Thursday, September 13, 2012

Eating out of the Garbage

About a year and a half ago we spotted what seemed akin to a walking cat carcass on our property. This poor animal was so skinny you could see all the bones on his back. He had huge dull eyes, a limp and a broken tail. I believe our visitor was days from death and had arrived here to search the garbage in a last ditch effort to find food.

We started putting out cat food, which quickly disappeared. We would see the cat here and there, but he would run in terror any time he saw a human. I wondered how he even managed to muster the energy to run away. Days and weeks passed and the cat food continued to disappear, although we rarely saw the cat we knew he had been here.

One day I saw a black cat walking through our yard, I couldn't believe it was the same animal. He was filled out and his eyes were shiny and his coat was glossy. He was obviously fully restored physically, but still fearful. When we would see him we would talk gently to him, but he was so afraid he would keep a huge distance between us. But eventually he stopped running away in stark terror and is now just kept a cautious distance.

Kitty has his own insulated house outside and a heated water dish for winter. He is waiting outside on the porch railing for me almost every morning. It makes me happy to see him there and I worry about him on the days he is not. One day this last week I saw him on the far edge of our property just coming in for the morning. I called, "Kitty, kitty, kitty!", and he came running up to the house for his breakfast. You would have though I won the lottery I was so excited I thought I would burst.

We have come a long way in the last year and half. But he still doesn't trust us enough to let us touch him. Kitty likes about a 3 foot bubble and anything closer than that he is moving away. But he will snuggle himself down in the grass and close his eyes when I talk to him. You know what else? He still eats out of the garbage and only sleeps in his house when it is really cold. He has everything he needs here, yet refuses to take full advantage of all that is offered to him.

Aren't we like that? Jesus offers us everything we could ever want yet we stay just outside of his reach and continue to eat out of the garbage rather than enjoy the feast he has prepared. He stands  and calls to us every day. We can run into his arms or bolt the other direction. How his heart must beat out of his chest with joy when we choose to run to him.
Which way did you run this morning?

In His Peace -

  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.  Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. (Psalm 23 5-6)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Day of Darkness

Today I can't stop thinking about how the disciples must have felt on the Saturday between Good Friday and Easter. Put yourselves in their sandals with me for a few minutes.

It had been quite a week. Their Lord had ridden into the holy city on a lowly donkey in a triumphant parade of waving palm branches and revelers. He then spent the week teaching them lesson after lesson, pouring out upon them everything he felt he needed them to know with a passion and urgency they didn't quite understand.

The Passover arrives and Jesus, their teacher, humbly washes their feet and then tells them that his body will be broken and his blood will be shed for them. Still reeling from that statement, Jesus claims that one of them will betray him. Who will it be? Everyone wonders how that could even be possible.

Jesus spends the evening after the Passover meal in the Garden of Gethsemane with James, Peter and John. His friends are concerned because Jesus is deeply troubled and spends considerable time in prayer. They desire to help, but are overcome with sleepiness. The Lord awakens them just as their associate Judas arrives with a large group of men armed with clubs and swords to arrest Jesus. Their shock and fear scatters them in all directions like dandelion seeds in the wind.

Although the majority of the disciples heard the rest of the story second or third hand, they all knew what had transpired that Friday. Their Lord, their friend, had been falsely accused, tried, beaten and crucified. The savior of Israel had died a criminals death on the cross. Why?

Today is the Sabbath. They are gathered together, huddled in fear and confusion.  They cannot throw themselves into their work to distract them from the turmoil in their minds. The only thing they can do is to ponder the time they spent with Jesus and what the future might bring.

Can you imagine some of the thoughts that went through their heads? Some of the whispered conversations? Will we suffer the same death? How could we be so wrong? We though Jesus was going to release us from the Romans. We are in no better position than we were three years ago. He said he was preparing a place for us. He said he had overcome the world. Now he is dead. They probably pulled at their hair and wrung their hands in their confusion and frustration. What do we do now?

