Inter-Dependent

Disk " Siberia"
IZOSOFT’S image Disk IZ115

(Reposting a revision of “Inter-Connected”)

The water, some splashing, some crashing, cleaned by the tides, ceaselessly moving. Light glinting, sparkling off the tops of waves, giving us joy, beauty buoying our hearts; turquoise to cobalt, azure reflecting azure.

At the beach, making memories, creating patterns with our foot prints in the sand, throwing rocks and sticks, jumping rope with seaweed strands, dancing to the music of the ocean together. Finding shells, agates, driftwood. Where did they all come from? They are all here, under our feet, in our hands.

While out there, orbiting, whirling, revolving, and spinning, planets, sun, and moon, not too far, not too near. They are just right for seasons and for tide-making, light giving, air warming, air flowing, droplets rising, droplets gathering dust, clouds, wind, more clouds, piling up, snow up high, rain below, ground drinking, filtering, cleaning, making wells of pure water.

Us! Here! drinking earth-cleaned water, eating grains ground then shaped with oil and baking, cut and topped with avocado, tomato, lettuce, onion, salt, mustard and another piece of bread; dried and salty potatoes chipped; huckleberries, black berries besides. We are sometimes swimming, surfing, walking, climbing, sitting, napping, and always breathing. All the nutrients, all the moisture, all the protection, all the beauty, all the wonders, we don’t need to think about, while we are here soaking up the sunshine, sitting in the shade. While bacteria, protozoa, fungi, algae do their magic unseen work, we digest, we exude, we live, above and below water, and on the land.

While those nectar-gathering bees we see and hear, that sting, that sing the song near us here at the sea continue it there in someone’s flower garden, with the plants humming along, the birds joining in the chorus of living together. We don’t hear the whole song, the birds also sing while picking ticks off the cattle, zebras and the rhinos far away in Africa. They aren’t here, but they are there, on this mild, wildly busy, calm summer day.

While here and everywhere are plants soaking up water, air, light; growing, living breathing with butterflies, fleas, gulls, herons, salmon, whales, turtles… living, breathing too; and up on the grassy slopes above the sea-side cliffs are sheep, goats, cattle, sometimes deer and smaller critters we can’t see, drinking, eating grass, alfalfa, leaves; growing, breathing, being.

Because we need the air, because it’s natural for us to want to breathe, we don’t stay underwater for longer than we can hold our breath. We breathe the air the plants breathed out, cleaned, the air the wind brought in, just the right mix, oxygen, nitrogen, and other gases. We breathe and the plants breathe what they need from us.

Us, breathing, playing in the waves and surf, picking and eating more berries, giving hugs, playful claps and caresses, laughing, crying, living together, being.

And busy below the splashing, crashing waves: agitated anemone and crazy clown fish, sightless snapping shrimp and gumptious gobies, fish-cleaning-fish and cleaned fish, encrusting entities helicospiraling hermit homes, serious spider crabs and amiable algae, algae and reef-crafting corals are living and relying, contentedly in balance, on each other too.

While our hands hold, our feet follow, our smiles encourage and we laugh—our hearts are pumping, blood is surging, lungs expanding, air exchanging, bones upholding, muscles moving, skin protecting, excreting, cooling, senses tasting salty air and water, feeling breezes, warmth, cold water, smelling ocean-side smells, hearing birds and bells and water whooshing; while within our cells motile mitochondria, of intricate parts, each there, perfectly performing; parts, also made of racing electrons and neutrons and space, are making us go.

While we are not too hot, not too cold, not too distant, not to close to the sun to live and breathe and hold our breath amid the mixing moon-made tides and currents. How many times and how fast have we circled the solar system center and not spun off into space, not parted with planets near us? When did the whirring revolutions each begin, still in order now? At which juncture of the riotous rotation and swirling in space were you born?

Have you seen or heard or tasted or felt or smelled anything?

With my ear to a shell I hear we have all we need, we have each other, we have all that is held together and that works together for living and being, because of one wise, powerful, caring, creative, loving, eternal GOD, the I AM, who is there.

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Another Surprise?!

surpriseAnother surprise? Of course! Once more, this morning, God “surprises” me with a whole new understanding of a passage from the Bible. Not just a little turn in understanding, but a pretty MAJOR shift… Again!

Don’t worry, I’m not going to regale you with some “new” teaching you’ve never heard before or that is meant to impress you or shock you with something previously “hidden” –some mystery that no one has ever heard of or discovered before.

Truly, there is “nothing new under the sun,” as King Solomon once observed (Eccl. 1:9). But there are ALWAYS new ways of seeing the “old” things we thought we knew, as we grow and mature in our understanding of God and His goodness—the truth of the “I AM” or of who God is (Exo. 3:14-15).

You might think after many years of reading and studying this compilation of books, called the Bible, every day, there would be nothing new in there anymore, no surprises left between the covers. All the while you (or I) might think this, you (or I) would be wrong (So we need to watch ourselves that we don’t think this J ).

