Friday, November 20, 2015

Monday, November 16, 2015

Using the Precious Things

The pretty china.  The beautiful old quilts.  The crystal.  It's silly to hide it in a closet, unused.  But it's uncomfortable to use it, knowing that you're risking ruin in the short-run or wearing out in the long-run.  So I give myself the speech as best I can: use those precious things.  Enjoy the memories.  Enjoy the beauty. 

And then comes a week like this one.  We were overwhelmed in blankets.  I hauled them all out -- out of the closets, out of the storage spaces in the basement, out of the linen cupboards.  I took inventory.  I set aside some to donate.  I set some aside to offer to the kids.  I probably kept too many.  And ...

and ...

I threw some away.

Let me just say, ... OUCH.

Two of these were quilts made by Grandma, for the kids, hand-sewn, hand-quilted.  But they're over 20 years old.  When newly made, they were constructed of old fabric scraps.  These quilts were well-used and enjoyed.  They decorated the bedrooms.  They had to go through the washer regularly.  They are not merely torn, in need of repair.  They are disintegrating.  It only makes sense that they've served us well and are now ready for the garbage.  But I hate throwing them away.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Stop That Sinning!

Repentance doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to stop sinning. 

Part of repentance is recognizing that the sins I do occur because of the sinner I am.  And the sinful nature is going to keep on being sinful until I'm laid to rest in the grave. 

Here's what repentance really is:  that I'm not going to rely on myself and my own efforts to solve the problem of sin in my life.  Rather, repentance means that I flee again to Christ, and depend all the more upon His forgiveness.

So does this mean the Christian can sin-like-crazy and indulge in whatever the Old Adam might desire? [She sighs in exasperation and wonders, "Are you for-real??"]

The reason the Christian desires to amend his sinful life is precisely because there has been a change of heart, worked by the Gospel, which causes him to be distressed by sin and to yearn to be free of it.

The Confessions state that the "Holy Spirit works faith when and where He pleases in those who hear the Gospel."  It is also true He works the fruits of faith when and where He pleases.   The Lord may have different ideas about what is good in our life than we do.  When we make an idol of our "good Christian walk," then the Lord knows better than we what is good for us.

We tend to think of the "amendment of life" as doing this, stopping that, fixing that habit.  Even bigger, though, is letting go of the sins of others, where Christ's forgiveness flows through us to others who've been rotten and don't deserve kindness.  Hmm ... just like Jesus forgives us.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Joseph's Decision about Mary's News

Remember when Joseph was thinking about "quietly divorcing" Mary?  He pretty much had two choices: a) accuse her of adultery, or b) divorce her and let people think the baby was his while still leaving Mary free to go be with The Other Guy. 

If Joseph accused Mary of adultery, she would be stoned.  But not just Mary.  If she were killed, then her baby would also die.  Joseph's compassion (even prior to the message from God) was not only for this woman, but he also was showing compassion to that baby in sparing His life.

Monday, September 07, 2015


The psalms often mention people trembling before the Lord.  It sounds like shaking-in-your-boots, terrified panic.  I'm pretty sure that's the intent of the word in the original language.

But there's another kind of trembling.  Trembling with excitement, with anticipation. 
The Lord reigns; let the peoples tremble!  He dwells between the cherubim.  Let the earth be moved (Ps 99).  
Later in the psalm He is called "God-Who-Forgives" though He takes vengeance on sinful deeds.  He forgives.  He promises.  We have some things to anticipate, things to look forward to.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Obeying God Rather Than Men

Story: King Saul orders somebody, anybody, to kill this popular young David fellow.  Prince Jonathan objects.  David escapes.  Jonathan wants David to come back to the palace.  David says, "Not on your life!  Your dad is plotting to murder me."  "No, he wouldn't do that."  "That's what you think.  He's hiding it from you because he knows you wouldn't like it."  Jonathan comes up with a plan to test it out and still ensure David's safety.  (1 Samuel 18-20)

In chapel, Pastor asked the kids about the fourth commandment.  Jonathan was disobeying his father.  Wasn't that sinful?  (By the way, in case you're wondering, the answer is NO, not sinful.)  As we read the story, and as Pastor brought in other passages, something crossed my mind.  

