Blog Archives

Running with Shepherds

When I saw the golden glow of light spilling in through the east windows of the house, I suspected the sunrise might be special.  Still in my pajamas and bathrobe, I threw on an extra pair of heavy socks and old slippers (with a split in the sole) and crossed the creaking boards of the front porch until I could see the southeastern sky.

DSC_1871-002

Yes!  The colors were gorgeous, so I hurried back in the house, hung the camera around my neck, and poked my arms into the sleeves of a winter coat and my feet into my son’s several-sizes-too-big chore boots.  Early morning colors change so rapidly; time and sunrise wait for no woman.

DSC_1866-002

If you drove past my house just before sunrise a few days ago and were startled to see a wild-haired woman, shuffling through the snow, bathrobe flapping under a down coat, I apologize for my appearance.

DSC_1869-001

My predawn dash was motivated by excitement, anticipation, and awe–I didn’t want to miss any of this sunrise, so  I didn’t wait to get cleaned up and dressed.

Neither did the shepherds in the Christmas story.  They didn’t stop to make themselves “presentable.”  They hurried.

As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing.   Luke 2 :15-17  MSG

IMG_8705-001

Don’t wait until you’re “presentable” before you hurry to Jesus.

Run with your broken sole/soul,

wind-blown hair,

mismatched life,

and unwashed heart.

Run to the manger to see what God has revealed.

DSC_1912-001

But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’   Luke 2:10-12   NIV

God has invited you to a Christmas party, and it’s “come as you are.”  Hurry.  You don’t want to miss a thing.

IMG_9994-002

Photos #4 and #6 by Barb Briggs

linked with Jennifer Dukes Lee

linked with Emily Wierenga

Diamonds in the Mist

DSC_1633-001

Another day of fog,

another day of cold mist

sliding down the creek beds.

DSC_1647-001

Another day of peering into the vapor

at the end of the driveway,

watching for a truck or car to materialize.

DSC_1634-001

Another day of hidden sun

and missing shadows,

Another day of dripping leaves and eaves

and soggy shoes and muddy boots.

DSC_1630-001

The fog has hidden the horizon, and the landmarks that point the way home are lost to me.

DSC_1642-001

Another day of that prayer–you know the one, Lord.  I’m asking you again today.

Another day of sending my request into the fog that has swallowed my hope and sense of direction,

praying but feeling cut off from you, Lord.

DSC_1636-001

Then I remember that fog is a cloud come to earth, and I stand inside it, and God’s glory is here with me.

Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. Moses could not enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle.  Exodus 40:34, 35   NIV

DSC_1631-001

In the cloud dropped to earth I find small splendors:

emerald moss, bejeweled grasses,

DSC_1652-001

diamond drops of condensed mist, miniature water beads pierced by fox tail grass,

DSC_1672-001

reminding me I am in God’s presence, regardless of how far I can see.

Sometimes the cloud descends, as it has today,

and I walk with sodden shoes on holy ground

with the misty weight of his glory upon me.

DSC_1665-002

And that prayer–you know the one, Lord.  I’m still asking even though I can’t understand how you will work it out, but I know that you will

as surely as sunny skies will follow these foggy days.

DSC_1667-001

We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!   1 Corinthians 13:12   MSG


linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee

Thankful 30: Day 30–1952 Truck

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 30:  I’m thankful for a 1952 pickup truck.

2008 07 04 4th July parade 2

My father bought the blue International in 1953 and owned it until the year before he died.  In 1959 he drove the pickup a thousand miles, over mountain roads in the winter to move our family back to his hometown.  We squeezed into the cab–my parents, me (a preschooler), and my brother (barely a year old)–and packed all our belongings in the back of the truck.  My father had built a carrier/bed that attached above the seat by the back window of the cab, where my brother could sleep.  (This was before the days of seat belts or car seats for children.)

DSC_1589-001

I asked my father why they moved back to his hometown.  He said that they thought the schools would be better here in the Midwest.  Parents will do a lot, sacrifice a lot for their children.

DSC_1585-001

The International continued to be a work horse over the years.  Dad loaded bags of livestock feed,  carried carpentry tools, and hauled lumber in the bed of the truck.  It survived ice storms and hail, mud roads, and a collision with a steer.  One summer the back was enclosed and became a “camper” for overnight fishing trips.

