Thursday, July 31, 2014

On the road again, in my mind

Today at LightExpectations .com

~ "Your word is a lamp to my feet

and a light to my path" ~

Psam 119:105


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I need a hero ~ oh wait; I've got a bunch

Today on LightExpectations .com

~ "Wait on the Lord;

Be of good courage,

And He shall strengthen your heart" ~

Psalm 27:14


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Crime and Punishment

Today at LightExpectations .com

~ "keep yourselves in the love of God,

looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ

unto eternal life" ~

Jude 1:21


Monday, July 28, 2014

Psalm 23

Today on LightExpectations .com

"The Lord is my shepherd;

I shall not want..."


Sunday, July 27, 2014

It's the little things...

Today on LightExpectations .com

"receive the kingdom of God as a little child"

Mark 10:15

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Seeing and Showing and Sharing

Today on LightExpectations .com

~ "be ready always to give an answer

to anyone who asks you the reason for the hope that is in you" ~

1 Peter 3:15


Friday, July 25, 2014

My Head is in the Clouds!

Today on LightExpectations .com

~ "If you abide in Me,

and My words abide in you,

you will ask what you desire,

and it shall be done for you." ~

John 15:7


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Beware the Fork in the Road

Today on LightExpectations .com

~ "Therefore let us not judge one another anymore,

but rather resolve this: not to put a stumbling block

or a cause to fall in our brother's way." ~

Romans 14:13


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What I Did On My Summer Vacation (along with thousands of other people)

 Today at LightExpectations .com


~ "'Lord, open the eyes of these, that they may see.'

   And the Lord opened their eyes, and they saw." ~

2 Kings 6:20

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

An Appreciation for Deuteronomy 32

Today at

"Now see that I, even I, am He"

Deuteronomy 32:29

Monday, July 21, 2014

Deuteronomy 32

Today on LightExpectations .com

"Let my teaching drop as the rain,

My speech distill as the dew"


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Leaving Las Vegas

Today at LightExpectations .com

"Lift your eyes now and look 

from the place where you are"

Genesis 13:14

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Friday, July 18, 2014

A Space Oddity

Today on LightExpectations .com

“a clear space on each”

1 Kings 7:36

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It's like a treasure hunt!

Today's post can be found here.  See you over there!

~ "Seek, and you will find" ~
Luke 11:9

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Forced Sunrise *

"His splendor was like the sunrise;

rays flashed from His hand

where His power was hidden"

Habakkuk 3:4

I was forced to see the sunrise this morning.  I rarely see a sunrise unless I am forced.  Not so much a morning person.  Maybe I should become a coffee drinker...

I am a big fan of sunsets, though.  No two are quite the same, and you never know what the dominant color will be.  And the view is sometimes entirely different from my front yard to my backyard.  I take a lot of pictures of a beautiful sunset, because I have the urge to capture it.  We only get one per day!

At any rate, I was up while it was still dark, to take the Apple of my Eye to the airport, and the drive home allowed me to appreciate the beauty of the sun coming up.  There were some clouds, too, which I love.  The sunlight plays games with them, and they add color and dimension to the painting.  So much more interesting than a cloudless sky, if you ask me!

And yet, if I had my way, I would have missed this sunrise.  I would have still been blissfully warm and cozy under the covers.  I choose to miss most sunrises, for that reason.  And it made me think about other aspects of my life that have been forced.  Things I would not have chosen, that God chose for me.  For instance, only having two children was not my choice.  My sweetie and I wanted four, but it was not to be.  And now, I wouldn't have it any other way.

There are struggles in my life that were not my choice, either.  Paths I was forced to walk, that God had chosen for me.  And I must admit, I saw beauty on those paths.  Trials have strengthened me, strengthened my marriage, and strengthened my children.  Those are things I could appreciate in the midst of the trial.  Then, when the trial is past, I can look back and have an even better perspective on what God was accomplishing.

I may be a little sleepy today, but I'll be able to think about that sunrise.  And I'm grateful for the reminder, once again, that while I may have plans in my heart, it is His purpose that prevails.  I pray I'll always remember to find the beauty in plans that weren't my idea.  And maybe, just maybe, tomorrow I'll choose the sunrise!

~ "Many are the plans in a man's heart,

        but the Lord's purpose will prevail." ~

Proverbs 19:21


* a LightExpectations classic post *

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Because change happens

"purify yourselves and change your garments"

Genesis 35:2

Like a snake shedding its skin ~ no, no... that's not me.

