Not by accident <3

Well… here we are at the middle of the week.

My suit case still has a few items to be unpacked, the house could use a little TLC, and we will be opening our beautiful blue door this evening to welcome some guests for dinner…so miles to go, yet, for this lady who is still in her pj’s.

A quick thought it is for the day and then it’s off to tuck all the paperwork and clutter into a laundry basket, whip up a meal and sprinkle some fall decor here and there.

Thankfully I work best with the pressure of a short deadline and hospitality as the carrot on the stick of my easily distracted mind. 

I am reading in Ezekiel, yet another book that I feel I need to study better to grasp understanding of its complexities, but one thing jumped out today from The Message translation. 

In the opening passages of Chapter 14, God speaks to the people and says they have “installed” idols. Twice He uses that word. In other translations it says “set up”

I always think we just stumble into idolatry.

Unwittingly, one little misstep at a time, we veer away from God and suddenly wake up one day realizing we have turned from Him and have begun to offer our worship and devotion to the “little g” gods of this world. 

But as I read this morning the word “installed” I think of what that means. 

When I have something installed in our home, it is an intentional effort.

I select something, pay for it and either put the muscle into placing it as a somewhat permanent part of our home or spend more money to have someone to do it for us. 

If someone is installed in an office; this too comes with selection and effort and intentionality. 

Setting things up, installation…these are not accidental activities. 

I have to realize that God sees when I stubbornly and willfully choose to place other people, pursuits, practices, desires above Him. Even if I can’t see it in myself.

He sees the time I invest and the effort I put into exalting a substitute for His love, provision, sovereignty, guidance, and care. 

He is aware when I pursue my own selfish desires. 

It is a sobering thought and I understand why I am urged constantly in Scripture to guard my heart and mind, as I can be my own worst enemy in the game of idolatry. 

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips.

Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.

Give careful though to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.

Do not turn to the right or the left; keep you foot from evil.”

Proverbs 4:23-27
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A little photo journal of Austin 2021 <3

For the record, traveling to see our son for the first time after a year and a half of Covid crazy (thankfully he has been able to come home but we have not been to see him) during the 20th anniversary of 9/11 for someone who carries far too much emotion any one human being needs to deal with may have pushed the envelope for this girl right here.

So as I decompress and hydrate myself from water loss due to tears, here are some photos from our little getaway to Austin this past weekend.

First off, I never ever ever get tired of having a window seat on a plane. While I suffer severe fear of heights when my feet are firmly planted on planet earth, I find looking out a plane window to be one of the greatest delights and can’t resist snapping pictures…

We also enjoyed the snacks tremendously since we could remove our masks while eating and drinking…we stretched that out as long as we could…

John had a bunch of fun and interesting things planned for our visit, but first we made a stop to his new office…

and I think all the moms would agree that stuff like this is just the best to get to sit and watch.

I am picture-hanging challenged so I just enjoyed watching these two work their magic.

We took in a baseball game at Round Rock with one of John’s high school buddies who also migrated to Texas.

John wanted us to see Fredericksburg this trip and particularly the National Museum of the Pacific War. Fredericksburg is the home of Admiral Nimitz and let me tell you, they have spared no amount of square footage or ink to detail the entire story of the Pacific portion of WW 2.

It was like taking a history class…we literally spent three hours walking through and reading as much as our brains could absorb.

If you remember from my opening paragraph, my emotions were already on high intensity overload and when I read the dates of things and thought about my own parents being married several days before Christmas 1942, it hit home what things they lived through and just soldiered on with little complaint of the hand they were dealt.

My dad was born into the first great pandemic and the opening shots of WW1. My mom was born a year later. They lived through the Great Depression, the terrible flood of Louisville the year my mom should have graduated from high school. They were married at the onset of WW2.

They worked hard to make life good for me and to serve others and I am so thankful for them increasingly as the years pass.

The museum was hard. The hatred and conflict and horrors of war was not played down in the displays. Things our country did..things other countries did…showed the depth of cost that wars bring.

And so it was rather sweet to step outside and visit this lovely garden…

a gift from the people of Japan.

This sweet sign explains the heart behind it:

My mom and dad served in Japan after the war and made lasting friends with several Japanese families. They loved the country and their time there and I am grateful that is my memory planted from the war as a gift from my parents.

We returned to Austin in time to watch this one play softball..

which was fun to be cheering him on again from the bleachers and he still blows me kisses when he scores a run so that was sweet.

Afterward we made a run to Home Depot, cause that’s our thing…

We ate lots of good food, enjoyed being a part of a slice of his every day life and as always unsuccessfully fought back tears when we parted ways.

Always fun to visit Texas and always hard to leave that boy behind….but thankful he is always close at heart.

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Sometimes we just don’t know what we left in our wake <3

We are headed off today to see our John. It has been almost two years since we have been able to visit him on his own turf. I thank God that John has been able to travel to see us a few times, but have mercy. That’s a long time. 

Every once in a while I experience a sucker punch from what this pandemic has taken. I tend to focus on the global impact and then occasionally I think of what we have missed personally. 

While it is not anything in comparison to what this has cost others, it hurts a bit and I have to stop and grieve a little bit for it.

I am sure you each have things…a senior year in high school, a planned wedding that got pre-empted, a job shift that left you reeling, first day of school pics with your kiddos in a mask, a year plus of your family’s story spent far differently than you ever expected…so hugs and prayers for God to show up in the midst of any moments of grief and bring you comfort and hope. 

Now for the thought I wanted to share today with you. 

Recently we were chatting with friends about a fender bender that impacted all but the person who probably caused it. A sudden lane change up ahead set up a chain reaction for several cars as they tried to avoid hitting the instigator. As the injured put their cars in park and dug in the glove box for insurance cards, the car that was responsible drove off around the corner, oblivious to all that had transpired. 

This made me think about a prayer book I have been using called “A Diary of Private Prayer” by John Baille. My copy has been updated by Susanna Wright (which makes me wish I had the original, but that’s just me…I love the old wording of classics.)

The book has a morning and an evening prayer for each day of the month. Since I drag out my devotions with my coffee just about every morning of the year, the A.M. ones are easily done. I struggle finding a routine for the evening though and have been praying for a way to remember to pray those before bed. I know. I know…I could keep it by my bed and do first thing and last each day…but habit is deeply engrained to do with my stack of other readings so…not going to work for me. 

Anyway, to the point of this and the tie-in with the accident I mentioned above, the prayers for evening have prompts for things I would never think to pray about. And as I pondered the car that cluelessly caused all the damage, I realized that often I am that driver. 

Like the old cartoon where one character is eating a banana, throws the peel over his shoulder and causes someone coming behind to slip and fall; I must be aware that without even realizing it I may have been the catalyst for someone else to stumble or be hurt or run into an inconvenience that soured the day for him or her. 

With my words or actions, I may have left damage behind and no…we don’t need to live in a constant state of guilt that this could have happened. But we do need to humbly realize our frailties and flaws are not always what we see and notice. I am rather conscious of many things I do or say that I regret; and there are quite a number of people these days who loudly declare they have been offended…24/7. But what about the accidents I caused that I failed to notice just because that’s life on planet earth?

And so at the end of the day, as I scan back over the events and confess and repent of the ones I can see; I am trying to also remember that I may have caused a fender bender for someone physically or emotionally. While I certainly didn’t do it intentionally, compassion would compel me to ask God if there was anyone I hurt today and ask for forgiveness from Him and healing for that one left in my wake. 

In the manner of what I have been learning about prayer from Baillie; here is a sample prayer to pray at the end of the day before entering into rest:

Heavenly Father, I realize today I may have inadvertently caused someone to be derailed physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually.

While it was not my intent, thank you for your forgiveness of my errors and flaws through Jesus. I pray you would work forgiveness into the heart of anyone to whom I have brought harm.  I pray You would show up for them to bring healing and comfort and restoration.

Father, I pray for any pain I have caused others that may be remembered and I ask you Lord to reconcile that one to You and to me through the power of Your Spirit. I pray if I have done something that I need to remember and ask forgiveness for, You would remind me.

If the offense should be forgotten by the one I have hurt, I pray that You would bring a blessed washing away of the memory of the act of injury towards them.

Thank You God for your love, forgiveness, mercy and grace towards us. You know what we are made of. Do not let our mistakes and flawed natures divide us but bring us closer to You as we walk in Your strength and healing. 

In Jesus Name


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