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Thanks for stopping by, whether you got here by a link or hitting "next blog" -- I am glad you are here. I've also done some writing on homeschooling, and what I learned thinking I was teaching.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Gardening Update:


It’s not that I understand the Bible better reading outside in the morning – I think I hear better – even with muffled sounds of the toll way and Love Field’s air traffic.  So, when I settled into my comfy outdoor chair, coffee in hand, I was not disappointed when I heard from the Lord – but I was startled.  

What startled me was what I did not see. 

 When I opened my Bible to begin a review of Deuteronomy, I could see the pages were filled with underlined words or whole verses; pithy notes; quotes; comments and cross-references colorfully marked; testifying how often I studied Deuteronomy!  There, right in front of me in black and white – and red and blue and green – the reminders of clear instruction – care -- and warning.  

God didn’t choose Israel because of her worthiness.
God hated the wickedness of the other nations.
God did not want His people to embrace their ways, or their religions.
God wanted Israel to show His greatness in all they did and said -- And 
God is faithful  
The Evidence

Then, I saw what I hadn’t noted in previous study:  God’s indictment of His people’s conduct -- their constant grumbling, and persistent willfulness – observations about Israel that apply to me. In Deuteronomy 1:27 no marks reminded me  that God hears me “grumbling in my tent.”  Nor, had I underlined what God told Moses to tell the Israelites: I spoke to you, but you would not listen. (Deut. 1:43, emphasis added) Had I never see a connection to me? 

These may seem mild compared to Israel’s later failures – but they are the very seeds from which so much bitter fruit grew. Discontent with God’s way and preferring my own course to His are ruinous roots that wreck my autumn’s garden. And they wreck many other seniors’ gardens when we imagine our age allows us special privileges.  

The older we get, the more we may feel we have the right to speak our mind, and to do as we please. Babies may get away with it, but people who complain and refuse to take directions are hard to be around, especially in old age.  Scripture never grants that right to any saint – no matter how senior -- to be unrestrained. God did not excuse Moses’ outburst of temper.  He won't excuse mine. His ear is attuned to my grumbling and His eye to my failure to represent Him. He saw Israel’s willfulness, and He won’t stop overseeing me in my golden years. 
Note: Trash Can
Reading through Moses’ last sermons to God’s people reminds me that God still has work for old people. He expects obedience and restraint from the elderly – and what He expects, He enables: 

“Listen to me, descendants of Jacob,
    all you who remain in Israel.
I have cared for you since you were born.
    Yes, I carried you before you were born.
I will be your God throughout your lifetime—
    until your hair is white with age.
I made you, and I will care for you.
    I will carry you along and save you." (Isaiah 46:3-5)

The sad reality though is how many old people have never heard the Gospel of grace, and feel trapped in the terrifying twilight of their years. This need not be so! 

Who will go for us asked the Lord of Isaiah --- Those of us who can, may go – and offer friendship and encouragement; those of us who aren’t as mobile can pray. Pick up a tool, while the light remains – the harvest might look white for more than one reason! (John 4:35) And quit kvetching!  

Even in old age they will still produce fruit;
    they will remain vital and green.
They will declare, “The Lord is just!
    He is my rock!
    There is no evil in him!” (Psalm 92)



Also See: 

The Week Begins – April 29 last year. 


1st ROSES 2014!




Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cleaning Up the Outside

What I did today I sometimes put off until the first of June in Maryland—that is, cleaning up the outside seating area. But pollen and tree gunk seem to arrive earlier in Dallas. So, I swept and dusted and hosed down the back porch – and edited a few more pots, before planting a hosta and a drought resistant something or other.

Tomorrow, begins summer morning reading outside, albeit two months ahead of June 21. Sometimes it was June before I could sit outside comfortably in Maryland.

De-pollened, Dusted and Ready for Action!