Like a chicken coming out of its shell ~ no, that's not quite right either.

Like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon, (yeah, that will work!)  I'm going to be moving over to Wordpress, instead of blogger.  But it will just be a new address; same ole me.  And of course, He never changes, so that's good.

So tell your friends... tell your mother... tell your dog ('cuz I do talk about animals a lot!)

It's gonna take some getting used to, but no one said change would be easy.  And if anyone did, they'd have been lying.  My sister is visiting this week (no, not the same sister I visited last week ~ we're a travelin' bunch) and she talked me into it.  She's got a blog, too, and loves being on Wordpress.  I've heard other good things, too, so while she was in town, and available to walk me through it, I decided it was time to make the change.

I was perfectly happy with blogger, but I have a tendency to settle sometimes, even when better is available.  Sometimes that's just contentment, but sometimes it's stubbornness.

In the Book of Joshua is the account of the tribes of Reuben and Gad, and half the tribe of Manasseh, choosing to stay on "this" side of the Jordan, rather than crossing over to the Promised Land.  I never understood that.  They were missing out on the Promised Land, man!  But they were content on the other side.  And Moses allowed them to make that decision.  True, those who crossed over had battles to fight, and giants to defeat, but it was what God wanted for them.  And I always felt it was a little like giving up for them to stop moving before they'd arrived at their destination.

So I'm crossing over to Wordpress.  Be watching for directions to my new home, and then join me in some milk and honey, won't you?

~ "Therefore hear, O Israel, and be careful to observe it,

that it may be well with you,

and that you may multiply greatly as the Lord God

of your fathers has promised you -

'a land flowing with milk and honey.'" ~

Deuteronomy 6:3

Monday, July 14, 2014

Prayers, and the Space/Time Continuum

"those who travel the road"
Job 21:29

So we're home from our vacation.  Five states, three National Parks, and I don't know how many miles on the ole family truckster.

We've seen some beautiful, amazing things, which I'll share soon, but today, as we drove home, my heart was full of anxious prayers.

You see, while we saw a great many things on our travels, the traveling was rough.  Though the Apple of my Eye had the car serviced, and new tires put on before we left, we had more than our share of travel woes.

#1 ~ On the second day of our trip, we got a flat tire, on an out-of-the-way road just outside a fairly rural town.  And the limited selection of tires available in that town, along with the fact that our car is all-wheel-drive, and we were going to be driving on mountain roads, necessitated that we replace all four tires, not just the injured one.

So, a handle-able problem, but a bit of a blip on our vacation fun.

#2 ~ Three days later, just as we were entering Yellowstone, while I had my eyes glued to the window, enjoying the mountain view, I heard my sweetie say, "Now what??"  I looked over to see that the "Service Engine Soon" light on the dash was lit up.

"Now what?" indeed!

The light had first showed itself a few days before we left home.  The Apple of my Eye took it in, and they replaced a part, and we thought everything was fine.

Clearly, it wasn't.

We got to our campsite, ate dinner and bedded down for the night.  And the next day we drove the car to one of Yellowstone's very-necessary auto repair locations.  Fortunately, it was a simple problem, and a short while later, two very nice repairmen had us back on the road to Old Faithful.

#3 ~ Additionally, our car seems to have a very slow coolant leak.  The mechanic has not been able to find any problems, but the car has a tendency to require coolant a little more often than we think it should.

But that's okay.  He'd brought coolant along, so we'd deal with that if the warning light came on.

Needless to say, we were thinking about the car more than we wanted to.  And on the final day of our trip, as we drove several hours home, I was in prayer.  I was grateful to God for getting us safely everywhere we wanted to go, and I was praying those blessings would continue until we reached our driveway.  We had a long way to go, across the Nevada and California desert, in temperatures that reached 119 degrees. 

But while I was praying, I wasn't just praying for us.  I was praying, too, for other drivers.  Over the course of several hours, we saw several cars pulled off to the side of the road.  There was no way to tell if they had engine trouble, or if they just needed to make a phone call or something, but I knew there was a significant chance they were in exactly the pickle we were hoping to avoid.  Most everyone has cell phones of course, and the Highway Patrol is a pretty frequent presence, so I knew that help would be coming soon, but still, I felt for them.

And you know who else I was praying for?  You won't believe it.  It's silly, I know, but it was sincere.

I was praying for the pioneers.  I was thinking about those men and women who braved the elements, cold and hot, looking for adventure, a better life, or simply a new frontier.  They traveled with not enough equipment, not enough food, and not enough protection from the elements. 

