Monday, January 26, 2015


I hear Your call to service. I love the sound of Your voice. That You would call me (I can tell the summons is personal), warms my heart. I so want to please You after all the love you have shown to me.

And yet, I hesitate, sensing an inner resistance that appalls and embarrasses me. I know that You know my struggle. I want to render this service, to honor and obey this special calling, but....

I've know others who have answered this type of call. My mother cared for her mother for many years, and then she cared for my ailing father for years --- YEARS. She labored hidden away in our home while her friends went on cruises and trips to Germany and France and Florida.

I've seen the ads. "Your gift to the Wounded Warriors Fund is so important to these soldiers and their families." Then the caregiver wife comes on camera and says, "The hardest part is when you think you have been forgotten and are all alone."

Servant-hood demands self-sacrifice, the ultimate sacrifice really; dying to self, being able to say, "ALL of You, Lord and NONE of me."

Can I do that? Can I even conceive of what that might take? I suspect that I can, and that is the reason for my reluctance to answer this particular call, this one that feels so opposite the call that Isaiah answered so readily with the memorable, "Here am I, send me, send me!"

Isaiah heard You ask, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us?" What I hear You asking is, "Who can I find to stay here and do the daily, routine, unexciting (and sometimes exhausting) things while others go. Someone has to do the grunt work, and I chose you."

"I come among you as one Who serves," says the suffering Savior after washing the disciples' feet. "Go and do likewise."



Thursday, January 22, 2015

Heartfelt Prayer for Life

Heavenly Father,
Lord and Giver of Life,

Forgive our nation the great sin of killing the unborn. Forgive those who protect this law because they are afraid that standing up for what they know is right might cost them an election. Help us to find and elect brave candidates that keep their word.

Comfort women who have fallen prey to Satan's lie that ending a life is a harmless solution to their distress. Give them the full assurance of your love for them and for their child.

Until then, be with all babies that suffer and die under the knife and vacuum of the abortionist. Comfort them in their travail. Until Your will is done on earth as it is in heaven, help us stay faithful to your word and fight for life at every age.

In the name of Jesus, who loves the little children,

Monday, January 19, 2015

Pass it On

Our family gets together on the Fourth of July weekend at our church camp to enjoy each others' fellowship, and to practice singing. Then we sing at a church on Sunday, so that once a year we once again become the Klemp Family Singers. This year we picked up where we left off three years ago, having missed two summers, one for a wider family reunion and the next summer for a wedding.

As we began singing in that first rehearsal, we realized that while all of our eight children were there, many of our older grandchildren were missing. We knew that, of course. They had jobs, music camp, etc., but we always assumed that the kids familiar with the music would bring the younger ones along. Instead the oldest row of sopranos (there were three adult voices) included one grandchild aged 13 and then it dropped to 11-year-olds on down. They kept turning around and looking at us with bewilderment as each song arrived. They were having trouble reading choir music. Each song seemed to be a new song.

About three songs in  it finally dawned on us. Having missed the past two years, the last time we sang this crop of grandchildren included one 11 year old with all the rest being 9 or younger. Other years we did not worry about the little ones. They did fine following the older cousins' leads, but now the "little ones" were the leaders, and barely remembered the songs!!

Well, they have Klemp Family Singer blood, and I am happy to report that five rehearsals later they knew the music and all went well.

Every Christmas I remind myself of the importance of Parochial school and Sunday school Christmas programs; the importance of playing and singing Christian  music in our homes. What are well known and loved songs to us are not known at all by our children until we teach them to them. Never assume "common knowledge". Things become "common to the community" only when passed down faithfully by you and me.

 "These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates." Deuteronomy 6: 6-9

Friday, January 16, 2015

Viva la France!

