Fools rush in…

Good morning <3

I am in the book of Proverbs now as my readings continue through the Chronological Bible.

This version of Scripture lumps the sayings of Solomon and such into themes and one of the sections today was on “rashness.”

It addresses the folly of rushing into a setting and airing opinions and assessments without the recommended counting to ten…or a hundred…or a thousand.

Well, actually it recommends more taking our rants and vents to God FIRST before we march into the boardroom or the kitchen or the committee meeting and sound off about what we see as needing correction.

I think we see this attitude prevailing from our media, both social and news related, more and more.

A kind of in-your-face confrontational approach to calling out what is perceived as unrighteousness.

And have mercy…often it is not based on a standard of truth, but rather on some popular opinion or movement.

As Christ-followers, we can see this so clearly in worldly settings, but are we as sensitive to it within the Body of Christ?

When something is being done within the context of our church and church family, are we acting more like the world as we seek to confront it? (And I am NOT talking about issues of blatant sin and wrong-doing that can happen within a church, so don’t take your mind down that rabbit trail!)

Are we responding with a  Holy Spirit-led/Holy Spirit-filled speaking out? Or with an almost arrogant plowing down of anyone and everyone who does not agree with us approach?

Let’s look at Proverbs for a minute..

What you have seen with your eyes do not bring hastily to court, for what will you do in the end if your neighbor puts you to shame?    Proverbs 25:8

This one speaks to me of how we can see things that look like wrong-doing, but we may not have all the information and facts. Sometimes we are jumping to conclusions and if we do not pause a moment to take in the whole picture, the truth revealed once we have pressed our pre-determined verdict on someone or some situation could prove rather embarrassing.

A wise man fears the LORD and shuns evil, but a fool is hotheaded and reckless. Proverbs 14:16,17

Here we see two characteristics of a wise person. This one fears the LORD and steers clear of evil.

It’s both of these which allow the wise person to recognize something that looks to be wrong, and yet turns to the sovereignty of the LORD first before reacting.

If we confront wrong-doing with a knee-jerk reaction we will basically be acting like a…well…a jerk.

One more….

A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.  Proverbs 19:11

This one reminds me that when I get hot and bothered about something, it is wise to take it to the Lord first in prayer and conversation.

Key word being conversation, because as I talk to Him about what is troubling me in a situation; I also need to listen to His side.

Because sometimes it is not so much an offense to His Righteousness that is the issue.

Often, as I bring my complaint before Him, I realize it is, in fact, my own indignation over what I perceive to be the violation of my “rights” in a situation that has me riled up.

In our town, we have an intersection that is currently holding the record for accidents due to people running red lights.

A dear friend of ours just recently, thanks be to God, escaped unharmed physically from such an incident…yet his truck, not so much.

But many other intersections here in town are competing to become #1, as drivers increasingly seem to consider a yellow light as an indicator to rev the engine and barrel on through.

Other cars follow suit and the results can be devastating.

We, who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ,do not want to be…physically, emotionally or spiritually…like those who see a warning as an invitation to blast forward.

We want to see the warning signs of wrong-doing as God’s discernment kicking in and use these as opportunities to slow down, get serious in prayer…and then proceed with His leading.

Be blessed today.

Be pro-active to seek wise decisions at all the intersections you will face today.

Remember always…you are loved and led and held by GRACE <3

 

Monday and snow flurries….again…

Happy start o’the week to you.

Russ peeked through the curtains this morning as he was leaving for work and sighed heavily. I told him to please tell me there was not snow on the ground.

So he silently nodded and began gathering his keys and phone….yep…we have a dusting of it yet again.

And I shouldn’t complain as our relatives in the north were having to gas up the snow blower over the weekend so there is that…

because it’s mid-April and we should be…

But no.

So here are some random thoughts to kick off our week and then I am going to continue with spring cleaning because, by golly, it’s Spring-o’clock somewhere, right????

Random #1

During one of the praise songs at church yesterday, I had this vision come into my mind of just all different kinds of flowers…shy little violets, often unwanted yellow dandelions, exotic bird of paradises (not sure how you pluralize that one), delicate pansies, sturdy geraniums, stately sunflowers.

And I thought how each holds it’s own beauty.

I pictured them scattered all over the globe, lifting their lovely faces to the sun and it made me think…how like us.

Each beautifully and wonderfully created by God.

Each, hopefully, lifting our faces to Him and just existing for His pleasure and glory.

I thought of Jesus referring to the lilies in the field and how Solomon in all his glory…decked out in all his finest and richest attire could not compare to the beauty of God’s creation of the lily.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made and so is everyone around you.

Some are of the sturdy beauty and others more fragile.

Some pop up unexpected to bring color to manicured lawns and some are scattered wild across the edges of fields out in the middle of nowhere…

all lovely in His sight.

Random #2

Checking in on that Simplify theme for 2018 and holding myself accountable four and a half months in.

I am finding a measure of success in the application of this Word of the Year, so far, by taking seriously the revelation of my tendency to over-complicate E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. due to my inability to make quick decisions.

One tactic I have found helpful is forcing the discipline of eliminating or narrowing decisions whenever possible onto my wandering mind.

