Monday, June 11, 2018


Yesterday I woke at the end of a drizzle. I looked out my window and saw the pretty raindrops on the rhododendron. And here are the places my head went:

first, my head was quoting a poem from a poster I had in junior high. I have never been able to track it down so maybe it was just poster fodder but it said Dylan:

In the early pearly morning when the sun begins to rise
and the flowers lift their faces
In a world that's less than kind
Tell me, tell me, tell me
There are still some quiet places

which leads to what is quite possibly my favorite verse:

"in returning and rest you shall be saved;
in quietness and in trust shall be your strength."
But you were unwilling. ~ Isaiah 30:15
(I quote this to myself and always add, "may I be willing.")

then come the verses a couple chapters later: 

And the effect of righteousness will be peace, 
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.
My people will abide in a peaceful habitation
in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places. ~ Isaiah 32:17-18

and the whole cycle concluded with me reciting a song from camp growing up - I don't remember the tune but just the words - before breakfast: 

I saw raindrops on my window, Joy is like the rain.
Laughter runs across my pain, slips away and comes again. Joy is like the rain. 

I saw clouds upon a mountain, Joy is like a cloud. 
Sometimes silver, sometimes gray, always sun not far away. Joy is like a cloud. 

I saw Christ in wind and thunder, Joy is tried by storm. 
Christ asleep within my boat, whipped by wind, yet still afloat. Joy is tried by storm. 

I saw raindrops on the river, Joy is like the rain. 
Bit by bit the river grows, till all at once it overflows. Joy is like the rain. 
~ Miriam Therese Winter

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Ramblings about Red

Color is always interesting to me. And now it is time to think about red.

Back at Christmas time I found gel pens on clearance for a dime and bought them out for stocking stuffers. There was only one red one, and I kept it for myself. I had it stuffed in a back pocket where apparently it clicked open without my knowledge and ALL the ink in it soaked through my pocket and on to the upholstery in our relatively new and here-to-fore unstained car. It was not a fine moment. 

DH did all he could to get it out, but, it was still very much there, so every time I saw it I felt back in the doghouse. 

But now, the sun has faded the red right away... see? Hardly there, just a little pinkish. Maybe by the end of summer no mark of this mishap will remain.

Now that surprises me. It seems like red is the most stainerific color and there it is, nearly gone. So natch I start thinking about Isaiah:
though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool.
How can this be? We know it's through the blood... red again. A very staining red. How on earth does covering something with blood lead to it being white? I don't know. Red blood is full of oxygen, giving life. 

I also think about the character Red from Shawshank Redemption and the hope he found. There is even greater hope to be found in Christ. Thank God that sin can be atoned for by Jesus's red blood.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Thoughts on Thanos

Something about certain movies gets my mind going in lots of directions at once. Last night we saw Avengers: Infinity War. Not sure what you saw in the film and thought about but here are some of the things that were going through my head as I watched it and have thought about it since. 

(spoiler alert, if that matters)

First. If you give a villain a name that obviously means Death (thanks, high school poetry teacher, for having us analyze "Thanatopsis") that gives fair warning to pay attention to what's going on in his view of life. 

Probably my overriding concern: Thanos's belief that he is acting in mercy by killing half the people for the benefit of the other half. That is not mercy. Mercy is being delivered from some sort of punishment or unpleasant consequence which is due. I keep thinking about the similarities between Thanos's plan for improving life on the planets he rules and our own country's abortion for the sake of convenience. Abortion is all too often viewed as some sort of mercy, too.   :(   I also keep thinking of Shakespeare's "the quality of mercy is not strained" - well, Thanos was certainly not making what he was calling mercy voluntary. 

The way Thanos destroys people - causing them to crumble and turn back to dust and be blown away - is a reversal of man being created from the dust of the earth. I found this a powerful image and like the reminder of death (momento mori). If we saw the dust of aborted children floating around, cars and helicopters crashing because they are not there, would that get us to notice the horror and death? Those scenes remind me of the part in It's a Wonderful Life where George Bailey sees what the world would have been had he never existed. 