I just read an online article by a Christian young man from France. He tells how the churches in Paris, far from being empty and up for sale, are full every Sunday, standing room only in many cases (or sitting on the floor room if you will). You can read it here:

 Could it be that there is a Christian revival going on in France?  My son, Matt, went to Paris for a month for an interim class when he was in college. While he was there he was assigned a young Frenchman who was to be his mentor in the French language. (Matt claimed the guy usually wanted to practice his English on Matt, so he did not get much French language help from that quarter.)  Anyway, this young man kept questioning Matt about why he went to church. He said he had never met anyone who went to church every week, and was fascinated by the idea that anyone would actually do so.

Matt is now in the process of raising a young family, just like the author of the above article who tells how his friends and their young families have returned to the church and are fully engaged in it's teachings.

I wonder if Matt's mentor is among that group. I pray so. Pray for the Christians of France!!!

Who knew?

"I was glad when they said to me, "Let us go to the house of the LORD." Psalm 122:1

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tarnished Treasure

It's interesting how much of my life I spent wanting, and acquiring things, and then, at least for me, how surprised I am to hit a time when those things seem to be more of a drag than a blessing. I want to downsize. I dream of a home that shelters only things that I really love. I'd settle for  feeling that way about my closet!

There has to be some deep seated reason why getting rid of "stuff" makes me nervous. I just sent a curb-full of unwanted things to a charity, and feel nothing but a sense of relief that they are gone. Even so, it took a lot of energy and angst to get them to that curb in the first place. Intellectually, I know I can replace anything I gave up but find I still need. Intellectually, it makes sense for the store to "store" it for me instead of me storing it for some future use. But emotionally, it will seem foolhardy to have to buy something I already had in my possession. Emotionally, I wonder if I am making a mistake.

Lots of people feel this way. I know others, too, struggle to downsize.

"Good luck you guys!"

"But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Matthew 6: 20-21

Sunday, January 11, 2015


Instead of watching TV tonight I read to Paul from a book  I checked out of the church library this morning, Clippings From My Notebook by Corrie ten Boom. She was quite the lady. She and her sister, Betsie were sent to a Nazi concentration camp during WWII for hiding Jews in their home. Her sister died at the camp, but Corrie was released a short time later due to a clerical error. After her release she went all over the world teaching that God's love through Jesus Christ reaches into the most horrible places and holds us up.

Anyway, there was one chapter in this book that addressed the problem of anxiety and worry.

This paragraph hit me between the eyes.

"We imagine that a little anxiety and worry are indications of how wise we are. We think we see the dangers of life clearly. In reality, however, our fears are only an indication of how wicked we really are.

As Charles G. Trumbull says,

'Worry is sin; a black, murderous, God-defying, Christ-rejecting sin; worry about anything at any time whatever. We will never know victory over worry and anxiety until we begin to treat it as sin. for such it is. It is a deep-seated distrust of the Father, who assures us again and again that even the falling sparrow is in His tender care.'"

Whoa. Hold on a minute, that seems pretty strong...until you think about it.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

No Smoke, No Fire

My life is pretty mellow right now, so I was wondering what to blog about today. Sometimes you create your own excitement. Just as I got to the "Y" to swim it dawned on me that I had put a piece of frozen roast into the crockpot on low an hour or so earlier.

The problem was that I just set it right in the pot, plastic bag and all, intending to empty the bag before I left the house. Paul would have no idea what was causing the fire alarm to go off, which I was sure would be the case when the plastic began to melt and burn.  I usually swim a half mile when I go swimming. It takes me about a half an hour. Today I set a fourth-mile record of ten minutes, and still made it home before anything dire happened. The bag was really hot, but no melting. I don't think that is where the term "melting pot" came from, but another 30 minutes or so might have given it new meaning!

The Bible says to cast your cares upon Him for He cares for you. I was praying all the way home that I would not find an alarmed husband and a smoke-filled house.  Instead, Paul was resting in his chair, unaware of any pending disaster, and the meat was nicely thawed (as was my original intention.) All was well.

Today's events reminded me of the story of the man who was recounting a horrible accident to a friend. He told how he and his whole family were in the car when they slid off the road on a sharp curve and though the car rolled twice neither he nor his passengers were hurt. The friend responded with an even better story about that strip of the road. "I've been driving to and from work on that very road for thirty years and I have never had an accident of any kind at that curve!"