Oh, and they were traveling in wagons, pulled by horses.

So here I was, in 2014, sending retroactive prayers to those courageous, amazing Americans.  They had been exactly where I was ~ across those same deserts; over those same mountains.  They were anxious and trusting, fearful and excited.  And many of them prayed fervently to the same mighty God who heard my prayers today.

It seemed a little odd, even to me, to be praying for someone who lived a century and a half ago, but I know that God is outside time and space.  And maybe it wasn't even praying, per se, as much as being with them in spirit.  But He knew, when those pioneers crossed those deserts, that someday I would be thinking about them, and wishing them the best, and I like to think He joined my prayers to theirs.

And why wouldn't He?  He's just that powerful, and just that loving.  Awesome.

~ "For He shall give His angels charge over you,
to keep you in all of your ways" ~
Psalm 91:11

Sunday, July 13, 2014

"For I was the king's cupbearer."

"the joy of the Lord is your strength"
Nehemiah 8:10

I made an interesting discovering a few weeks ago.  About myself.  Which is surprising, because I thought I knew me pretty well.

The topic was this:  What's your favorite book of the Bible?  It's a hard question to answer, because each book offers something different.  So anytime in my life that someone asked me that question, my mind immediately went to a couple of places:

The Book of Isaiah ~ I've never actually studied Isaiah, only read it, but the verse that I've long thought of as my favorite verse comes from Isaiah:

"But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint."
(Isaiah 40:31)

And then over the years, I discovered other verses in Isaiah that found a place in my heart, too.  So I don't think I know that book terrifically well, but still it inspires me. 

The Book of Psalms ~ Who doesn't love the psalms?  There's something for every person, something for every situation; every emotion.  But in a way it feels like cheating to call it your favorite book.  It's like calling the dictionary your favorite, cuz it's got all the other books in it.

Paul's letter to the Philippians ~ This book has such a joyful, triumphant tone to it, despite the fact that Paul was writing from prison.

So those were my "standby's" for a long time.  And then I read Ruth, which I think is so wonderful.  It's like a romance novel, but biblical, and neatly and concisely packed into just four chapters.  Plus there's that whole "Jesus as Redeemer" message.  Good stuff, that.

And the Book of Joshua.  I love Joshua.  And I love Caleb.  And the Book of Joshua is where we get to see the most of Caleb.

And of course I love the gospels.  History and spiritual edification all at once. 

But a few weeks ago, I was in a quandary.  I had a decision to make, and while it wasn't a bad thing, I wanted peace in the decision, too.  So I prayed about what book I should read, and soon thereafter, I found myself in the Book of Nehemiah. 

I studied Nehemiah about six years ago, with a small group of friends.  Very sweet, very close friends.  So my study of Nehemiah holds very fond memories for me.  Plus I've read it a few more times over the years, and I just love it.  I love that it tells a story, like Ruth or Esther, and I love the perseverance and triumph of rebuilding the wall of the city, despite those who tried to stop it.  It's inspiring and challenging, all at once.

And a few days after reading Nehemiah, and getting the inspiration I was looking for, someone asked me what my favorite book of the Bible is.  And I found myself saying, "Nehemiah."  It surprised me, somehow.  It was almost instinctual.  But I knew it was true.

I don't think it's necessarily spiritual growth on my part.  It's just change.  And I love that.  I love that as I've gotten to know the Bible better, I've not just learned, I've developed new appreciation.  And of course, I don't love Isaiah or Philippians or Psalms any less; I've just added a new book to the list of books I love.  And every book that I love, I love for a different reason.

I'm a complex person.  I'm guessing you are, too.  Maybe that's why He gave us so much in His word, to appeal all the different aspects of each of us.  Our Creator knows us that well.

So... what's your favorite book?

~ "And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people,
for he was standing above all the people;
and when he opened it, all the people stood up.
And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God.
Then all the people answered, 'Amen, Amen!' 
while lifting up their hands.
And they bowed their heads
and worshiped the Lord
with their faces to the ground."
Nehemiah 8:5-6

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Determined to Worship

"Oh come, let us worship"
Psalm 95:6

So we came into a church a few weeks ago, and made our way to our "usual" seats.  Or close, anyhow.  We don't sit in the same seats every week, but in the same general area.  You know how it is ~ we don't want to be under an A/C vent, we want to be where we can see the pastor comfortably, we need good lighting so we can see to take notes, etc. 

