scooted up into the dust bag for safety and promptly succumbed in the accumulated sweepings. With manly victory in the battle of woman vs. beast, the boys were now very late for school. My pulse and respiration coming back to normal, I wrote an excuse note and sent them off.

Mr. Jones, with his dark rimmed glasses and military hair cut, greeted them. “Late again, Millers.” His voice was stern. “Do you have a note?”  He unfolded it and began to read.
With his head still down, he looked up over the rim of his glasses, first at one and then the other, then back at the note. “This one, for once, I actually believe. Get out of here and get to your class!”