 God's grace is sometimes overlooked when He averts disaster, but that is when we should be most grateful!!

Nothing happened here. Thank Goodness!! (God is our Goodness)


Friday, January 09, 2015

In The Early Morning

My daughter, Sarah, and son-in-law, Brian, are on a four day ski trip. Our thermometer read -4 degrees this morning, and they are a couple hundred miles north of here, so I'm not sure how much skiing they will do in this bitter cold. She has 3 school-age children, the oldest in third grade. Their other grandma graciously offered to take care of them while she and Brian are gone. The kids go to a parochial school, so that means no busing, so I offered to do the shuttling from school and back, all in all about an hours driving for me.

Anyway, having to be at Cathy's place to get them this morning and then have them to school by 8 am meant that I was up at 6:30 am. Not a big deal for many of you, but I am retired and have always been a night-owl, so I am rarely up that early. In fact I worked the night shift for many years because my biological clock did not rebel.

Getting the occasional  glimpse into the early hours of the day is quite a revelation. First of all, I had no idea so many were already up. (As one of my night-owl friends complained  as we waited for breakfast in a long cafeteria line, "Why does everyone get up the same morning I do?")

In the Bible the Psalmist glories in meeting with his Lord before the day completely unfolds.

"In the early morning, with the sun's first rays.
All God's little children thank and pray and praise."

My little sisters sang  that sweet song at a talent fest we attended more than 50 years ago, and the sound echoes in my ears at this very moment. It almost makes me want to be an early riser more often. (I read about a woman who made a New's Year's resolution to be up and dressed with full make-up on by 6am every day. She said she quit because she got tired of her make-up smearing when she went back to bed.)

We'll see.


Thursday, January 08, 2015

The Best Construction

Well, I surprised myself and got all the Christmas decorations down in one day. As in other parts of life deconstruction was far easier than construction. There is far less care in un-stringing the lights from the tree than in securing each strand to complement the one next to it. Nothing has to be "just so". I did not carefully select which decorations to put away, I simply put the all the carefully selected decorations back where they came from. It was kind of sad to see how quickly all that beauty could be ripped from the house compared to how long it took me to decorate.

 I found the task of decorating more rewarding than the task of taking things down. This is something I need to remember when I am offered the chance to pass on a piece of gossip that can destroy someone's good name. The Bible says to put the best construction on everything, lest we destroy something or someone with a careless word. We all mess up. Someone who has had a lifetime of earning a good reputation should not be judged on one particular shortcoming. This year I am going to try to build others up rather than tear them down.

"If you, Lord, kept a record of sins, Lord, who could stand? " Psalm 130:3

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Starting Anew

Making New Year's resolutions is a favorite exercise of mine. I like the fresh slate. Looking ahead to "what might be" and leaving behind the reality of "what is" gets my creative juices roiling. I have written out new goals nearly every year of my life. Experts insist that the mere act of written goals changes things. (They also say that referring to your list on a consistent basis throughout the year increases your odds of success. I have not done that very often. Maybe that should be a New Year's resolution for next year.) Still, I know for a fact that the simple act of writing things down has resulted in some amazing changes in my life.

Right now I am in the process of writing the final two chapters of a YA novel. I know how the book ends, so writer's block is not a problem. I will get the words on paper soon. The rewrite, however, is daunting. Still, having a finished product ready for submission to an agent is on my list of resolutions, so I suspect I will continue to move forward.

Have I made good on each resolution? Not by a long shot. Has writing resolutions made a difference? Without a doubt!

And in the midst of it all comes Christ's reminder,  "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5

Written goals help me focus, but still,  "Man proposes; God disposes."

God willing I will finish the book!

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Harsh Winter

We are coming out of a very harsh winter. It has been challenging in more ways than one. My husband, Paul, was in the hospital between Thanksgiving and Christmas with a severe bladder infection. The holidays were wonderful and stressful at the same time. And yet we experienced the quiet joy that permeates the Christian life. We were overwhelmed and "held up" at the same time.