The only way I have found to achieve this is to heartily incorporate prayer to keep my feet and hands on task throughout the day.

While staying on course may not be a problem for some, it is a constant struggle for me.

But with the help of the Holy Spirit guiding me, I have begun to catch myself in the act of procrastination.

I see God working in me to notice when I am starting an activity that is unproductive in an effort to avoid doing something less appealing and I also notice that as He keeps my “hand to the plow,” the work becomes easier and more efficient.

I hear that still, small voice more often now…asking me…”Is this activity going to help you accomplish your goals today, or is it stealing time from you?”

This is incredibly effective at keeping me from some of my old time-wasting habits.

The bonus on this is that I am less distracted and more energized, which leads to more good choices throughout the day.

Did you have a “word” for this year?

How are you doing with it?

Random #3

Some of you all have been so kind to ask how my back and foot are doing and I love you for it…because that’s what I hope this spot to be…you and me … connecting…you and you all…connecting…but anyway…

My back is improving immensely once I started doing the stretches my awesome chiropractor and friend gave me several years ago.

I do a series of about six stretches for my neck plus fifteen for hip flexor and back twice a day. The difference they have made in my back AND my plantar fasciitis have given me a new lease on life!

Just like that smart doctor told me they would all along.

I was putting them off because I simply didn’t make time for them even though they don’t take that long.

*See Random 2, because I stopped making them a “choice” to schedule in and they are now just part of my morning and evening routine.

So that’s what I have for this Monday.

Hope you have a great start to your week wherever you are <3

 

 

What were we expecting, really?

I tend to shy away from “hot topics” on here.

When some big thing happens in the news, I figure you all don’t need one more person slinging their thoughts and opinions and such on what a zillion other people are tweeting, posting and using clever photos and memes to Instagram about.

When there is a horrid tragedy, I am assuming we are all shocked and grieving and when politicians and celebrities are behaving badly, I would surmise that everyone is cringing right along with me.

Plus…I tend to get facts all mixed up and can go off on a rant with only a quarter of the information actually out there…which never really is a good idea.

So you don’t need my two cents to add to your spinning thoughts on current events.

Ever.

However, I have some thoughts mulling around regarding this whole Facebook/Mark whatever-his-name-is-that-starts-with-a-Z.

See what I mean…I am not even sure what this uber famous guy’s last name is.

But let’s not let that stop us…let’s plunge in to what I would call my “impressions” of the bits and pieces of news I have caught.

I gather that Mark and his people have not played nice with our information gleaned from millions of accounts.

I caught some of the investigation and here is what I observed.

A cocky young icon of our culture who laughed, surrounded by a large audience of others who laughed along with him,  when one of the senators asked him if he would like to share who he had lunch with and the content of his last few text conversations with the viewing public.

With a smirk, he answered no, he wouldn’t…and then acknowledged he had probably not handled things well and he was sorry.

Also, I will note, he said he was sorry with about as much sincerity as Emmett does when he reaches over and takes the last raspberry in the house off Joel’s plate and pops it in his mouth.

And we can get as mad as we want at the arrogance and violation of our “rights”, but I contend that we, ourselves, have produced this young man and his attitude and the mess that we are all entangled in.

At least I have.

Because I want to share my posts and pictures on social media, and I want to see everyone else’s stuff…well, not all of it…but I would be all miffed if I couldn’t,  you know.

I want to order online and I want the Apps…I want to be doing what everyone else is doing and see what everyone else is seeing.

And I want it all for free.

So I click yes to agreements that I never bothered to read and I submit my charge card to install the gizmo or order the thing.

Sure I notice that when I look at a new coffee maker, I start getting ads for all things coffee on every news feed, email server, and social media link…and I feel invaded…but it’s the world I live in and so I just go on.

While I am completely ignorant about technology, programming, systems, links…I have four devices that can connect me to the world wide web and I use them with abandon multiple times each day.

And so I look at Mark and his crew and I cannot cast a stone.

Yes, what they did is wrong.

But I have willingly allowed myself to be part of the process.

I am not advocating for no repercussions for bad decisions by executives or politicians.

I am not saying we need to leave all forms of technology.

I am simply saying that as we point the finger at people like Mark Z…we need to also look at our own desires and contributions that make his actions possible and accept our role in the big picture.

We are fallen and flawed.

We live in a fallen and flawed world.

Our desire to have it all with no responsibility on our part is one of the symptoms of the pride that is the hallmark of the culture we rant about.

We quickly check an agreement so we can upgrade our computers and move on with business and yet we question the eternal word and promises our loving God.

As one of my teachers was always fond of reminding us…there is no such thing as a free lunch.

We have given away much information to unseen places and now we are paying the price.

We expect a free ride with benefits all the time and we don’t even recognize it in ourselves.

We place our trust in people and systems, but people and systems are not going to transform hearts and clean up the mess of this world.

We are the problem.

Jesus Christ is the solution.

But He doesn’t play fair…He extends grace.

He knows what we are made of.

He understands the world in which we live.

He entered into this mess a long time ago and all the things that get us all worked up…He is Sovereign over.

He enters into the mess of the world and the mess that is us.