Thursday Morning Bible Study ends this coming week – it has been another watershed year.  We studied the life of Moses recorded in Exodus, Leviticus Numbers and Deuteronomy and a few New Testament cross-references. He was an old man when he answered a call that changed Moses and the world – literally.

Because God said – This is the way I want you to live, behave and believe – Moses went from a murderer on the run to a man who spoke with God face to face.  

Yet, the voice that seems to dominate is the one that asks, did God say ____?
Looking all around – from neighbors and friends, to nightly news, etc. – the pain and problems, 

. . . the air quality in my spirit stumbles into a downward spiral. My prayers get smaller. My dreams get pared down and my visions get a reality check. The smog of intimidation begins to infect even the Most Holy Place. (The Smog of Intimidation)

That’s why just being able to move this morning and do something about brightening up a space was a tonic. And the above “Snap Out of It!” meditation jerked me out of the remorse, fear, depression that settle on my heart the way the pollen and gunk coated my comfy outdoor chairs and table.

Just taking a broom in hand was exhilarating – and seeing the spiffy spot all primed and ready for me tomorrow – reminds me that Christ said He is at work even today preparing a place from me – and thee – where rust and moth, pollen and dust, will not be a problem.   

Hope the mosquitoes sleep in.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Refreshing my Purpose


Planning a family meal on Easter was a lot of work – it usually took most of Saturday, and another hour or so Sunday morning. I made the same menu for many years from Southern Living Party Cookbook: Leg of lamb in pastry, a rice casserole, fresh asparagus, and a salad.  Some years were more successful than others. When I cooked, Doug dutifully dyed eggs with the kids – and hid them in the yard early next morning. 
Trusty Kitchen GUIDE

Just like the memories of orchestrating so many Thanksgiving dinners, these recollections of Easter dinners make me want to remember who was there:  For several years, it seemed like we had a minimum of 10 or 12 for a leisurely lunch. My mother was a guest most years, Doug’s father came occasionally, Doug’s aunt and his cousins, and other friends also joined our family and were later drafted into hunting eggs, and then re-hiding them. Every so often, I’d find an especially well-hidden one when putting in plants later in May. (No rats!)

Clean up often carried over until Monday.

Freed now from so many responsibilities, I wonder what being a grateful guest means.    

Heather Holleman in a recent blog gave me a concrete task: Be the Spoon. 

No matter how tasty a dish looks, without a serving piece, who can properly sample it? For many people gathering around this holiday's table, Christ may be as perplexing to them as access to appetizing food is without spoons. 

Christianity feels this way to so many people; they can't get into the Promised Land because they're missing a way to access it. They hover about it all, but they don't know how to enjoy it. They need spoons.”  Live With Flair

So, here’s one serving spoon:

But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
My God shall raise me up, I trust
.  ~Walter Raleigh

What would yours look like?


Monday, April 14, 2014

My Affect on the Weather


Mary Engelbreit 
Last week’s warm weather spurred me to switch out the warm duds with lighter weight apparel. Within 36 hours, the weather took toke note of the change, and temperatures plunged 20+ degrees – in fact, a freeze is forecast for points north of Dallas. It’s never my intention to bring cold weather back, yet seemingly without fail, when I fiddle about in the closets – the temperatures plummet or rise, depending on the season.

Am I a woman of influence or what?

Hardly.

The influence I wielded was not chilling the hopes of those longing for spring – but bringing order and comfort into my own life – and a visual reminder I still am the princess of quite a lot.

So, what am I doing today with so much?  First, remembering that the moments of this day though dressed in chilly gray are mine to spend – many folks do not have this freedom. Second, forbearance and compassion that I offer may be that cup of cold water somebody close to me needs. And third, what I have is only on loan.   

·      The time will come when winter will ask you what you were doing all summer. 
     ~Henry Clay

·      What is right is often forgotten by what is convenient.  
    ~Bodie Thoene, Warsaw Requiem

It’s Holy Week – a big celebration on the church calendar, remembering God’s unique gift.  It’s a good time to make the spiritual truth of new life concrete* – People close by and far away may need just a little help –along with cold water. Maybe it’s time to give: gently used clothing, household goods, children’s games, our time, or our time and money. 