I keep thinking about the characters who were willing to lay down their lives to stop Thanos, especially Vision and Gamora. They saw the need and were willing to do it, but those who loved them stood in their way -- and led to Thanos's apparent triumph. Jesus tells us to come and die with Him, but how common it is for loved ones try to stop us from laying down our lives for others and for the kingdom. How does this fit in with the film's talk about not trading one life for others? I think the difference comes in when someone chooses to lay down someone ELSE'S life for others, as Thanos did with Gamora -- and seems to feel he is noble to do with all the life he is extinguishing. 

I'm curious, what were you thinking as you watched and reflected on Infinity War?

verses jumbling around in my head:

It was Caiaphas who had advised the Jews that it would be expedient that one man should die for the people. ~ John 18:13

Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. ~ John 15:13

For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. ~ John 10:17-18

then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground ~ Genesis 2:7

he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust... the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more ~ Psalm 103:14-16

Monday, November 27, 2017

Follow Your Dreams. Or Maybe Not.

This morning I woke from switching the channel in my brain to catch bits of three different dreams.

In the first one, I was working on recreating a Very Famous work of art for in my home but struggling with the details on where to put it. Apparently one of the most famous sculptures of all time is a 100 foot long strip of white fabric about 2 1/4 inches wide. It has been cut on the bias and starched to crispness with a crease right down the center. Then it is laid on the floor, stretched almost straight out but with only slight graceful curving this way and that, undulations like the wave of the sea, truly a thing of beauty. 

As I say, I was making one but only shorter (as nowhere in my home would allow for the full 100 feet). I was none too sure it would be visually effective in its shortness, in fact, it looked more like trash that needed to be picked up and tossed...

so I switched to the next channel.  Here I was in a room with a window with six large panes, light streaming in at a the wintertime late afternoon angle, but very bright. Beside me on the floor (the floor again?) was a plastic reindeer, kind of a chunky one, maybe more like a moose, but his antlers were reindeer antlers and richly covered with gold glitter. Anyhow, the light was making a wonderful silhouette of the reindeer and the crossbars of the window pane, which I wanted to photograph. But I could not figure out how to photograph just the silhouetted shadow on the floor and not the admittedly tacky reindeer itself. So again, I switched the channel... 

on this channel I found myself with a pocket full of four or five plastic one inch balls, well, really large beads as they were strung together on elastic cording. They had the swishy stripes around them that are on some eos lip balm balls. I realized it was a "disassembled Chinese pet" and decided it was time to get up and start my real life.  

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Reminders in the Crafts Aisle

I noticed the Frank Turner song playing at Wal*Mart today. I liked this part of the lyrics: 
then I remember you,
And the way you shine like truth in all you do.
And if you remembered me,
You could save me from the way I tend to be.

It strikes me that we should be like that to people around us, shining like truth in all we do while we communicate to the world that God remembers us and saves us from what we are.

and then toward the end came the words:

And then I catch myself
Catching your scent on someone else
In a crowded space
And it takes me somewhere I cannot quite place.
"For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing,  to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?  For we are not, like so many, peddlers of God's word, but as men of sincerity, as commissioned by God, in the sight of God we speak in Christ." II Corinthians 2:15-17

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

End of Summer Musings

This morning I picked what I suspect are the last of the blackberries *sigh*. There are only seven and they are not the best looking, but still.

I also pulled every last thistle I could find. I like pulling weeds at the end of summer. Their roots are barely holding on and the plant is ready to die. I wonder if, at the end of our lives, we are like that with out sin, just barely holding on to it and ready to have it removed from our lives. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

The Battle of the Villa Fiorita

Well, it's book report time on Rumer Godden's _The Battle of the Villa Fiorita_, which I finished reading last night.

This is a fictional work about a woman (Fanny) who had an affair and was divorced by her husband. She went to live with the new man (Rob) in Italy and two of her children showed up to fetch her back where, in their opinion, she belonged.

So right from the set up you see that this is a book about sin, and that there is probably not going to be any way to have a happy ending. (No spoilers needed for that!) And, true to life, there wasn't. Everyone involved continued to receive ugly consequences and wounds from the sin that had occurred.

Unfortunately the author did not include any significant redemptive value to the story other than showing how the characters, especially the children, grew through their experiences. I found it a story well-told, but not a happy one, and am glad that these characters are not my real life friends, as my heart would hurt for all of them. This is in contrast to the same author's _In This House of Brede_, where I felt glad to know the characters as friends.