Can you imagine how they physically felt? Those of us that have suffered the unexpected loss of a loved one know. They probably felt physically ill, that tight feeling in the chest, the queasy, uneasy rolling of the stomach, the constant weepy feeling in your eyes. The ever undulating moods from fear to anger to sorrow; the desire to sleep until you feel better coupled with the inability to sleep.

This was a dark day. Almost darker than the Friday before, because they had the time to think rather than just react. We know something that they didn't. We know that after this dark day, joy is coming. We just have to ride out the darkness to be enveloped in the brightest, warmest light there is. Jesus.

We will all experience dark days of fear, sadness and despair. When you are in a time of darkness, remember this Saturday that the disciples spent huddled in fear and confusion. They didn't know that joy was coming in the morning, but you do! Hang on, your joy will come.

In His Peace -

Thursday, January 19, 2012

It is Random Picture Day!

Hello Blog World!

It is a big day here today. The official kick off of the show choir season for our high school teams is tonight. Big excitement for sure. We are having a fundraising dinner and then all three teams will perform. It should be a great night. I have checked, double checked and re-checked my to-do lists some more and I just need to leave it be for a while because everything I can do is already done. I have to cool my heels until later when it is time to gather my army of parent volunteers and get to work. 

While I am trying not to stress about what needs to happen later on today, I am getting a few things off my non-choir to-do list. One item on my list was backing up my phone and clearing off the pictures. It is entertaining to see what I have snapped photos of that I have forgotten.

We got to go see Wicked this fall after Emily sang in All-State Music Festival. It was so good. I don't think Cameron ever moved the entire show. He was totally enthralled. He now knows every word from every song in the show.

This little guy sits on my microwave. Don't know where he came from, but he is cute so he stays. 

This is the view across from our house. It is lovely all year round as it changes with the seasons. Unfortunately they are developing this area now. It will soon be full of houses and not lovely fields.They will be sorely missed.

I was trying to complete my Bible study and the dogs were fairly sure I should be getting up and letting them in instead. They utilized the staring and looking pathetic method.

This fall when I dug up my gladiolus I found this plethora of baby glads. I found it fascinating. God's workmanship never ceases to amaze and delight me. 

In November I blogged about using our blessings to help others. Here is the carload I delivered to a variety of places. I really should do this more often! I could do it again and not miss a stitch of it.     

My friend Cindy made little snowmen for us for Christmas. It has a Hershey bar in it. Totally cute. 
This funky flower was at the San Diego Airport. Remind anyone of Horton Hears a Who?
This was the restroom sign at Legoland. Cracked me up. I am so easily entertained. 
I don't know who snuck in and took this photo of me napping in the sunshine. 

Well, that was fun! I appreciate you hanging out with me for a while and keeping me occupied. Better go tackle another item on the to-do list.

Have a super day!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Father's Love

I am working so hard at clearing my to-do list and the top of my desk today. However, as I was sorting through a pile of papers and reciepts from our trip I came across our Christmas card from my Dad that I wanted to share.

First of all, my Dad is NOT a card guy.  He gets totally annoyed at the price of a greeting card and rarely sends one and would rather you don't get him one either. I would have to assume that my Mom actually purchased the card, but my Dad wrote in it, which makes it extra special.

The printed words on the card were incredibly sweet and moved me to mush before I ever got to the note:

Each of you shines
at the heart
of our Christmas -
you're everything good 
that a parent dreams of...
Know that you're wished
every joy life can offer...
and thank you 
for lighting our world
with your love.

But written in my Dad's handwriting was added:

You are special - each and every one of your and you hold a special place in our hearts. We are so privileged to have you here to share your Christmas with us.
Love to you All.  
Dad and Mom
Nana & Papa

This little note, penned by a man of few words has me sitting at my desk in a blubbering mass of tears and snot while I am suppose to be getting work done. I will add this treasure to my collection of little notes that I have saved over the years, each written in a unique combination of upper and lower case letters that make up my Dad's handwriting.