Oh, and I like to be near a window.  If I go too long without looking at trees or flowers or clouds, I get withdrawal symptoms. 

Anyhow, so we sat down, nodding hi to an usher as we did so.  We didn't need his assistance, but he stood there dutifully and smiled, wanting to be needed.

A few minutes later, he was needed.  Or so I thought.  Someone walked up to him, and they had a conversation.  A long conversation.  A conversation that kept going well after worship had started.

I tried to keep my eyes front, and my heart on God, and my ears tuned to the music, but it was hard.  Ever notice how some people don't actually whisper, they just talk in a low voice?  And even if you are whispering, there is no disguising the sound of the letter S.

So I fought distraction, and tried hard to worship.

And then the family in front of me got into the action...

It appeared to be a father and three girls, ages 12-16 or so.  The youngest girl was sitting between her sisters, but the father appeared to want her to write the offering check.  He handed her the checkbook and the offering envelope and leaned past her sister, apparently giving her directions.

But I'm not positive, because I was trying to pay attention to worship.

The sister who was between the dad and the family accountant apparently felt she was in the way of the conversation, so she stood up and gave her sister a little shove, so now she was next to the dad.  The "pushy" sister then sat in the seat the younger sister had just vacated, where, frankly, it looked to me like she'd wanted to be all along.

But what do I know; I was just trying to worship.

By this point, I was downright frustrated.  What happened to manners?  Or did these people just have no realization outside of their own current thought (i.e. saying hi to a friend, or getting the tithing check written)? 

And I know I've done it a time or two myself.  Sometimes we're just clueless, ya know?

But the thing is, there will always be something distracting us from paying proper attention to God and His worth.  Sometimes it's the thoughts in our own busy minds, sometimes it's the devil himself, working to prevent us.  And sometimes it's good, if temporarily thoughtless, people.

And maybe it's a good reminder that if I'm doing what I ought to be doing, I'll be less likely to prevent someone from doing what they ought to be doing.

Eyes on Him, people!

~ "Let us go into His tabernacle;
       Let us worship at His footstool." ~
Psalm 132:7

Friday, July 11, 2014

Reasons to Praise

He is Omniscient

"For the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord,
And He ponders all his paths"
Proverbs 5:21

He is our Motivation

"It was for the sake of His name that they went out."
3 John 7

He is the Door

"I am the door.  If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved,
and will go in and out and find pasture."
John 10:9

He is our Redeemer

"I know that my Redeemer lives, 
and He shall stand at last on the earth"
Job 19:25

He is Just

"He is the Rock, His works are perfect,
and all His ways are just.
A faithful God who does no wrong,
upright and just is He."
Deuteronomy 32:4

He is Sanctification

"I, the Lord, who sanctify you,
am holy"
Leviticus 21:8

He is King of Kings

"the Lamb will overcome them, 
for He is Lord of lords and King of kings;
and those who are with Him
are called, chosen, and faithful"
Revelation 17:14

Thursday, July 10, 2014

A New Book

"Till I come, give attention to reading"
1 Timothy 4:13

I'm reading a new book today.  You know why?  Because I finished a book yesterday.

Finishing a book brings up conflicting emotions in me.  Often I'm disappointed that the book is ended, particularly if I'm enjoying it, which is most of the time because if I weren't enjoying it, I would have stopped reading it.

Occasionally I do read to the end of a book I'm not enjoying.  Maybe it's because one of my kids is reading it for school and I want to be able to discuss it with them.  Or maybe I've been vacillating the whole book, trying to decide if it's worthy of finishing, so then I read a little farther, and pretty soon I'm near the end so I just stick it out.  But most of the time, if I'm not enjoying a book by about 1/3 of the way in, I give up.

But I digress.

The other emotion I feel when I finish a book, is anticipation.  Generally I have several books in my waiting-to-be read pile, and I love that delicious feeling of "what shall I read next?"  Anticipation is a great feeling, isn't it?

Anyhow, I started reading a new book today.  It's called One Man's Meat, and it's a book of essays by E.B. White.  Who knew E.B. White wrote anything but children's books?  Fascinating.  I bought it at a used book store near my house, because it looked like a "find".  You know, something you had no idea existed, but is just perfect for you.  And as soon as I got a couple pages in, I knew I was gonna love it. 

I'm only about 20 pages or so into it, but I'm surprised already at how intriguing it is to me.  It was written in the late 1930s and early 1940s, so a lot of the subjects are a little old-fashioned to me, but that's good.  That means I'm learning something new.  He wrote about the coming war (he didn't know it was coming, of course, but he knew that what was going on in Europe did not bode well.)  And there was a piece about Pullman cars, and another one about how William Jennings Bryan had allergies.  Fascinating.  But I never would have thought there'd be anything really inspirational or thought-provoking about such subjects.  And yet, it's got me thinking.

I love a book ~ or a poem or a song or a sermon ~ that makes me think.  I love when I can feel my mind or my imagination being stimulated.  It causes me to explore and analyze new ideas... and new approaches to old ideas.

It made me think of a quote I read years ago, about Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich.  I think I've shared it before, but I'm thinkin' it again, so you get to hear it again.  A fan of his said, "I always had the same reaction, even up to the last time I heard him play ~ that I just wanted to run home and pick up my cello."  This is how I judge a book or a sermon... Does it make me think?  Does it make me want to write...  This book does.

There are certain books of the Bible that have the same effect on me, and it has changed over the years.  Sometimes it's been a book, or a portion of a book that is less familiar to me.  Other times it  has been sitting down to read a book I love, and finding that I'm not just reading, I'm studying.  Or maybe I'll be reading a book, and start wondering about the person I'm reading about, like Philip, or Caleb, and find myself cross-referencing, out of curiosity.

Learning leads to learning.  Wondering leads to knowledge.  He lays out the path, and sparks our interest, and then all we have to do is follow.  Curiosity, ho!

~ "It is good for me that I have been afflicted,
That I may learn Your statutes." ~
Psalm 119:71

Answers to yesterday's quiz:
1. d (Genesis 20)
2. c (Genesis 37)
3. b (1 Kings 19)
4. c (1 Samuel 25)
5. d (Matthew 8)
6. d (John 9)
7. d (Genesis 1)
8. d (Judges 14)
9. c (1 Samuel 17)
10. a (1 Samuel 17)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Quiz Time!

 What, did you think you were getting a break just because it's summer?

"Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me."
Job 38:3

1.  Who married his half-sister?
a.  Isaac
b.  Jacob
c.  Adam
d.  Abraham

2.  Who dreamed that the sun and the moon and 11 stars bowed down to him?
a.  Abraham
b.  Paul
c.  Joseph
d.  David

3.  When Elijah ran from Jezebel, what food was sent to him by God?
a.  bread
b.  angel food cake
c.  meat pies
d.  pizza

4.  What did Abigail give to David to apologize for her husband's behavior?
a.  money
b.  sheep
c.  food and wine
d.  cattle

5.  Whose mother-in-law did Jesus heal when she had a fever?
a.  Martha's
b.  Mary Magdalene
c.  Matthew
d.  Peter

6.  When Jesus healed the man who was blind from birth, He made mud with His spit and put it on the man's eyes.  What did He tell the man to do then?
a.  Go pray in the synagogue
b.  Go show himself to the Pharisees
c.  Wash in the Sea of Galilee
d.  Wash in the pool of Siloam

7.  On which day were birds created?
a.  second
b.  third
c.  fourth
d.  fifth

8.  Samson's riddle was about bees in what?
a.  a tree stump
b.  a bear's carcass
c.  a cave
d.  a lion's carcass

9.  How many days did Goliath challenge Israel to send a man to fight him?
a.  2 days
b.  13 days
c.  40 days
d.  75 days

10.  Where did David fatally wound Goliath?
a.  forehead
b.  chest
c.  arm
d.  leg

Good luck!  Answers tomorrow!

~ "And all the people shall answer and say, 'Amen!'" ~
Deuteronomy 27:15

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Safety in Danger

 "in peace..."
Psalm 4:8

Psalm 4 is a wonderful, comforting psalm that had great meaning for me recently.  Its title is, "The Safety of the Faithful," and reading that title made it clear to me how grateful I am for His blessings in my life

We went on a trip a few days ago, with a lot of driving.  And unfortunately, in the early part of it, we got a flat tire.  We had driven over something large and metal, on a fairly desolate canyon road.  It's a tricky situation, dealing with that, trying to keep everyone safe and get the car fixed as simply as possible.  It was not quite as simple as "just put the spare on," for reasons I'll explain in a future post, but when it was all over, and I read this psalm, I was reminded that wherever we travel, He is with us, and though things will go wrong, it does not mean we are without His protection.

"Here me when I call, O God of my righteousness!"

Our cell phones allow for easy calling of the Auto Club, but that's not the first call we need to make.

