Monday, August 15, 2016

God's only got one side. His.

Lately I've been observing two warring factions on the internet. From my dispassionate standpoint, there's elements of truth and error to each group. 

What's interesting to me as a study in human character is the lengths to which some are willing to go to vilify the other group, while claiming the righteousness of God and truth is on their side. 

People who never name the name of Christ now find verses of scripture and post them in justification... as a "so THERE" or a "see how God agrees with ME" form of arrogance. 

Every seeming inspirational post is now tinged with an "in your face" attitude that makes me either roll my eyes, or heave a sigh.

Please, God, keep me from arrogance in my dealing with others. Keep me from wresting scriptures to support my failing, limited understanding.
And keep me as Switzerland. 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

on cat training

After a rousing performance last night, S came home drowsy and ready for a cup of chamomile tea.  We were all in bed and lights out by 10:30.  Party animals we are not!

Calico Cat obliged us and allowed us to sleep in by not yowing outside my door for her breakfast.   Acutally, I think I may have trained her in this.  When she first came to live with us, she was silent for a month.  Then I took her to the vet for her shots, at which meeting she raged and cursed and spit and gashed a stripe down the hand of some young, pretty vet tech.   She earned a skull and crossbones drawing on her new patient chart: a marked criminal.

Since that vet encounter, she has been yowly when she believes she has a need - starting at 4:30 am for breakfast.   I am solidly a 6:30 am kind of girl these days, but a yowly cat can defeat my resolve and make me miserable by denying my sleep. Each time I checked, she had food in her dish, but not the right KIND of food.  

My workaround solution:  As soon as she uttered her first YOW, out she went into the garage.  4:30 am, 6 am - didn't matter, if it wasn't my time to officially get up to feed her, I WOULD get up and deal with her by putting her in a place I couldn't hear her.

I have done this 3 times.   The YOW factor at oh-dark-hundred has virtually disappeared.

Did I really just train a cat?  Or did she just train me to occasionally send her to the garage to check for R.O.U.S?

Either way, I am content.

Friday, April 22, 2016

breaking the silence

The house is quiet tonight.  A harbinger of greater silence to come.  

My son, 18, is finishing up his freshman year of college on the other side of the United States.

My daughter, 17, is finishing up her junior year at a small Christian school, and preparing to enter Running Start for her Senior year to finish high school but receive college credit for it. 

Tonight, she's singing at a choir concert in Tacoma.

Hubby and I are sitting at home, pajama-ed and hot chocolated, and feeling very boring - but oddly enough, enjoying the respite for now.  We're just waiting for S to come home and share her day with us...or not, depending on how tired she is. 

A huge calico cat is stretched out, butt touching my hip, making her belly available for scratching. I oblige, but carefully: she's a master of fang and claw. I have to read the subtle signs to know whether my attentions please her or not.

The 4 years of silence here were intentional, desiring to protect relationships and confidences; designed to keep my family from thinking that they had to be guarded around me so I wouldn't write about them, exposing their fun or foolishness.  I hope I gained their trust in that respect. 

I also lost something: memories.   I am a forest person, not a trees person.  I do the big picture well, but have to discipline myself on following through with details.  With that, I have missed recording some moments of preciousness that are now forgotten.  D and S will occasionally remind me of something that had passed out of my memory bank.  I take hope in the fact that Sherlock does the same thing - he forgets the unimportant.  Perhaps the things I have forgotten are truly unimportant. 

But as I reread this blog - these little things that I recorded, of little people in life situations - so many things I have now forgotten were brought back to me. 

So I know some preciousness has been lost in my silence.

I even wonder in this new, silent space, what I actually have to say.  "Life, mommyhood, and lots of popcorn" doesn't quite fit my current role.    

So here's what I say.  Embrace it. It makes wings and flies away.  In my son's case, he flew away to South Carolina, and I haven't spent much more than a week in his presence since last August.  My daughter, with her decision to begin Running Start college classes, is beginning to fledge.  My heart rejoices at the prospect.  My heart also breaks.

So with it, I break my silence, to speak of things both terrible and beautiful- the beginning of altering my role in my childrens' lives to more of an advisor and cheerleader.  It's incredibly difficult to let your child take risks and fail. I continues to reserve the right to kick butt when necessary,  but also to encourage them to pick up the pieces and try again. 

I don't know whether I will continue to use this blog.  But for today, I'm here.    I'm here to tell you you will miss your little ones climbing all over you, their monkey paws touching you, the missed homework, the freakouts, the pancake messes, the dirty underwear with racing stripes stuffed down the air ducts, the apple cores and candy wrappers under the bed, the art supplies all over the house... because it represents home and togetherness and completeness.

Hugs to mamas everywhere tonight who are missing their little ones. 


Saturday, June 16, 2012

a year and a day

...that's how long it's been since I've journaled here.  My two wee bairns are 13 and almost-15... AND they are visiting grandma in California for a couple of weeks!

Can you say "party" ?

But it is very, very quiet around here, especially because it is Saturday, and A. is busy getting ready for Sunday morning services. 

The kitchen is staying clean.  So is the bathroom.   I'm almost caught up on the laundry (they left yesterday).

But you know what?  There's not nearly as much laughter in the house without them here.

So maybe "party" isn't the right term. More like... respite.  Nah, that's not it, either.  Too much connotation of a cessation of stress and negative things.