Here a few links that might revive our passion for giving and our determination to manage our resources wisely:

·      WORLD VISION
·      Samaritan’s Purse  
·      The Salvation Army

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Painting is Preferable to Pioneering, I Think

Marrying a Texan meant learning about Bluebonnets. The bluebonnet is to Texas what the shamrock is to Ireland, the lily is to France, the tulip is Holland. (Jack Maguire, Historian ~  Texas Bluebonnet Sightings)

For many years, I never saw one, since our trips to Texas never coincided with their flowering. I gathered their fragility and beauty from paintings – especially by JulianOnderdonk and W.A. Slaughter. Over the past years, I have only seen sightings as we whizzed along some highway. Today, we went bluebonnet hunting in Ennis Texas. 

Small Texas towns are neat – reminding me of small towns in Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore. Today, Ennis turned its Main Street into a promenade of booths where Texas artists, crafters, cooks and hobbyists sold their wares, whetting our appetite for First Monday in Canton, TX. 
 
Ennis TX A While Back
No, bluebonnets don’t grow in town. So, after sampling grilled cactus tacos, we headed off to roads marked as good vantage points to perhaps catch a glimpse of  has inspired Texas painters for a century.  Even though Ennis is small, its outskirts unfold for miles. We drove past a few sprawling ranches, seeing Black Angus cattle, horses, and several acres of recently ploughed black land prairie. What would the first settlers have thought seeing what we saw, unencumbered by telephone poles, fences, houses and highways?


Vista Cropped

I am glad I wasn’t one of them, lovely as the imagine vista was – it was good to speed back to Big D in air-conditioned comfort, sipping ice water and listening to Prairie Home Companion.
 

I may not have much of a pioneering spirit – but I wish did have Mr. Onderdonk’s or Mr. Slaughter’s talent, though – however, recapturing this wonderful day’s scenery may be my next painting!
A Possibility?  

Me Trying to Snap Doug Snapping Bluebonnets! 


Saturday, April 5, 2014

RAT-TLED?

My Rat-tled Buggy
It’s taken a few days to wrap my brain around what happened. A few days ago, I started my car and a yellow “Check Engine” sign flashed on, and would not turn off. I switched cars quickly with Doug and left him to cope with the problem – Thank you Doug!

When he was told what it was, both he and I were flabbergasted.

Rats had chewed through the electrical harness of my car.

(Oh, have I not mention rats are a problem in our neighborhood? That’s another story. And yes, Doug’s car go will for a check-up!)

Rodents wreaking havoc under the hood is not uncommon, whether one’s car is parked in the open or in a garage.  Repairing the damage will be expensive and time-consuming; we hope between our insurance and pest control policies, we may enjoy some financial relief – Thank God for people who know what to do! And thank you God neither of us were on a major highway when the electrical connection failed!

Imagining nasty critters furtively feasting on the engine parts of my car is unsettling. But it’s a good visual for how I feel about what’s going on in the world, our nation and the ever-unpredictable adventures in the “Golden years.”  If the car’s problems are a metaphor, something is gnawing at our collective common sense and our national engine’s light is warning us to get it checked!  And aging sure seems like a race against keeping the rats out of my chassis and the squirrels out of my brain!

Remaining vigilant so that we do not again provide a feeding opportunity for whatever it is that has a taste for auto-innards is a skill and duty we must both acquire.  God willing, we both can stay on duty, minding our habits, attitudes, and words – it’s privilege often denied to many. I’m just glad for the Mechanic who promised to remain on duty, and knows what to do when all the connections I take for granted fail.   Isaiah 46:3-5



FYI:

Thank to my friend Marty whose question generated the title, when she heard about this mess: “Are you rat-tled?”