Thursday, September 22, 2016

Morning on the Farm, or Snack Time for Squirrel

Mornings here on the farm begin with carefully checking the ground for fallen crabapples.  Our herding dog, Renee, (she herds crickets) likes to eat these, so I try to get to them first so I can throw them away.  (I used to give them to Persnicketta.)  However, I do not pick the crabapples off the tree; I leave them for the squirrels.  (You can't tell, but there was a squirrel in the tree eating a crabapple when I took this photo.)

Look at That Bird!

Today started off with a bang.  I signed someone up for a trip to the casino.  I think it's in L.A., but it may be in Reno.  I got home to find gold in my mailbox.  Two letters from friends, both of whom still play with blocks.  I was reading the mail, and chanced upon an amazing sight.  What I saw was so great that I squealed with delight.  My instinct was to get my picture-taker-I didn't want my readers to think I was a faker.  I snapped the shot, and called my manager.  I had  been visited by a bright yellow Western Tanager.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Follow That Dog!

The day was off to a usual start;
a morning walk and a song in my heart.
The dog was happy to get out,
happy to explore our newfound route.
All of a sudden,
things took a turn for the worse;
the morning seemed less like a blessing,
and more like a curse.
Without warning, the dog wriggled out of her harness,
and made a bee-line for home, with no regard
for nearness or farness.
I panicked, to say the least;
there was unspoken of speed in that
skinny little beast.
A motorcycle gang was riding by, so I jumped on the back of a woman's hog,
and frantically yelled, "Follow that dog!"
She took me as far as she could,
and I jumped off to run through the 'hood.
I ran and I ran, praying all the while,
that that dog would be home, waiting with a smile.
I got to the owner's home,
in a haze and a fog.
I've never been so happy
to see a dumb little dog.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Words of Jesus, The Only True Foundation

Jesus says in Matthew 7:24-27 that His words are the only true and solid foundation on which we can build our lives.  Having anything else as the foundation for our lives is just foolishness, and will lead to ruin.  I have heard of, and known, many people whose lives are founded on something other than Jesus' words; sometimes the people know it, for instance when they found their lives on science or on postmodern thought, and reject Christianity altogether.  Sometimes, though, it is subtle; many people think that their lives are founded on Christ, but really their foundation is in their marriage, or their conservative lifestyles, or on their stance on infant baptism, or healing, or speaking in tongues.  These things may or may not be directly addressed by Jesus.  Following Jesus is dependent only on the things directly addressed by Him.  It is His teachings we must obey.  We must have His words as the foundation for our lives.  These other issues-and there are many, many more-that we get caught up in only hinder us from living our lives with our eyes fixed only on pleasing Jesus.  (Hebrews 12:1,2   " . . . Let us throw off everything that hinders and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith."

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Standing on God's Word, and The Dangers of Division

God is big and great and worthy of all praise.  God is far bigger than our doctrinal disputes.  He is far greater than the silly arguments we engage in over His character.  Our time would be much better spent in praising Him for being Lord and Creator of all, than in immersing ourselves in "needless controversies (2 Tim. 2:14-26).  Don't get me wrong, I am all for sound doctrine.  (Titus 2:7.)  I just think that Christians sometimes forget to make it our priority to pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace with those who call on God out of a sincere heart.  (2 Tim. 2:22.)  I fear that many in the church get distracted from living lives of holiness and get caught up in the newest doctrinal debate.  I fear we are sometimes like the Pharisees, who, in their zeal for truth, practically shut the door of Heaven to others.  (Matt. 23:13.)  God is too great to be comprehended by anyone; He will not be fully known this side of Heaven.  I throw myself fully on His mercy for my inability to fully know Him or understand His ways.  I think it is right for all Christians to entrust our souls to His mercy.  As Christians, we stand apart from the world, because we stand on God's word.  We who stand on His word must stand together.

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Chasing Waterfalls, or, Persnicketta Whose Parents Live in Portland.

I woke with the thrill of life running through my veins.  It was a cloudy and overcast morning, my favorite kind of morning in the whole world.  Mornings like this make me think of Portland, and Portland makes me think of Persnicketta, and Persnicketta make me think of coziness and a homy feeling,  with visions of sugar plums dancing in my head.  (Persnicketta also brings to mind whipped cream and guinea hens and crabapples and musicals.)
A long conversation I had with a friendly neighbor yesterday reminded me of a lightning bolt lesson that God taught me several years ago.  I was out having coffee with someone whose friendship I was desperately trying to earn.  I so wanted this woman to like me!  I had been chasing her friendship for years, but she just showed no interest in a friendship with me.  After having coffee with this lady, I had to go to the local running store to pick up a racing bib for Persnicketta, who had literally jumped (2 feet!) at the opportunity to do this 5K with me.  The lightning bolt hit me as I was walking towards my car.  Why was I trying so hard to win the friendship of this lady who I practically had to bribe to spend time with me, when I already had great friends like Persnicketta?  I learned, in that instant, that it is more important to maintain the marriages, friendships, family relationships, and relationships with our neighbors than it is to go looking for new relationships.  It's like TLC sang in the 80s, "Don't go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to."

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

WELL. I really was going to make a serious effort to curtail the number of photos of books that I post, BUT THEN I read that it is National Read a Book Day, so I took that as a sign to urge my friends to pick up a copy of THIS book and start reading it today. (Or you can order it today and start reading on the weekend.) It is such a delicious read! The chapters are short, just biographical sketches of women from the 1700s who were faithful Christians. Perchance you, like me, will be struck by one woman in particular (for me it was Margaret Baxter), and be inspired and provoked to further study. I have found this book (and any Christian biographies from days of yore) very encouraging. It is so fun and awesome to remember that I serve the same God as did these women, and we were saved by the same God, in the same way, and we have pretty much the same thoughts and struggles. So this is my answer to National Read a Book Day. Now what shall we do for National What Can You Put In Your Coffee Day?

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Hope and Help

Yay, a new book for me! I have been waiting anxiously for this book, all the more so since I have been thinking about how we are called to enter into one another's sufferings. I like to read about the sufferings of others, not because I take pleasure in them, but because I know suffering is sometimes hard to put into words, so when someone does in a book form, it helps me to understand the needs, and know how to pray for and how to help people I see daily. I have been blessed by writers (specifically Michael J. Fox) who put into words feelings I have but don't know how to articulate. I know my friends have read his books about living with chronic illness, and have been given insight into some of my thoughts and feelings.