Paul has become more and more independent in the past few months. We began with home health and graduated out of that program to the place we now are. I am tasked with blood sugars, insulin injections and meals. He is able to set up his own medications as well as take care of other needs. I am grateful for his progress and even though I am not able to be gone for more than a few hours at a time, I rejoice in his increasing independence.

We have had more than fifty days with temperatures that were under zero degrees, and more than fifty inches of snow that did not melt. But, tomorrow we are to have a sunny day with temperatures in the 40's. God is good.

One benefit of our harsh winter is that we have been more faithful with our reading of Scripture. We are currently in Psalms. This is our fifth or sixth reading of the Bible. When we read, and I cannot claim that it is every day that we read, we read 5 chapters (except now in Psalms we read 10 Psalms). That has been a huge blessing, and a reason to not argue with God's choice of weather, for  "we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose." Romans 8: 28.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Not Cool(ing)

Our refrigerator is on the blink. If you want to know how spoiled you are, go a few days inconvenienced by by having no ice (crabby husband), having your meat in your daughter's freezer (15 miles away), having what little you could save (it began to die while we were on vacation and only about half our food was salvageable) in a small refrigerator in the garage (thank goodness for that) and having the repair man coming on Wednesday (when you arrived home on Saturday to discover the disaster.)

See how quickly I complain about something not even approaching Job's plight?

"The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord."

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

A Life Like Job's

Sometimes I wish my life were more like Job's. Sure, he had some heavy duty problems, but his attitude toward God guaranteed that his troubles did not destroy him or his reverence for his heavenly Father.

"The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." Job 1:21b (KJV) was his immediate response to the news that all his children had been killed in a disaster. It is a statement of thankfulness, in a way.

"God gave those wonderful children to me even though I did nothing to deserve such a gift,"  Job seems to say. "How wonderful were my days with my children. Now God has taken them home to be with Him as is His right, but no one can take from me the joy and remembrances I have of them all."

Granted, I am not going through the loss of a loved one at present, and cannot even imagine the searing grief that cuts parents' to the quick when they lose a child. I don't ever want that pain, but I admire Job's response. "Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither." Job 1:.21a (KJV) Anything in between birth and death is, to Job, a gift.

I want, like Job, to be able to regard everything in my life to be a pure and undeserved blessing: a gift of love from the Lover of my soul. That attitude would restrain my sense of entitlement. It would also serve to keep me from nursing feelings of envy, jealously, covetousness, and discontent.

My sinful heart longs for the "life of Riley", but my soul's desire is for the spiritual "life of Job".

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights." James 1:17a (NIV)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chief of Sinners

"Apart from seeing ourselves as sinners, we shall see no beauty in Jesus that we  should desire Him," says the author of the book, I Would See Jesus.  But, I do desire Him, and see Him, by faith, to be what I need as a sinner, as a failure, as a poverty-stricken weakling. Jesus is what I need in this very hour.

Of course, for this to happen I must accept the truth about myself and about God - truth, not in the sense of doctrine, but in the sense of a revelation of things as they really are. The devil tells me that I am "a good person" and "a good Christian"; that God is not all that holy and uncompromising, but every time I fall for this lie I lose sight of truth.

"To see ourselves as sinner is the beginning of salvation," says St Augustine. That's what I want, and so I cling to God's promise:

 "If we say we that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1 John 1: 8-9.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Just Laws

Justice. America is a country of laws. These laws have, up until recent times, sought to do good for its people. Just laws. Laws that favor the righteous rather than the lawbreaker. Somehow that has changed.

The Psalmists often cried out to the Lord pleading with God to hear their case, lamenting the fact that there was no justice in the land. When I was young I was saddened that they could feel so helpless. Now, however, I feel a similar despair. The rulings from our courts almost seem upside down: mercy for the wicked, increased restrictions on those who follow the law.

