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 http://www.madkane.com/humor_blog/2013/03/17/reading-limerick-off-monday/#comments.

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

Palmer

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

Dreaming

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

Fear

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.
(NLT)

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.
(NIV)

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

Summer

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

Daily.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Lost Ritual

I just finished doing our income taxes. Paul used to do them, and he would put off that dread task until he could delay no longer.

I can remember, more than one April 15th , having to drive the finally finished forms all the way in to the downtown Minneapolis Post Office. That was the only place I knew would be open until midnight. We needed these envelopes stamped, "April 15" in order not to pay a penalty, so off I went.

 There was always a long line of cars crawling, bumper to bumper, determined  to reach the block-long building. Out in front were uniformed postmen who would personally accept your forms. You just rolled down your car window and handed them to one of the many standing there as you inched forward in the "Procrastinator Parade." Actually, it was quite festive.

Now I do the taxes and usually have them done before the end of March, so we don't even know what the tradition is here in St Paul. Electronic submission has thinned the ranks of the paper procrastinator, so as far as I know there is no late night parade.

Sigh. Another great American tradition bites the dust.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Devil's Workshop

You may have heard the phrase, "Idleness is the devil's workshop." I am reading a book where the author interviews Satan, and Satan says that one of his best attacks against mankind is to get him to "drift".

I gave up video games for Lent this year and had no idea how hard that was going to be. I talked with a relative a week or so ago at a funeral of a family member, and he told me that he had given up Facebook for Lent and was finding it to be very difficult as well.

If Facebook and video games fall into the area of "drifting", where does that leave us?  Right where Satan wants us.

Scary thought.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Grab Hold of Joy

We have been having unusually warm weather for March here in Minnesota. That is true for much of the rest of the country as well. I am amazed at the changes in my outlook these past two weeks. Sunshine matters. It is as though I am coming out of hibernation, warily, I admit. I have a feeling that this may be a case of bait and switch;  that winter might return with a vengeance just to mock my joy. The closer we draw to May the less that bothers me. Winter is drawing to a close, and I am grateful that it was a mild one.

Sometimes I approach God's blessings that way, as though they may be a trap; as though God might be tricking me into letting down my guard. If I dare to enjoy them, I reason, I will find an equally unpleasant time that balances out that goodness. Don't think you won't pay for this somewhere else, I tell myself.

As I look back on my life, though, I find that such belief is actually a tool of the devil to rob me of joy. Not only has my life had more good times than bad, good came out of the bad times anyway. Just think of all the hours you have spent worrying about things that never materialized, and you will get an idea of what I am talking about.

One of my daughters had a miscarriage in her first pregnancy. I can still picture that bruised young couple sitting on the couch in their living room as they sought to deal with this unexpected and life altering event. When that same daughter became pregnant again, someone asked her if she was nervous about the possibility of another miscarriage. I love her answer. She said she was going to enjoy the pregnancy to the fullest extent, assuming that all would be well. And, if something did go wrong, well, they had dealt with it once and survived, they knew they could do so again.

I have decided to claim the joy of the day. Today and tomorrow and as long as it lasts, I am going to rejoice in this fine weather. If winter returns, I'll deal. After all, I have survived many a cruel winter before, and I know I can do so again.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Interruptions or God's Gifts to Me?

We were talking in Bible study today about how people so often come into our lives wanting something while we are in the middle of something else. We looked at how Jesus dealt with interruptions. We found that He usually, but not always, stopped what He was doing to meet other peoples' needs. The study suggested that we try tabulating our interruptions during a typical day and evaluate them, even suggesting that these very interruptions might not be interruptions at all, but "God appointments" with the folks who people our world. So I did. I tracked the interruptions of my day.

Before we were even done examining this thought, I had to leave Bible study a half hour early to go back home to pick up  Paul so that we could go to the 11am Lenten services together. When we got done with church I got a call from work asking if I could work on Friday (I can). Then we talked with a member of our congregation whose husband is struggling with cancer and all the attendant health issues that can surround that struggle as well as the sad fact that they are losing their house because the medical bills overwhelmed  their ability to pay all their other bills (like the mortgage), and they don't know where they are going to live when the bank takes over their house which is already in foreclosure.

When we got home I made sure to call my daughter, Paula, to let her know that the new bedspread came and to send her a photo. While doing that I found a message asking me to call  another daughter, Sarah, about a granddaughter that had minor surgery today, and to make sure that I was planning to pick up my grandson, Bradley, from school.