Love you Dad and Mom. Thanks for having us for Christmas. Miss you oodles and bunches.

May your let the love of Christ wash over you and bless you while we are apart.

In His Peace -

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I have missed you! We took some time off over Christmas break and did some traveling. The kids got out of school on Thursday and we drove to Omaha that afternoon to catch an early morning flight out to San Diego. We rented a card and traveled three and a half hours east to Wellton, Arizona to spend Christmas with my parents. They live in this teeny-tiny burg every winter.

Cameron making friends with a baby goat.
We had a great visit with my folks. The kids love swimming outside in the winter time. Most of the residents think they are a little crazy, but they have fun. Emily, our oldest, learned how to play Cribbage, which is Papa's favorite game, and we all learned how to play Nickel-Nickel. I am fairly sure that is now Cameron's favorite card game. We visited The Camel Farm and it had camels, deer, donkeys, a Hinney Pinney, a Wallaroo, an ostrich, goats and a variety of unusual birds. It was wonderful to spend time as a family.

View from almost the top!
We got to climb in the foothills of one of the many mountain ranges in the area. The view from the top was incredible. I was amazed as a we traveled what a huge variety of landscapes there are in Arizona. We passed mountains that looked like giant piles of little rocks and mountains that were piles of enormous boulders, we saw bare rock, shrub covered rocks, dormant volcano domes, palm trees,  valleys of scrub brush and valleys full of cactus. We saw orchards of fruit and date trees fields of lettuce, broccoli, cabbage and cotton.
Cotton fields. I had no idea it grew in AZ.

As we drove we pondered what it might have been like to be a pioneer family traveling across this barren appearing and strangely beautiful land. The day we climbed the hills and left my parents mid-climb we discussed what would have happened if we were traveling 100 years ago and were forced to leave them behind because they couldn't climb the mountains. Rachel, our middle child, sweetly said that she would carry her grandparents rather than choose to leave them behind. The whole landscape was fascinating.

We visited the Casa Grande Ruins and enjoyed learning about the Hohokam people who built complex living compounds and irrigation canals. They managed to create quite an extensive community in this unforgiving landscape and remained there for a thousand years.

Coronado Island Bridge at Sunset
Leaving the parents/grandparents is always the most difficult part of every visit. We left Wellton with many hugs and tears and traveled back to San Diego. Our first order of business was a harbor cruise. It was chilly, but lovely. We got to experience an incredible sunset while we were out on the water. 

We spent a day at Legoland, which was fun, but we decided that we really should have gone about 4 or 5 years ago. The girls were too old for most of the things there. Cameron got to work with the Microbots and that was a good experience. Our favorite part was Miniland where everything is made of Legos and they have replicas of New York City, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Las Vegas and a myriad of other places.
We liked the farm in Miniland. Looked a lot like home. : )
 Our final day in San Diego was spent at SeaWorld. We had been there 7 years ago and really enjoyed it. Rachel fell in love with the Manatees and was very sad to learn that they no longer have Manatees in SeaWorld San Diego. We did get to see all the other animals and all shows. The Shamu Christmas show was our favorite because we got to sing Christmas carols. SeaWorld had a pets show that had 120 different animals in it - dogs, cats and pigs. They had even trained the cats to perform a variety of tasks. We found this quite surprising since cats are fairly non-compliant.
Family at SeaWorld, San Diego
We flew home with some fairly bumpy conditions that left us all a little green around the gills. I am thankful that the turbulence was much less than they anticipated, but it was certainly enough (urp!)!
Vacations are fun, but it was nice to be in our own home with our own animals and sleep in our own beds.

However you spent the holidays, I hope it was happy. I wish you all nothing but wonderful things and bountiful blessings in the new year.

Happy New Year!