"But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The Lord will hear when I call to Him."

Know that He does hear you.  That's faith.  You are set apart for your faith.  You are His.

"Be angry, and do not sin."

Flat tires, overheating cars, road construction, traffic, a little too much family togetherness... Anger itself is not a sin.  But do not sin in your anger.

"Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still."

When the crisis has passed, rest.  And meditate on His protection, His mercy, and His blessings. 

"I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make we dwell in safety."

Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.  That's faith.  Blessings all yours, and ten thousand besides.

~ "You have put gladness in my heart"
Psalm 4:7

Monday, July 7, 2014

Psalm 4

The Safety of the Faithful
To the Chief Musician.  With stringed instruments.  A Psalm of David.

"Hear me when I call, 
O God of my righteousness!
You have relieved me in my distress;
Have mercy on me, and hear my prayer.

But know that the Lord has set apart for Himself him who is godly;
The Lord will hear when I call to Him.

Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.  Selah
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the Lord.

Lord, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us.
You have put gladness in my heart...
I will both lie down in peace and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety."

(Verses 1, 3-5, 6, 7, 8)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

What would John Winthrop say?

"if he comes to you, welcome him"
Colossians 4:10

My thoughts were all a-twitter a few days ago, about something I saw on TV.

I feel the need to clarify that though I, personally, am not on Twitter, I do, occasionally, get all a-twitter.

I wonder if that's why they named it Twitter?  Hmmm....

Anyhow, I was watching the news the other day when the story turned to the many immigrant children that the U.S. is trying to deal with lately.  They have been sent by their parents from several countries in South America.  I assume if you live in the U.S. that you are aware of this.  They've been arriving in droves, and once the children are here, they are generally sent to live with a family member here in the States. 

The whole thing is controversial in a couple of ways.  First of all, should the immigrants be sent back to the country from which they came?  The numbers are hard for our country to manage, but the countries they are coming from are experiencing extreme turmoil, and do we want to send them back to that?

Secondly, once they are processed in an immigration center and sent to their family member, they are instructed to check in to their local immigration center within 90 days.  Now, how many are really going to do that?

But what troubled me was the TV coverage I saw a few days ago.  Many of the immigrants are being bussed from Texas to California for processing, because Texas is simply overwhelmed.  Now, it seems to me that California has its own problems, as it's got more than its share of immigrants already, but what do I know?

Anyhow, these busses ~ most of them full of children ~ are being met in California by shouting, sign-holding protesters.  It just made me cringe.

I'm of two minds on the whole issue.  It is a lot of people for the country to deal with.  And as a Californian, I know my state is in debt already.  How will this influx affect us?

What I do know is that this country has always been seen as a refuge.  I know we haven't always done right by everyone:  Blacks, Irish, Japanese, Native Americans... We're not perfect.  But for hundreds of years, people have been coming here to escape something in their home.  What I do know is that a child should not be greeted with shouts of anger and signs that say, "Go home."

How about a sign like this, instead:

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."
Emma Lazarus

Shining city on a hill, remember?

~ "You are the light of the world. 
A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden." ~
Matthew 5:14

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Being Aware of What You Wear

"what shall we wear?"
Matthew 6:31

There's a sweet looking couple who often sit in front of us in church.  They are probably in their late fifties or early sixties.  He's white and she's Asian, and he's about a foot and a half taller than she is.  Hard to miss, really.

They sit very close to one another, which impresses me, because they also both manage to take notes during the service.  As much as I love the Apple of my Eye, we usually pull away from one another just a bit, so that we both have our right hand free to write.  Maybe I should have married a lefty.


Anyhow, they seem to be a very close couple.  But a few weeks ago, more than halfway through the service, I realized that the gentleman, who was sitting in front of me, had his shirt on inside-out. I had noticed the tag that said Pierre Cardin, but these days a lot of designers put their names in very visible places on clothing, so I didn't think anything about it.

But then a little while later I looked up and realized that I could also see the tag that had the size and care information.  That caused me to glance at the seams, and sure enough, it was inside-out.

I sort of grinned to myself ~ there but for the grace of God, right?  And I went back to paying attention to the sermon.  A few minutes later the wife snuggled in and put her head on the husband's shoulder, and she must have realized it too, because she broke out into a fit of silent, shoulder-shaking giggles.  And then it was all I could do not to laugh right along with her.  But I didn't.

The whole thing reminded me of a conversation that I had with my sweetie, soon after we were married.  We were getting ready to leave, and I asked him how I looked.  He gave me a glance and said, "Fine," or "Good," or some such.  But I was wanting more than that.  I gave him a little "lesson" that would help me out.  I told him that any time I asked him how I looked, I was asking if my outfit looked alright, but also if my outfit was appropriate for our destination, and if my hair was doing that "floopy" thing, and if my slip was showing, and if I had a tag hanging out, or a loose thread.

I know; sort of an all-encompassing request.  But this is what we need from each other.  We need people who see what's wrong, and have the courage and sensitivity to tell us.  And of course, it reaches farther than that.  It is also about letting each other know if our attitudes are appropriate for the situation, or there's any bitterness showing, or unkindness hanging out.

A marriage is a good place for this.  The best, in a lot of cases.  But if that's not the case for you, you need to have someone in your life who can be another set of eyes, and then gently point it out if you find yourself somehow inside-out. 

~ "The way of a fool is right in his own eyes,
But he who heeds counsel is wise" ~
Proverbs 12:15

Friday, July 4, 2014


"Blessed is the nation..."
Psalm 33:12

I'm a very fortunate gal, in that I've been able to see a lot of this beautiful country I live in.  I was born on one coast, then when I was young my family moved to the other coast, and then when I was a teenager, my family moved back to the coast from which we'd left.  Driving across the country twice, plus various vacations in between, allowed me to see a lot.

I've watched fireworks exploding over the Washington Monument as I sat on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

This is just a design, not an actual photo.  Those two buildings are not that close to one another in real life.

I have stood in the room where Thomas Jefferson and the framers of the Declaration discussed and argued, with the windows closed, in the sweltering Philadelphia humidity, perfecting the Document.

I have stood on the memorial to the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, watching flower petals float on water slick from the oil that still bubbles up from the sunken ship.

I have stood, at sunset, in the Gettysburg Cemetery where Abraham Lincoln delivered maybe the most powerful two-minute speech in history.

I have fired a cannon at Fort McHenry (yes, really.  In a re-enactment, when I was a kid).  And I have seen the flag that Francis Scott Key saw.

Harper's Ferry... Jamestown... Lexington and Concord and the Old North Church...

Mount Rushmore... The Alamo... and a hallowed field outside Shanksville, Pennyslvania..

Manassas... Valley Forge... Promontory Point, Utah... and Arlington National Cemetery.

Appamattox Court House and the Liberty Bell...

The freedom of a nation is achieved in a lot of different ways.  Repeatedly.  And I'm incredibly glad to have been brought to a deep understanding of the many people whose lives and deaths have impacted me.  And it makes me want to be a better person ~ the woman, and child of God, that He wants me to be.

Have a blessed Fourth... Celebrate that which makes you independent.

~ "Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" ~
Psalm 33:12

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Things I Wish I Had Said*

*{but I'm glad someone did!}

"I can't hate a human being because my God never made anything ugly.  Now, you can be ugly if you wanna, boy, but God didn't make you that way.  Uh uh."
John Jordan "Buck" O'Neil (1911-2006)
First baseman and manager in the Negro American League
Scout and first black coach in Major League Baseball

Every good and perfect gift comes from God.  
And anything good in us is God in us.  
And anything not good in us is not God in us.  

"My Lord and my God!"
Thomas, the Disciple, 
upon putting his fingers on the holes in Jesus' hands and side
(John 20:28)

To forget that He is always with me
 is to be like Thomas, 
and not recognize my Lord and my God.

"To keep your marriage brimming
With love in the loving cup
Whenever you're wrong, admit it
Whenever you're right, shut up."
Ogden Nash (1902 - 1971)
American poet, author, lyricist

That's good advice, not just for marriage, 
but pretty much any relationship...

"And autumn has now turned to winter...
and after the winter, what then?
... Do I dare trust in God to send springtime?"
Robert H. Brague (born about 1941)
American poet, writer, blogger, musician
God always sends springtime again.
But sometimes our faithless hearts wonder.  
And I'm grateful to know I'm not the only one...

"And now, Lord, what do I wait for?  My hope is in You."
Psalm 39:7

"Victory without God is mockery and delusion,
but defeat with God is not defeat at all."
William Faulkner (1897 - 1962)
American writer and Nobel Prize laureate

"Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors 
through Him who loved us."
Romans 8:37

"It is a beautiful evening... 71 degrees,
a canopy of blue overhead,
barely a zephyr stirring the flags in center field..."
Vin Scully (born 1927)
American sportscaster and play-by-play announcer
for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1950 - present)

Isn't he wonderful?