After that call, daughter Paula called back and we talked until I had to leave to pick Bradley up from school, and when I dropped him off Sarah needed to talk about the surgery, so I stayed awhile to visit with her.

As I headed home I stopped for groceries, and when I got home I unpacked them and fixed supper for Paul, and then took a call from my friend, Barb, about a meeting I couldn't make tonight, and then talked with son, Marcus, for awhile on the phone, which has lead to this entry, because I am finally not being interrupted.

And then it occurred to me, those were not interruptions. This is my life. Under what circumstances could  my husband and my church friends, and my dear children possibly be labeled as interruptions? That would happen only when I pursue the self-centered life of an egotist who thinks that her needs and interests and pursuits are the only important things in the world.

Were these God appointments, or God's gifts to me? Whatever they were, they made my day a blessed one!



Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Vision Beyond My Own

I mentioned to my daughter, Paula, that I wanted to create a place in our bedroom where I could read. I pictured something like a chaise in the corner with a nice lamp beside it. One week later we shopped for and found the perfect chaise. Paula didn't like the color of the walls with that particular piece of furniture, so I spent the next three days painting the bedroom.

Of course it didn't look right without endtables on either side of the bed, so she found and we painted two bedstands white. They look very nice, except now the wall hanging looks weird on the new color, so we picked out something more modern for the wall, which made the bedspread and pillows look too dark and broody.

The new bedspreads should arrive either tomorrow or the next day, and the decorator pillows and side rugs she found should make a grand statement, except the lamp I am now using to read needs replacing, and we really should have matching lamps on the new bedstands.

She has a great idea for the window coverings (the current covering matches the soon to be replaced bedspread) and the dresser is now too big because of adding the chair in the room, and besides it is old and dark brown (we bought it when we were first married...pecan wood) so she is keeping an eye on Craig's list.

Did I mention I really like reading on my new chaise?


Monday, March 19, 2012

Back Again

I've been doing some journaling and it occurred to me that since I was writing anyway  I could just as easily share my thoughts with the blogosphere, for whatever that is worth. You see, I am trying to get a deeper understanding of how to follow Jesus. I want to know what it means to be His hands, His eyes, His feet, His voice, etc. to those who people my world.

In order to do that I am going to study the Gospels because they are the written documentation of what Jesus did with His hands, His feet, His voice, etc. while He was here on earth. Right now I am especially interested in what He says, because I am in Matthew 5, and am reading the Sermon on the Mount. (I said I had already been busy journaling, so you will just have to jump in with me on Chapter 5.)

I'm on vs 11-12 today:   "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you." (NIV)

I read the verses and then asked myself, "What does this mean for me?"

God's Word is a living entity, and His words to me do not always speak the same message from one reading to the next, but today I discovered that I am blessed when I am reviled, persecuted and falsely accused --- but only when I do it for Jesus' sake, not my own. I do not seek persecution in order to prove my faithfulness. Instead, I bear it as He did, to honor the Father. When persecution does happen, though, I  now recognize what is going on, and instead of  fear, my emotional reaction will be one of gladness, knowing that I am following God's will for my life. I am living like the prophets who also served.

My action step is that I must move boldly through life, talking about my faith  freely without fear of rejection, but not looking for it, either.

And that is why I'm back.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Peace at Last



A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is his glory to overlook an offence.
Proverbs 19 11.NIV


I remember as a young wife how easily I could call to mind all my husband’s shortcomings. With each new offence I lengthened the list. Every time my feelings were hurt I recounted a litany of grievances. I rehearsed that list often and knew it by heart.

I don’t do that so much anymore, and I see that as a sign of God’s love working in my heart. In fact, when I find myself starting that old score keeping process, I stop and ask myself if I have drifted from God’s side.

The writer of proverbs says “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is his glory to overlook an offence.” I do know it is a good feeling to let go of things that others do to irritate you. It is even more freeing to let go of a real hurt.

Some years ago my husband was ill. Several people that we counted on to be supportive became very concerned with their own affairs and created a hardship for us.  I find it interesting that I had not thought of that in a couple of years. And I find joy and gratitude in my heart this day that something that happened so long ago has not poisoned my life with grievance. It could have, and many of you know exactly what I am talking about.

What is that particular hurt (or list of hurts for that matter) that is dominating your thinking right now?  Have you been rolling the bad taste of it around in your mouth? Have you been poking at it with your tongue daily (hourly?) to taste the hurt once again; to feel the injustice of it all; to savor the rightness of your position and the wrongness of the other person’s actions toward you?

Well, you may be enjoying your indignation, but the writer of Proverbs tells us there is glory in overlooking an offence. I’m not suggesting we can achieve this on our own. In the first chapter of Proverbs, we are told that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Our ability to overlook an offence is possible only when we seek God’s power to forgive others. But the outcome is well worth giving up our self pity. When forgiveness is at work within us, we not only experience the peace that passes understanding, but we know for sure that Christ’s love is dwelling in us.

A man’s wisdom comes from God. This true wisdom brings patience and the ability to overlook offence. It is another of God’s wonderful gifts to His children. This is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it….not sit in misery nursing our grievance towards others who have caused us harm. And because of God’s power of forgiveness working in our hearts we can do just that.

 Peace at last.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Nearly Normal

Paul will come home from the TCU (Transitional Care Unit) in three more days or so. That is when we return to "life as we once knew it". The past three weeks have been a wild ride, but as I look back I am amazed that the frantic activity of those days flowed seamlessly, one task to the next, in perfect order.

God does not give us more than we can bear, and when we let Him handle the complexities of piled up stress, the details fall beautifully into place. I would not change anything. His plan was flawless. All went well, and now we are all well, as well. (Can you tell I'm a bit rusty when it comes blogging suscinctly.)

I missed this time of reflection. My life is usually a simple one, by design. I like to ponder things rather than move frantically from one event to the next. But, boy, do I have a lot of new material to write about!

Paul's infection is all gone. He lost the remainder of his toes, but  most of his foot is intact. He will be able to walk on his own again when the stiches heal. We had a wonderful vacation. Even the trip home was good. And God rescued us in the end.

Sleep is an amazing healer. It is great to be able to think and reflect and write. So, hey, we're on again. I missed you guys...Oh, and Karen and Caren, I'm sending a big Minnesota shout your way!

Katherine

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Update

When we got to Las Vegas Paul was getting sick. By Friday I had called his DR in MN and he prescribed an antibiotic and made an appointment to see him on Tuesday. We drove 400 miles a day (even went over the Rockies since that was the shortest way home) for four days. We got home Monday night. That's when my sister called to let us know that my mother had died.

By Tuesday morning Paul was pretty sick. When we got to the DR's appointment the DR took one look at him and sent him right to the emergency room to admit him and that evening did surgery on a very infected foot. He had more "cleaning out" surgery on Friday to rid the foot of infection. The Dr is pleased with the progress so far. Paul is going to transitional care tomorrow and will have more surgery on Thursday, and then back to Presbyterian Homes transitional care (Roseville) for a few days of  physical therapy and IV antibiotics and then home. At least that is the plan.

I leave for Grand Island, NE tomorrow for my mother's funeral on Tuesday. Marcus, Sarah, Paula ,and I will pick up Phil and Steve (five of my children sans families) at various points along the way. We plan to be home Wednesday early morning.

I found that blogging takes energy and that is a comodity that has been in short supply for quite a few days now. When I catch my breath,  I will be blogging away again.
Katherine

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Heading Home

Somehow I lost my oomph, and my desire to write at the same time. Having the writing class fall through took the edge off of my blogging goals. And then I just got tired. We have been in Las Vegas for three whole days now, pretty much doing nothing but sit around and recoop our energy. Paul has had a rough three days. His foot is hurting him a lot. We tried going without the boot for a couple of days since he spent most of his time in the room (much of it in bed), but we hit the road for home tomorrow and we will put it on again.

Marcus and Matt and Jenni were great hosts. We left California with many good memories. Now we are taking four driving days to get to Omaha. We are rarely in this part of the country this late in the year so we plan to take the Colorado route. We are staying in Green River, Utah tomorrow night, and somewhere near Denver on Saturday night. I could try to push harder to get Paul home sooner, but that is hard on him, too.

Today it was finally warm enough to swim. The average high temps in Vegas this time of year: 88 degrees. Our temps: 60 - 70 (most of the time in the low 60's for the high.) Bummed.

My sister, Mary, gives occasional updates on my mother. She seems to be holding her own, but her condition is unpredictable, some good days, some not so good. She is in God's hands and seems content to accept each day as it comes.

Our resort is one block from "the strip", so I walked around a bit today. Not my kind of town, I guess. After about an hour and a half I was bored and came back to our unit. We are staying in a very nice place.

Tomorrow we are on the road again.....

Katherine