We cannot truly honor someone unless we are holding fast to the Word of God.

Any time we have to fudge on God's word a bit, whatever "honor" we are showing to somebody isn't really honor.  It may be for self-preservation or for gaining power or for some other reason.  But it's not honor.

So when there are ethical problems with regard to abusive husbands, or parents using kids as drug-runners, or governments enacting unjust laws, the answer will always be in God's word, especially in connection to His word of promise and mercy.


Monday, August 31, 2015

A Very Clean Pantry

My poor pantry was feeling left out of the cleaning binge.  So it had its own little meltdown.  A beer bottle exploded. 

1.  It was inside the closed pantry.  So flying glass stayed contained in the pantry.
2.  It was beer, not wine.  I had a wine bottle explode once.  That required not only cleaning but also painting walls.
3.  Gary was home when it happened, and did a huge portion of the clean-up work.
4.  From here on out, liquids should live on the bottom half of the pantry, and dry goods (noodles or sugar) should live on the higher shelves.

When you empty out the whole pantry, onto the kitchen floor and counters and table, it's rather surprising to see how much food we are blessed with, with it spread all over instead of contained in its proper spots behind a closed door.

So, do ants and other nasty critters like beer?  We have cleaned and scrubbed.  But I fear missing ANY drips of beer, lest I should entice pests.  (I mean the six-legged kind, you silly.)

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

This Is "Retirement"?

Yesterday was the first day I Should Have Been At Work, but wasn't.  (No, I haven't fully quit yet.  I'm still taking some short shifts until they replace at least one of the open positions at my branch.)

Such conflicting emotions!

Instead of doing one of a gazillion things on my After-I-Quit-Work to-do list, I spent the day with my daughter and newborn granddaughter.  Rachel ended up in the emergency room this weekend.  The surgeons removed a troublesome organ.  They sent her home on narcotics.  I spent a couple of days there, taking care of things that she simply couldn't.  While running some errands Tuesday morning, I wondered about certain customers, whether they'd come in yet.  I wondered how my co-workers were keeping up with the work, whether it was a busy day or a boring day, wondered who was subbing for me, etc.  And that's when it hit me.  Tuesday would have been loads easier physically and mentally if I had been at work instead of tending to family needs.  And yet ... working Tuesday would have been awful as my mind and heart would have been preoccupied with my babies and grandbabies, wanting to be there to help but unable.

Today I planned to spend a shorter amount of time with Rachel and Lizzy.  Instead the day was spent helping Katie get her car functional again.

Nature abhors a vacuum.

See what price my daughters pay when I make a "vacuum" of my calendar?  (Well.  Okay.  Not a vacuum.  But cleared out a little bit.)  It makes me wonder if I should protect my kids by going back to work!

Rachel says God had it all worked out.  She had a tiny baby ... and that baby is big enough to be safe/healthy but small enough to be carried by post-surgery mommy.  Rachel had been over-producing milk, so there was plenty in the freezer for Baby to live on while Mommy couldn't feed her.  And Nanna didn't have to be at work and could be butting in, soaking up some baby-snuggles between washing dishes and stuff like that.  I guess, if you're going to toss an emergency surgery into life, this probably was a darn-tootin' easy way to go about it.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Today's Laugh

What does the moon do when he needs a haircut?

'e clips.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

A Very Clean Refrigerator

I blame Maggie.

Today while cutting veggies, we were watching Good Eats.  Eventually Maggie commented on how clean Alton's chill-chest was.  "How can anyone keep a refrigerator that clean?"  I told her that if I had as many aides as he has, and if I were putting my refrigerator on national TV, ours would be that clean too.  At least for the camera.

A few hours later an uncovered glass of grape juice tipped over in the refrigerator.  Grape juice on every shelf.  Grape juice on the walls.  Grape juice pouring out the bottom of the appliance.  Grape juice all over the floor.

She had to go and comment on clean refrigerators.  You know the fates heard her.

An hour-and-a-half later, any qualms I had about having Not Accomplished Much today were gone.

Tomorrow we tackle the floor, including underneath the stove and fridge.  That grape juice sure was some motivation!