No fine print.

No twisted motives.

He gave His life so we could live.

Free.

 

 

 

 

And speaking of birds…

 

Spring has possibly arrived here in the Midwest.

 Although, if the forecasts are correct, it will still be a roller coaster of seasons for the next few days as we swing from the 70’s to the 40’s with a sprinkling of rain. 

I know I talk frequently about our grands, but honestly…they bring a dimension to our lives that I was just not expecting. 

And that first one still gets to me somewhere deep in my spirit after almost seven years of life with him. 

Maybe it is because he is our first.

Or maybe it’s the intensity of those green eyes, ringed in grey and sprinkled with hefty doses of amber, that always seem to look past my face and into my soul. They seem to add poignancy to most conversations with him. 

So it was this past weekend when he, along with the band of brothers and Sweet Caroline, came for a visit with mommy while their daddy was at work. 

As they played in the living room, he took notice of a little wooden bird house I had put on the hearth with some other spring items before Easter. 

He recognized it as one he and his dad had made for me. Just to make sure he remembered correctly, he picked it up and checked the back. 

Sure enough there was the black marker lettering his mommy had added….

I had tied a pretty ribbon on it when he gave it to me and it has come out every Spring to help chase the last of the Winter trim back down to the storage closet. 

I thought he would be pleased I still had it.

Instead those eyes I mentioned above turned and looked right into the deepest parts of his Lola and he asked me… 

Lola, how many?

How many of what I wasn’t sure, so I asked him what he meant.

How many birds have made a nest in it?

I answered…none…no birds had ever been near it.

Why?

I stammered around trying to explain that I had wanted to keep it nice…how I had always just kept it inside because if I put it out in a tree, the weather and the sun and the birds would ruin it.

And then this little man-child… who basically holds his Lola in the palm of his hand since she first laid her own grey-ringed blue with flecks of amber eyes on him…spoke to me as if I was the child…

and he said…

Lola, it’s a bird HOUSE…it’s supposed to be for birds to live in. That’s what it’s for.

Well…he had a point.

So I promised to hang it in a tree and on Monday morning, once the silly snow melted and the grass was clear, I made good on my vow. 

I untied that pretty little bow and I hung it out there on a low branch of the tree right in front of the house. 

I stood and watched it swing from the branch and I cried a little thinking how the rains and the dust from the fields and the hot summer sun of the Midwest is going to wreck that sweet little bird house. 

I took a picture and sent it to him and I know he will look for it the next time he comes and he will want to see if any birds made a nest there. 

And I can’t help but wonder if God might just be whispering through the wisdom of a child to this old heart of mine that holds on to things and people a bit too tightly in hopes of preserving and protecting them from the wear and tear of life. 

Maybe the beauty was never in the appearance of the vessel itself, but in the fulfillment of the purpose for which it was made.

Always something new to learn as we journey onward <3

Another chapter in the ongoing story of my encounters with the wild life <3

This has been a bright spot in this crazy Midwest Spring weather.

Pulling in the drive with the car heater blasting under overcast skies and seeing this made my heart skip a happy beat.

Until a robin decided to start building a nest in the top…which was not cool because apparently robins do not know about the niceties of porches and welcome mats and how they are not public restrooms.

So I started removing the strands of nest foundations as they would appear.

However, I discovered robins do not play fair and employ a form of retaliation in which we had even more evidence of the activity of bird-dom via dive-bomb droppings everywhere.

Russ said I would just have to wave the white flag, remove the temptation and do without a wreath.

So for a couple of weeks this trophy of Spring has been stuck on top of the shelving by the garage.

But as I simmered inwardly every time I saw it, I decided to research ways you can keep a bird away from a wreath on your door.

One option was to hang pie tins from the porch edges…I felt that defeated the whole concept of the porch being pretty so moved along.

The next option was a video from a realtor in some southern state.

She stood in front of her wreath, speaking in an accent dripping of magnolias and sweet tea, and literally held up the nastiest rubber snake that she said she had purchased from the Dollar Store.

She then demonstrated how she weaves this thing into her wreath and leaves the head poking out just a tad … enough for the bird to see but not enough to scare anyone.

Well, nice realtor lady…I was sitting on the other side of this screen having a mild heart attack and trying to stifle the urge to scream so I don’t think so…especially after she warned that the snake she purchased was one of those that expands up to three feet with water…yeah…that’s a big no for me.

One site recommended a fake nest and a fake bird because birds are territorial and if they see a nest they will go elsewhere.

This seemed doable so I headed to Hobby Lobby in search of my ammo.

In the section dedicated to all things fake, I found a miniature nest and then I spied some colorful lizard things made of light metal…and like the Grinch hatching his Whoville holdiday-bashing plan…I rubbed my hands together and …

voila!

Oh yes…

and for good measure…on top of the wreath tucked way out of sight…

Because the legs take away all the fear factor for me but hopefully the robins consider this nest-building goofball a threat not worth contending with…

and if you are shaking your head wondering how Russ reacted…

trust me…

I have worn him down to the point where he just nodded his head and went off to the kitchen to look at the mail and munch a handful of almonds before he went for a run.

Happy Wednesday….<3