DSC_1586-002

Many people in our small Midwest town recognized Dad’s blue truck, even if they didn’t know my father.  When he retired, he continued working as a carpenter and handyman around town.  The passenger seat and floor were mounded with tools, and the truck bed rattled with lumber and saw horses.  People would tell me, “I see your dad’s working on Mrs. Smith’s house–saw the truck there.”

DSC_1604-001

My father drove the truck less and less as he took fewer carpentry jobs, but he delighted in washing and decorating the International for 4th of July parades.

2008 07 04

When driving was no longer a safe option for my father, the truck was parked one last time.  He gave the truck to my brother the year before he died.

DSC_1584-001

Last night we loaded (pushed, pulled, and pleaded) the blue International onto a car trailer.  My brother, the baby who rode 1000 miles in the cab of the truck (and is now married and the father of teenagers) will take the truck one final 500 mile trip to his home, where it will be stored and repaired.

My father was happiest when he was working, building or repairing. The International was his companion for the many decades of his working life.  Dad would be pleased to know the truck will be restored.

Make sure you don’t take things for granted and go slack in working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship—a different kind of “sacrifice”—that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.   Hebrews 13:16   The Message.

I imagine the next verse refers to relationships rather than carpentry, but I think that Jesus might have a tender heart toward carpenters who keep things in repair.

And that’s about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure.   2 Corinthians 13:11,12   The Message

DSC_1597-001

See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee

Thankful 30: Day 29–Readers

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 29:  I’m thankful for you readers who visit this blog.

I appreciate your kind and encouraging words.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

I Thessalonians 5:11

For those of you who have enjoyed and commented on the photos of sunrise and sunset, this is how the morning and evening sky was painted today.

DSC_1550-001

Skies are blazing with his splendor,
his praises sounding through the earth,   Habakkuk 3:3

DSC_1565-001

See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

Thankful 30: Day 28–Family

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 28:  I’m thankful for family.

Tie up, slip on, and velcro-fastened,

black and white, lavender, little blue heels,

long feet, narrow ones, tiny toddler toes

This Thanksgiving day my house is blessed with family

and their beautiful feet that brought them to my door.

How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!   Isaiah 52:7

I am grateful for people to love and people who love me–family.

See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

Thankful 30: Day 27–Sunset

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 27:  I’m grateful for sunsets.

DSC_1481-002

The rosy glow of the setting sun painted the dining room, as phantom chair and lamp shadows glided up the walls.

DSC_1484-001

The pastels shades of the evening light invited me outside to watch the sky being transformed by sunset.

DSC_1493-001

The delicate colors in the sky were backdrop to milkweed and common grasses.

DSC_1499-001

As the shadows deepened, the colors intensified.

The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light.
For those who lived in a land of deep shadows—
light! sunbursts of light!

Isaiah 9:2   The Message

DSC_1503-001

The horizon began to burn with gold and rose-tinted fire.

God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.  I Timothy 6:15,16   NIV

DSC_1508-001

All we are is messengers, errand runners from Jesus for you. It started when God said, “Light up the darkness!” and our lives filled up with light as we saw and understood God in the face of Christ, all bright and beautiful.   2 Corinthians 4:5,6   The Message

DSC_1510-001

An explosion of color, of glory!

Everything was created through him;
nothing—not one thing!—
came into being without him.
What came into existence was Life,
and the Life was Light to live by.
The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness;
the darkness couldn’t put it out.

John 1:3-5   The Message

DSC_1516-001

See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

Thankful 30: Day 26–Clenched Fists or Open Hands?

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 26:  I’m thankful for my friend, Julie, and her artistry.

The photos below are of a triptych done in pastel.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Attitudes of the Heart: 1 Closed” by Julie Saugstad

For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.   Matthew 13:15   NIV

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Attitudes of the Heart: 2 Reviving” by Julie Saugstad

For this is what the high and exalted One says—
he who lives forever, whose name is holy:
“I live in a high and holy place,
but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly
and to revive the heart of the contrite.”