I'll come up with it, by and by.

In the meantime, because it is so quiet, I think I'll turn on Pandora and do some more knitting.

I think I've got it:  soothing.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Follow Me

Preface: I have a virtual friend (meaning, I only know her online, not in real life) who's facilitating an online Bible study based on the Good Morning Girls groups.  Every work week there is a new 5-day Bible study that follows the acronym SOAP:  Scripture, Observations, Applications, Prayer.

I like it because it's a quick way to build the disciplines of grace into your life (The Word, prayer, meditation, application).  It doesn't take extraordinary Bible study tools. It doesn't require a leader to tell you the "right" answers. All you need are your Bible, the illuminating power of God's Holy Spirit, your brain, and a pencil (or in my case, Microsoft OneNote, where I've been journaling all this).

Clicking the title of this post takes you to this week's SOAP journal.  You can download and print it for yourself if you like.
/End of preface, begin today's study:

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Scripture: Matthew 4:19
And He said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men."

Immediately after that, Peter and Andrew left their livelihoods and followed Jesus.  Right after that, Jesus called John and James, and the same thing: they left their nets and their father and followed the messiah.  Jesus CALLED and they responded. All believers have received a call from Jesus to follow Him.

In my past experience, here is where the guilt card is played, with that phrase "FISHERS OF MEN."  You're not reeling in enough fish, some church leader may say to you. He that winneth souls is wise!   Or perhaps, Your bait isn't good enough; try this hook instead!  I think this misses some of the point.  Jesus called us first to FOLLOW him.  He will transform us into good fishermen.  If you're hanging out with the master fisher, he'll teach you how to catch the fish.

I realize that a fish is not going to just jump out of the water and flop into my boat.  At the same time, I've seen a lot of hard-sell "soulwinning" in my day.   If you employ the right technique, you too can persuade/browbeat/frighten someone into professing Christ as savior.  But how much of that is a real disciple-making experience, and how much is just a beleaguered person succumbing to pressure to join a club/please the browbeater?  Straight-up, I confess, I AM reacting against that bible-thumping approach from the preacher with the loud voice and dippity-do in his hair.  I've seen people arm-wrestled into churchianity (differentiating from true faith in Christ), and these  people then perpetuate the means by which they themselves were brought into the doors.  As far as their receiving a true, life-transforming experience, however, the results are less convincing.

Here's what I take away from this verse: The master CALLS people--as you yourself were called--and those will in turn follow Christ and become fishers of men.  We follow the master, and he enables us to lead others to faith in him.  I don't want to get caught up in the numbers game: (How many fish did you catch today?); I do want to follow him and let him turn me into a fisherman like himself.

Lord, help me to follow you  first. And help me to fish.  But help me never to lose sight of you by focusing only on a bunch of smelly fish. :) Amen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

To Live is Christ

From Sovereign Grace's new album Risen, this song was a great blessing to me this morning.   As an interesting twist, I was listening to it while working out at Bally's gym, and was really struggling to maintain my composure.  The Other Sweaty People in the gym probably thought I was working out really hard and had pulled something. :)

Before You gave us life and breath
You numbered all our days
You set Your gracious love on us
And chose us to be saved
This fleeting life is passing by
With all its joys and pain
But we believe to live is Christ
And death is gain

To live is Christ, to die is gain
In every age this truth remains
We will not fear, we're unashamed
To live is Christ, to die is gain

And though we grieve for those we love
Who fall asleep in Christ
We know they'll see the Savior's face
And gaze into His eyes
So now we grieve, yet we don't grieve
As those who have no hope
For just as Jesus rose again
He'll raise His own

And now we're longing for the day
We'll see the Lamb once slain
Who saved a countless multitude
To glorify His name
We're yearning for the wedding feast
Of Jesus and His bride
His nail-scarred hands will finally
Bring us to His side

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Held and Holding Firmly

"Listen: If you’ve got a Christian faith whereby you’re hanging on by your fingernails to God – just making it—then I don’t know that you have understood saving faith.  If you are hanging on to God as a result of how well you’ve done this past week, or how many times you’ve read your Bible, or how many times you’ve witnessed, or how many times you didn’t think the bad thought (or whatever else it is), and when something comes across your mind, saying, “I wonder if I’m a Christian?”  you find yourself saying,  “oh yes,  I am, because of this and this and this and this and this… I’m holding on,” then you don’t understand. The only reason any of us are holding on is because He picked us up in His almighty embrace and gathered us to Himself. Jesus says, “My sheep hear My voice, and they follow Me, and I give them eternal life (gift!), and they will never perish, neither will any man pluck them out of My hand.”  

This morning the ground of our assured conviction concerning the nature of the Good News in our own lives, is on the fact that we have found our tiny hand nestled  under the warm and large and powerful eternal embrace of God our Father.  And when sin comes into our lives, as it inevitably does, it spoils our fellowship, but it does not negate our relationship."

~Pastor Alistair Begg, Parkside Church, Cleveland, OH

How many of my formative years were grounded in Performance-based Christianity and the fear of man?  Far too many.  It's grievous that even though I went to a "good, sound church and Christian school"  that I missed so much of God's grace and the gospel.  It's baggage that I still carry today, and I constantly need to keep the Cross before me.  Alistair's message was a glorious reminder that I do not contribute anything to my salvation, other than sin.  It's all of God's grace that I am saved and kept.

That is all.