"Let God be the judge of the peoples," says the writer in  Psalm 7:8. Fat chance of that happening today. The downhill progression is thus. First we hear the lie and wonder. i.e.: "Is abortion really that wrong?"  Then we believe the lie. "Well, I think in some cases it really is the only answer."  And then we make God the liar. "A loving God would not make that poor girl be tied down with a child she does not want. And anyway, no child deserves to be born unwanted and unloved."

Hence, the continued efforts to get the Ten Commandments removed from our halls of justice. "Listen God, you can't tell us what to do. We want to figure it out for ourselves. We'll do what we think is right."

Not too reassuring. Entering the court system in this America gives no guarantee that justice will be done. That is scary.

Psalm 119:52 "I remember, Lord, your ancient laws, and I find comfort in them." 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Oh, the Things He Planned For Us.

I used to swim a mile whenever I went to the Y to work out. Now I am down to half a mile. The swim was not so long that I could no longer do it, it just took too much time, an hour at least. Swimming half a mile is more manageable.

The water was especially inviting today. Outside the wind chill was below zero, but this is a heated pool and the temperature inside was just right.  Swim time is often prayer time for me.

The water gliding past my skin was just the soothing I needed on this stress filled day. God did a marvelous work when He created water. It is by the water of Baptism that He makes us His children, and then to delight His children He made water something in which to swim and pray.

"Many, LORD my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare." Psalm 40:5

Monday, March 18, 2013

Silly Poems

I've been entering a weekly limerick for a "Limerick-off". This week's offering is found at

The first line is provided for you and then you see what you can do to complete the poem. So far these are my two entrees:

Last week:

A woman who wanted a raise
Made her case with some weak-kneed cliches.
Her boss, unimpressed,
Denied her request,
And now she works ALL holidays.

This week:

A woman was trying to read
Undeterred by a gushing nosebleed.
With a shiver, she said,
As the pages turned red,
"This story is gory, indeed!"

It's fun. Go to Mad's page and try it.

Friday, March 15, 2013


I babysat my granddaughter, Palmer, today. She is nine months old and a pretty easy going baby. She had a little separation anxiety when she saw her mother getting ready to leave the house, but she got over it quickly, and we had a fun day together. I had eight children and have to say that none of them was particularly difficult as in being fussy or being picky eaters, etc.

Mischievious, yes. I remember our oldest, Phil, being particularly busy. Like when he cut holes in the knees of his brothers' pajamas (I had just bought new ones because the old ones had holes in the knees). Or when he cut his brothers' hair, or when he put stencil cement all over his father's typewriter keys. Then there was the time he got Paul's razor and shaved his face all around the lips. He got into the baby aspirin twice, and put Crisco in his brother Pete's hair. Anyway, you get the idea.

Palmer was a piece of cake.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


I dream alot. Sometimes I wake up with feelings of foreboding, other times I awaken excited and full of anticipation. Rarely does anything come of it. Is there really a cause and effect explaination for everything that happens, whether in dreams or in life in general?

 Maybe, maybe not. Waking up with the feeling that something wonderful is looming on the horizen of my day, or conversely, something aweful, seems pretty much like a leftover crumb of a now unrecallable meal. I give it little credence. Still, God often spoke to people in dreams in the Bible. There are people who keep a notepad and pencil by their bed to write down what they can remember when waking from a dream. I might try that sometime.

Probably not.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Passive Love

Today our fruit of the Spirit is patience. I've heard patience described as passive love. Thusly, when God is patient,  His deep love for the sinner leads Him to withhold punishment for a time. The gardener in Jesus parable pleads with his master to not cut down the barren fig tree, but rather to let it stand for another year. Then, if it is still without fruit, cut it down, he begs. Have patience, Master. Show your compassion by withholding your wrath for a time.

IIn order to show patience to my spouse, I bite my tongue rather than issue a sharp rebuke. No more honking at that "lame brain"  at the stoplight. (Timmy: "Mommy, where are all the blithering idiots today?"  Mommy:" Lucky for us they only come onto the road when your father is driving.")

Passive love. Withholding action. Letting people be themselves without criticism or fear. No more quick judgements, or snap decisions, or flying off the handle

This whole concept has spurred me to inaction ....righteous inaction that is, done out of love.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spiritual Checklist

We are talking about the fruit of the Spirit in our mid-week Lenten services this year.

"For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5: 22-23.

There are not a variety of things that grow on our branches when we have been grafted into Christ, the true vine. No, it is one fruit that has in its makeup all the above mentioned virtues. When the Spirit works in you, these are the results one finds appearing in one's life.

I used to try to work on them individually, perhaps thinking that I was okay on the joy and peace bit, but maybe needed a little work on the patience and gentleness part. (I am usually in a hurry, and very task oriented, so patience and gentleness often fall to the wayside of my ministrations. Last year when my husband came home from the hospital and was recovering from surgery, he thanked me, one day, for all the TLC, otherwise known as Tender Loving Care. We stopped for a minute and looked a one another, and he said, more accurately this time, "Well, the LC.")

Now, though, I know that the fruit of the Spirit  come in a package deal, so if I am lacking in one aspect, I am probably deficient in all. This is God's way of telling me to check the connection between vine and branch. An early warning system as it were, which is a blessing to those of us who desire to stay close to Jesus.

Forewarned is forearmed.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Havin' the Blues

The sun was shining today. I'm not hungry or cold. My family loves me and God loves me. Money isn't a pressing issue at this very moment. Why then am I sad?

I didn't sleep well last night, (Wasn't it General George Patton that said, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all?") but I don't think that is the problem. Usually periods like this call me to prayer and praise, but I have spent many minutes (hours) in prayer, and I still feel low.

Perhaps it is the human condition itself that leads to sadness. Contrasts heighten awareness. A gloomy day lends extra brightness to the sunny day that follows. A painfree morning may be accepted with little gratitude unless it happens to follow a night of arthritic aches.

None of the above.

I am sad because one of my children is sad.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


I have heard it explained as False Evidence Appearing Real. I can see that. There have been many times in my life when I worried and planned for scary things that never happened. 
Sometimes it was watching at the window late at night for a child who was late in coming home, but who bounced in the door saying "sorry" and having a good reason for missing the curfew.  Occasionally it involved waiting for medical test results that came back negative. Periodically I wonder if my on-call job is still going to be available to me, but I got called to work two shifts next week. You get the idea. All that angst and drama for nothing.

Today I find myself stewing once again, but this time there is good reason to be afraid. Or is there? If I trust that God is for me, who could be against me? And if trust is my avenue of defence, fear has no place in the equation. Fear and trust are diametrically opposed.

I once read that there are 365 “fear not‘s” in the Bible, one for every day of the year. Well, I am claiming a few for today, and tomorrow.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Isaiah 41:10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 26: 3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. (NIV)

Saturday, March 09, 2013

May I Put You on Hold?

I've been reading the book of Psalms this past week. The Psalmists send out numerous calls for help, and there is a lot of asking, "When will you save me, Lord?"  And in answer to these crys for help, the word that sounds most loudly in my ears is "wait". Nothing could be more unwelcome to this digital age person. Instant messaging, texting, facebook, cell phones: these speak the language of now, and that is where it's at.

I shop "online" because I hate to wait "in line." When I am behind a slow driver my husband gently reminds me, "He can't hear you." Hence, the encouragement to "wait on the Lord", is not encouraging to this microwave user.

And yet, I need to hear these very words. "Wait on the Lord," is especially meaningful to me, because when I don't wait, I start doing things. I try solving the unsolvable. I offend others, I make enemies by attempting to enforce my will on the other guy. I scheme and plot, and generally mess things up. God's way is rarely my way, but His way works and mine often fails, so don't you think I would learn to trust Him?

I think I need to stay in the Psalms a little longer. At least until I learn the full meaning of "wait."

Friday, March 08, 2013

We All Sin

"If you, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?"  Psalm 130: 3

I have never understood the Christian that cannot forgive.  Keeping a tally of wrongs, hugging hurts to ones heart, and vilifying others who sin is inconsistent with everything that God teaches.

"Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."

What does this mean?
We pray in this petition that our Father in heaven would not look at our sins, or deny our prayer because of them. We are neither worthy of the things for which we pray, nor have we deserved them, but we ask that He would give them all to us by grace, for we daily sin much and surely deserve nothing but punishment. So we too will sincerely forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us.

These are the words of Luther explaining the Fifth petition of the Lord's Prayer, and they are the basis for all that is embraced by the Christian community in all the world.

Forgive as you have been forgiven. What part of that don't they get?

I don't understand them, but I do forgive them.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Spring Ahead

Spring is coming. I know  because this Saturday we are to remember to "spring ahead," i.e. to change our clocks to reflect daylight savings time. Looking out the window at the new fallen snow is not enough to dampen my anticipation. Spring will come.

Still, the changing of seasons is always bittersweet for me. For a brief period in my life, four or five years or so, two of my sisters moved to Minnesota. I live here because I married a Minnesotan, but my family is from Nebraska, so, while not a long way from home, most of my life has been lived separate from my family of origin.

Thus, it was an unexpected treat that my sister, Martha, and her family moved to a Minnesota town a mere twenty miles from my home. Now that there were two of us living so close, another sister, Paula, followed suit and moved to nearby Minneapolis. For those years we celebrated the seasons together. We gathered for holidays, of course, but we also went ice skating in winter, took walks in spring, swam and picniced together in summer, and savored the last few days of dining outside as fall approached.

So, now the season is changing once again, and I no longer have even one sister with whom to celebrate. Paula moved to CA and shortly thereafter Martha moved to Baltimore, MD. I love Spring. Each time the weather moves on to its prescribed cycle, I am eager to see what the new season will hold. But it also makes me a little sad.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

I Remember it Well...I Think

Memory is a funny thing. As I get older I find myself less certain of the true history of my life. Always so sure of myself when young, this aging thing has made the past a little hazy now.

I keep hearing stories from others about events that I, too, participated in. The problem is that their versions are described in colorful details that never caught my attention. Sometimes those same stories are told with endings that  play out much differently than the way I remember things turning out. It is not only disconcerting, it leaves me wondering what really happened during those times.

I have heard it said that each person's reality is what that individual  believes it to be, but right now I am feeling a little robbed, somehow, that others remember a different life than the one I think I had. 

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

We Are Fam-i-ly

Reading  verses of a Lenten hymn in my morning devotion time brought me across this little gem:

                                             "May we all Your loved ones be,
                                              All one holy family,
                                              Loving, since your love we see:
                                              Hear us, Holy Jesus."
What a wonderful blueprint for families. Knowing God's love and acceptance as children, holy and beloved, we would stop waiting for others to make us happy. Knowing that we were all in this thing called life together as family would cause us to give each other room to fail and grow.
I have heard it explained that we harshly judge others on their actions toward us, "I can't believe she would say such a thing!", but generously judge ourselves on our intent, "Well, what I said might have sounded hateful, but I didn't mean to hurt anyone by it." God tells us to do it the other way around. He says put the best construction on everything, so that conversation should have sounded like this: "I'm sure she didn't mean to be unkind," and "I can't believe I said such a hurtful thing."  Gracious towards others, firm with ourselves.
And we are able to do this by imitating Christ. "We love Him because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19.
"Loving, since your love I see."

Monday, March 04, 2013

Needing to Write

I've been going to a writers'/poetry evening once a month at our local library. It's been the only time that I have been doing any writing for almost a year now. When our children were young we would  go camping for several weeks each summer. As soon as we walked into the door of our home our son, Peter, would make a mad dash for the piano and play for hours. It was as though all this music had been building up inside his small frame, and he needed that piano to let it all come out.

In the same way, my fingers have found their way to this keyboard to release the words that have been accumulating in my writer's heart, breaking through the lethargy that has held me captive much of the past year. Already, in these few sentences, the resolve to write regularly has been taking on a semblance of commitment, and like Peter, who always felt better after that release, I, too, feel comforted by the act of finally putting some of those dammed up words to paper (to blog screen).

Sunday, August 05, 2012


We have had a lovely summer. Minnesotans are not at all used to or enamored of the heat, and June and July have have been unusually warm here. I grew up in Southern Illinois and Nebraska, however, and embrace these hot summer days as though I am revisiting my childhood. My favorite activity has been swimming in the outdoor pool at the "Y". Gliding through the water with the sun beating down and the screams of children, (who are finally being allowed to use their "outside voices") echoing off the water is pure bliss.

We attended a Hussmann family reunion in Nashville, TN in July which was great fun, but for the most part this has been a lazy summer. That has been fine with me. Waking up in the morning with an unscheduled day is a win in my book. I call them my "pure" days (purely mine to do with as I wish). I raised eight children, so up until this period in my life there have been very few "pure" days.

Not that I did not love that busy season of life. I did. It's just that now I like this. I chose what to do with my day as it happens. Some days I just put myself at God's disposal and say, "Surprise me." Those days are filled with anticipation and awareness. I have to be alert to every encounter in case I might miss my surprise, and I don't want to miss it.

Actually, now that I think about it, that can be my attitude every day. Tomorrow is one of my "pure" days.  I think I'll see how God chooses to fill it. I'm excited already!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Daily Bread

Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11.

Jesus demonstrated the ultimate example of a life wrapped in prayer. Everyone who knows Jesus and has read the gospels understands this. His disciples were so impressed by His constant communication with His Heavenly Father that they longed to talk with God, too.

"Teach us to pray", they begged, and at their request Jesus laid out for them a wonderful template for a God-pleasing prayer. We reverently call it The Lord’s Prayer. I have prayed that prayer all my life. The verse above is known as the Fourth Petition. I know the petitions. I have studied them at various times over the years. But I just realized that I have never fully absorbed the import behind these words in the Fourth Petition.

Give us THIS DAY our daily bread. I don’t know if that is what I have been praying for all these years. I’m not sure I have been asking for this day’s bread alone. I fully suspect I have been taking a much longer view.

Could I really trust God for my bread one day at a time? Isn’t that what He is asking us to do? In the Old Testament, God gave manna only one day at a time. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘I will rain down bread from heaven for you. The people are to go out each day and gather enough for THAT DAY. In this way I will test whether they will follow my instructions.’” Exodus 16:4

Jesus is saying much the same thing to us, and only a few verses later in this chapter in Matthew, Jesus warns us not to store up treasures on earth. Not only are these “treasures” susceptible to moth and rust and thieves, but they pull us from God. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21.

And again in Matthew 6 in verse 34 He cautions us about the danger of “stocking up”. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.” One day’s worth of provision: food, drink, clothing. … more than enough…. for one day.

The clothes I have on right now, are enough. The dishes we used to eat our food and the food we ate today, well, we had enough. Does that mean I need to be content with what I now have? Or does it mean that I am to be content with what I have…today? Tomorrow may bring some greater blessing; a new house, new shoes, chicken instead of hamburger or steak instead of rice. But for this day I can thank God for His provision, and tomorrow I can ask again.

What an adventure that would be. Each day asking and each day watching in amazement for the provision God provides. It is hard for me to picture living like that, probably because I have stored up so many treasures here on earth. My closet and pantry are already full and often I forget to ask God for my daily bread.  I already have it covered, or so I think.

No wonder Jesus praised the widow who gave the mite at the temple. She had faith that she had enough for an offering…today. It was all she had, but she needed something to give and there was a mite in her pocket so she gave it. God would provide for tomorrow.

That’s faith. And that is the faith with which Jesus is telling us to pray. One day’s worth of provision at a time so that we say with the Psalmist, “The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food at the proper time.” Psalm 145:15