Isaiah 57:13   NIV

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Attitudes of the Heart: 3 Alive” by Julie Saugstad

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Attitudes of the Heart: 3 Alive” by Julie Saugstad

What we believe is this: If we get included in Christ’s sin-conquering death, we also get included in his life-saving resurrection. We know that when Jesus was raised from the dead it was a signal of the end of death-as-the-end. Never again will death have the last word. When Jesus died, he took sin down with him, but alive he brings God down to us. From now on, think of it this way: Sin speaks a dead language that means nothing to you; God speaks your mother tongue, and you hang on every word. You are dead to sin and alive to God. That’s what Jesus did.  Romans 6:8-11   The Message

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Attitudes of the Heart: 1 Closed, 2 Reviving, 3 Alive” by Julie Saugstad

He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ.  Ephesians 2:5   The Message

See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

Thankful 30: Day 25–Cranberries and Snakes

If you received or read an “in process” version of today’s post,  please, accept my apologies.  I accidentally posted a rough draft.

*                                  *                                *                                   *                                 *

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 25:  I’m thankful for cranberries.

Thanksgiving dinner will be at my house, Thursday at noon, and  I’m expecting about a dozen people, my daughter among them.

She asked if we would have the cranberry sauce that she likes.  Of course!  What mom wouldn’t be happy to fulfill such a request, especially one that’s so easy.

DSC_1444-001

Here’s the recipe:

  • Bring 1 cup orange juice and 1 cup sugar to a boil
  • Add 12 oz. fresh cranberries and return to a boil
  • Boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Pour into a bowl, let cool at room temperature, then refrigerate.

DSC_1448-001

I am happy to prepare this cranberry sauce, just as the heavenly Father is pleased to give us good things when we ask.  My daughter is very allergic to peanuts, so I would never serve those to her.  Who would want a stone when you were hungry or a poisonous snake when you were expecting a roast fish?

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!       Matthew 7:7-11  NIV

DSC_1453-001

See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

Thankful 30: Day 24–Praying

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 24

I am grateful for the women in my prayer group.  These are their hands.

DSC_1421-001

A few years ago, that still, small voice whispered, “You need to pray,”  first to one woman in our church, then another, and another–so a small group of women began to meet during the Sunday School hour for prayer.  I can’t tell you why the others joined, but I could echo the disciples’ desire in Luke 11:1–“Lord, teach us to pray.”

 DSC_1424-001

Hear my prayer, O God; listen to the words of my mouth.   Psalm 54:2   NIV

DSC_1425-001

I call on you, my God, for you will answer me;
turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.   Psalm 17:6   NIV

DSC_1427-001

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.   Romans 12:12   NIV

DSC_1802-002

God is teaching me more about prayer, and  I am blessed to be in the loving company of these women as I learn.

Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it.   I Peter 4:7,8  The Message

DSC_1477-001

See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

Thankful 30: Day 23–Needle and Thread

I have joined Emily’s* 30 Day Challenge:

I’m challenging myself to post a picture every day during the month of November (30 Days To Be Thankful For) and to add a caption as to why I am thankful. — Emily

Day 23

I am thankful that I have a sewing machine.  I only have to sew by hand if and when I want to.

DSC_1374-001

I can’t imagine the endless hours my great grandmother spent in this sewing rocker, sewing with a needle and thread, because there was no other choice.

 DSC_1380-002

Did she sing?  Did she pray as she sewed away the days,

making dresses and shirts,

curtains and quilts?

DSC_1384-003

I imagine her sitting by a window

until the shadows grew long

and the light too dim

for the needle and the tiny, measured stitches.

DSC_1405-001

Did her family appreciate her sewing? Did they thank her?  I hope so.

DSC_1412-001

Sewing by hand with a needle and thread reminds me of another seamstress from the past–this woman lived in New Testament times in the city of Joppa.  Her name was Tabitha  (“Dorcas” in Greek), and she was a disciple of Jesus Christ.   When she became sick and died, distraught believers brought Peter to their town to pray for her.

Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them.

Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, “Tabitha, get up.” She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up.  Acts 9:39,40  NIV

There’s a woman whose sewing was appreciated!  What an impression she must have made on her community of believers, that they would dare ask for Peter to pray for her to come back from the dead.   This is how Dorcas was described:

she was always doing good and helping the poor.  Acts 9:36

Whether we sew by hand, as my great grandmother did, or with a sewing machine as I do, we can all follow Dorcas’ example of kindness and generosity.

DSC_1390-001

See Thankful 30 page for every day’s entry.

* name changed

linking with Jennifer Dukes Lee

Deep Roots At Home

 

 

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: