Sunday, July 28, 2013

3 Sleeps in a New City








Wednesday, July 24, 2013

7 Life Lessons from a Swimmimg Pool

1. When I am not vigilant my pool can turn green overnight.  When my heart is not vigilant, the devil can effectively tempt me with the bloom of algae, which eats away at my soul and causes murky water and then shame.  I won't have anyone over to the house for fear they might see my poor pool chemistry. Undelt with sin drives me into isolation just like a green pool.

2. Even when I am vigilant, my pool can turn green overnight.  When the wind shifts and mustard algae is blown into my pool, it is a reminder that my most righteous works, if they are the outworking of my salvation, will eventually lead to the despair of life.  Mustard algae is resistant to the cleansing effect of chlorine, just like my best deeds will never cleanse my heart before God. 

3.  When the temperature rises, a pool needs more chemicals and more filtration time.  When life's stress is spiking my internal thermometer, that is when I need to spend more time in the chemical of His Word and when I need to increasingly filter my thoughts through Christ.

4.  When there are a hundred leaves at the bottom of my pool, I have a choice of attitude to make.  Will my satisfaction be when the pool is leaf-free?  Or will I choose to rely on the character of God when the pool is not how it "should" be?   Leaves drop in the wrong places in life too. 

5.  Is it irreverent to compare the Incomparable with a Polaris, the debris vacuum cleaner for the pool?  In the fullness of time, Jesus willingly took the mess of decaying life in himself.  He filled up himself with our past, present and future sins (which are even uglier than the bloated frogs, slimy snakes, fermented leaves and other things which induce gagging in the Polaris bag).    Three days later God emptied Jesus from the grave's hold.  His completed work restored me and is the promise I hold onto of the restoration of all creation.  

6. There are a ton of unscrupulous pool stores.  They will sell me anything for my pool problems and I will spend a fortune on worthless colored liquids which are strong on the promise and weak on the delivery.  As in life, there is plenty of worthless, worldly advice on husbands and children and do's and do-not's.  I have learned to be careful from whom I buy wisdom.

7. A swimming pool is like Grace.  Some people drown in it and some only dabble their toes in it.  Call me a fool, but I would rather drown in it.

There are so many more parallels to pool ownership and life, but they will probably have to be learned in your pool not mine.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sparkle and Light by Jane

After giving Alex a photography assignment, Jane begged to borrow his camera and take some of her own. I think it is interesting that she chose her own theme.  A great many of my little Button Bright's pictures had to do with shine.  How appropriate as her eyes sparkle with the light of an inner candle.

Being half the height of me, her perspective is really cool.  Her gaze is heavenward and you can't beat that.

Jane had a pair of flip flops that were encrusted with diamonds.  The flip flops started looking shabbier and shabbier as the diamonds were lost about town.  Some weeks ago we snipped the remaining diamonds off and put them in a zip lock bag.  I noticed Jane had poured them out on one of my stools and taken a photo.  How very clever.

This is the only photo I took.   This is a glimpse into Jane's heart.  Ben is the meddler, but unprompted, my sweet 7 year old added to the blackboard.  Isn't it marvelous that my look alike twins articulated the same truth in two different ways. 

Jesus is the melodious medley and the music of his presence is the Way of Light.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Gluttony at Its Best

The more God has revealed himself to us, the more Ben and I want of him.  It is a spirit hunger that doesn't subside.  We want to grow fat on God.  Practically, how can we do that?
As we poured ourselves in Scripture, it seemed so simple.  1 John 3:18  "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth." 
Then looking at Luke 15...We saw that Jesus was in the business of going after the one lost sheep and leaving the 99 in the open country.  How do we apply this?  Well, I will tell you it came in an unexpected way.  God pressed on our hearts that we would have to leave our four children in the open country and pursue our lost child until we find him. 
We are not doing the rescuing, it is all God.  He initiated and we, as sheep in our own right, get to follow.  At times, we might think too highly of ourselves and count ourselves undershepherds to the Good Shepherd.  However since God is constantly shepherding my soul and leading me to green pastures, I count myself a sheep.
How does a sheep rescue another sheep?  Well, it doesn't. 
But I will tell you that when this little sheep found that another little sheep was in peril, I told the Good Shepherd, "You are going to have to carry this precious little child on your shoulders, because mine are only good for mutton with mint sauce."  
Can you see me dangling my hind legs down the rock face to rescue the sheep alone on this boulder?   Before I hollered out instructions to grab hold, I would slip and need rescuing myself. 

Looking at this picture, I see surefooted Jesus gently scooping up the lost lamb and carrying it on his broad shoulders. 

The key to living fat on Jesus is letting him feed your dreams and inabilities.   Once we taste his higher plans, there is no going back to ours.  It is invigorating and exciting, dangerous and scary and oh, so much better than living spiritually skinny.

Like C.S. Lewis said,
"It would seem that Our Lord finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Chicken Prescription

Take daily by arm

Preferably after bobbing chicken exercises

May increase temporal happiness


But some side effects include: Saying Goodbye



Follow-up at the chicken's new home off of a special street.  (Just look out the window.)

Signage on the way home reminds us that we followed the doctor's orders.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Patterns and Texture by Alex

 In Our Home Laundromat 

Classic Lego

Mom Should Clean More


Not Enough Milk

My Brother Being Attacked
Beginning attempts at photography by a 13 year old.

Monday, July 15, 2013

The Sleepless God

Psalm 121:3  "...He who watches over you will not slumber."

A few weeks ago I woke up around 4 in the morning feeling the urgency to pray for a family in our medical community.  That day their one year old son had passed away unexpectedly.  I have never met the family, but Ben works with the father. 

Yesterday, a friend from church gave me a call and told me the rest of the story.   Through her connection at the hospital, she had heard the news the same day I did, but not from me.  We hadn't talked and haven't seen each other in a few weeks.  But that same night I woke up, she woke up at 3:40am with the same sense of urgency to pray for this family.   However, she also felt like she was suppose to call our house so that we could join her in praying for them.   Looking at the clock, she decided that there was no way she was going to wake us up. Little did she know that God had woken me up too.   In two separate house across town, the God of All Peace and Comfort was uttering words over this bereaved family through two women in the wee hours of the morning. 

And when this father went back to work, he sought out my friend and lightly touched her arm, as only one who has been sustained by God can, and said, "God bless you."

When God wakes you up, you get to be part of his unsleeping story. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Allure of Lace

As I sat outside in the evening cool, I found this object of beauty.  I was contemplating the decay of spiritual relationships and of how things get to the state that they are in.  

When do we see a leaf turn from solid and leathery to frail and lacy?  When is there no recognizing the original?

We rarely notice the gradual decay.   Rather one day we wake up and peer through crumbling screens and wonder what is missing.   Oh, but the beauty I have found in the leaf antiqued by sin, because when I can see myself as God sees me, I become undone like in Isaiah 6.  Woe to me for I am ruined.   I am the one with unclean lips, unclean heart and unclean actions.  I am the one with the holes, the one without substance, but the one held together only by Christ's veins.  "He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." Col 1:17  Christ takes the flawed leaf and makes it something beautiful.  The beautiful part is not the time-eaten holes, it is the venation of the leaf which stretch out like his arms did on the cross.  His supremacy makes the beauty.  His plan to redeem the humble, the sin-filled, the desperate is the central thread in the mesmerizing lace he has woven. 
I wager you don't have to go to the island of Burano to see the Greatest Lace-Maker at work.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Indoor Cows Out to Eat

 Annual Cow Appreciation Day.