"He is the Master of us all."
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732 - 1809)
Austrian composer
upon hearing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus
performed at Westminster Abbey

It was many voices, singing in one accord that evoked this response from Haydn.  There is just nothing like when we praise Him as one voice. 

~ "But as for you, speak the things 
    which are proper for sound doctrine." ~
Titus 2:1

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Why I Loved June

"in the sixth month"
Ezekiel 8:1

June is the start of Summer Proper, but the weather has not yet committed.  In Southern California, that means "June Gloom".  It sounds depressing ~ probably because of the word gloom ~ but I love it.  It's cool and cloudy in the morning, and then the sun comes out, but the temperature rarely gets higher than mid-80s.

June also seems like the beginning of adventure somehow.  Summer is a time of travel and exploration and freedom, and June is the gateway to all that. 

June was the end of the Little League baseball season for us.  While I won't miss sitting in sun for two hours at day games, or sitting in the cold for two hours at night games, I will miss seeing my son work hard, try his best, interact with his teammates, celebrate victories and deal so well with disappointments.  I'll also miss seeing the Apple of my Eye sharing his gifts as assistant coach.

June was also the end of my daughter's volleyball season.  While I won't miss sitting on a hard chair in an incredibly noisy arena for several hours, I will miss seeing my daughter give her all.  I will miss seeing her grin when she makes a good play, and high five her teammates regardless of whether they won or lost the point, and listen to her coach's instructions with that serious expression that she has that tells me she's going to apply whatever he's saying.  I'll also miss hearing the Apple of my Eye cheering her on with the pride of a Daddy.

June was dropping off my daughter's exhibits at the county fair.  The fair will be in July, and she has two photos competing, as she has the past few years.  We're hopeful for another blue ribbon or two!

June was pulling up carpet in two of the bedrooms, and working together to replace them with wood floors.  I'm so proud of my sweetie for doing so much work, and I feel such pleasure at what I helped to accomplish.

June was my very first "Sip & See".  A Sip & See a Southern tradition hosted by a friend, for a new mother, so friends can see the new baby.  It was such fun to gather with some longtime friends to chat, and celebrate a beautiful new life.

June was the first of three Summertime get-togethers for the Teens in my husband's high school Bible study.  Volleyball, kickball, Capture-the-Flag, and of course pizza and cookies.

June was my parents' driving vacation that included North Dakota, and my father accomplishing his goal of visiting all 50 states.  An admirable goal for all of us

June was driving lessons, and pizza parties and a day at the lake.  June was crazy schedules which meant leaning into one another as we dealt with our lack of routine.  June was finishing a school year, and looking back with a feeling of pride for my kids' jobs well done, and looking forward to new academic challenges next year.

June was roses and June bugs, peaches and nectarines... June was bucolic and demure. 

I am blessed.

~ "Truly the light is sweet,
and it is pleasant for the eyes to behold the sun" ~
Ecclesiastes 11:7

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

A Closer Look at Psalm 134

How much do you love Psalm 134?  It's a great one to start with if you decide to challenge yourself to memorize Scripture.  Which I highly recommend.
"Behold, bless the Lord,
All you servants of the Lord,
Who by night stand in the house of the Lord!
Lift up your hands in the sanctuary,
And bless the Lord."

The first two verses speak to "all you servants of the Lord" which serves two purposes.  First, as it was written about the Levites, the priests, it is a wonderful reminder to us to pray for priests and pastors, Sunday School teachers and church secretaries, nuns and choirs singing in balconies.  They serve Him, but they also serve His people, and they deserve our prayer.

Secondly, it's a reminder that in some way, we are all servants of the Lord.   In some way, you should be serving Him by serving His people.  We are not all called to "stand by night in the house of the Lord," but we are definitely to "lift our hands in the sanctuary and bless the Lord."  Every act of serving Him is an act of worship, but it should be accompanied by purposeful and outward praise.  Serving is only part of what we owe Him...

"The Lord who made heaven and earth
Bless you from Zion!"

I love verse 3 for its use of the word "bless".  Words fascinate me, especially words with dual or "opposite" meanings, and I love that this word is something God does for us, but also something we do for Him.

The other thing I love about verse 3 is that line, "Bless you from Zion!"  I love that reminder that though God is with us always, He is also on His throne.  His deity never wanes, even though He deigns to abide in Spirit in us.  

~ "Behold, bless the Lord" ~
Psalm 134:1