God and His Word do not change, but hopefully we do. Hopefully we let God’s Word penetrate our minds, beliefs, hearts, and so we are continually “surprised,” and so we are seeing “old” things in a  “new” light, and so our natures, characters, and lives are constantly changing—for the good.

First of all (FLASH, FLASH) the “surprise” this morning is yet another reminder to me that I should NEVER assume I know FULLY what ANY passage of scripture means EVER.

Next I am observing again, that when we sincerely seek to understand God’s heart, suspending our own understanding for a minute or two, and search His Word for other similar passages and words as those we are currently looking at, digging deeper into what He meant through those who spoke and/or who wrote it down in their culture and time, even with all their limitations—more about God will come to light—now, in our time, by the same Spirit, translated.

…I think the “surprises” are limited only by our own faithfulness or lack of faithfulness. When we value, so hold to and try, with the help and strength only God can give, to live out the light God gives, He can and will and delights to give us more…

What is the passage God gives me “new” today? It is in Luke, chapter 11 (using the ESV today): 33 “No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light. 34 Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”

I’m wondering: What exactly is a “bad” eye? As I look up the cross references for the word “bad” from verse 34, for a minute, I think I have looked up the wrong cross reference which is in Matthew, chapter 20:15. It reads: “Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’”[a]. No (I’m not wrong). It’s the right reference.

But then I read another cross reference for a “bad” eye, from Deuteronomy, chapter 15:9 which says: “Take care lest there be an unworthy thought in your heart and you say, ‘The seventh year, the year of release is near,’ and your eye look grudgingly[a] on your poor brother, and you give him nothing, and he cry to the Lord against you, and you be guilty of sin [Footnote: [a] Or be evil..].”

I look back at the footnote for Matthew 20:15: [a] “Or is your eye bad because I am good?”

This is “new” (to me)…A “bad” or “evil” eye means grudging? Or begrudging? Holding back good or holding back from wishing good to others? I never imagined this. I look up some more cross references to this word:

(Deut. 28:54) “[Because of national rebellion or disobedience to God] The man who is the most tender and refined among you will begrudge food to his brother, to the wife he embraces, and to the last of the children whom he has left…”

(Deut. 28:56) “The most tender and refined woman among you, who would not venture to set the sole of her foot on the ground because she is so delicate and tender, will begrudge to the husband she embraces, to her son and to her daughter,…”

(Prov. 23:6) “Do not eat the bread of a man who is stingy; do not desire his delicacies…”

(Prov. 23:22) “A stingy man hastens after wealth and does not know that poverty will come upon him.”

Another synonym for a “bad” eye is “stingy”?!

A “good” or “healthy” eye, then, must be a gracious, generous, giving heart. Yes! Of course! A heart just like God’s. This is how God has always been to me. It is how He treats all His children—all, despite our imperfections—all who look to Him, who want to and learn to believe Him, who come to love and so to follow Him and His true Word, embodied in Jesus—all!

NO ONE who seeks Him is EVER turned away. ALL who honestly seek Him will find Him.

I LOVE this “surprise” from my reading and study today. Though it is convicting, it is also comforting as it confirms to a greater degree the unchanging goodness of our God. I pray my heart might be more like His and less grudging or begrudging or stingy (as mine too often is). “Help me, Lord, through Your Spirit or Presence, which is only with me because of Jesus, to be more like You in my heart and attitude! Thank You, for teaching me “new” things from the “old,” LORD. Thank you for another “surprise,” another change of mind and heart today!

Hide and Seek

Child looking to Jesus

At that time Jesus said, ‘I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do'” (Matt. 11:25).

Lord, thank You for Your Holy Spirit,

Who brings You to us through Jesus;

Who testifies of Jesus, of Truth, of You;

Who leads us to know and understand you more;

Who leads us toward righteousness–toward You.

Do not let Your people be deceived

by those who rely on human understanding,

who seek their own renown;

who believe and elevate themselves

instead of You, instead of Truth, instead of Jesus!!!

Let all be encouraged–or warned,

we, each one, will find what we seek!

Blessed are You, LORD,

for how You reveal Yourself,

even to children and the simple,

Yet You are hidden

from those who elevate themselves

and their own understanding

instead of seeking You!

“So I say to you: 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 fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:9-10).

 

Poor?

two year oldAs each of our children came along, we watched them each go through the different stages of development. One of the stages, which they hit at about 2 years of age, we called the “Me do!” stage. They wanted to do everything themselves, even if they weren’t able to yet. They also did a lot of repetitive and sometime annoying things at this stage; we figured they did some of these things just because they could, because there seemed no other good or observable reason.

In this way and many others our children with their stages and quirks made us wonder about ourselves as children of God and what He has to put up with from us. We realized that we all pretty much just start the “Me do!” thing at age two. As we get older, though we don’t seek to get our way in the same manner that a two-year-old does, we too often are still just as willful—sometimes even more so.

This is one of the things that makes it hard for people to become Christians, and that makes it hard to follow God once we are a Christians. We are used to seeking and finding how to get our own way. Then along comes Jesus!

Often because we’ve heard of something repeatedly or are completely familiar with its existence, we think we also know all about it.

Everyone who is a Christian has heard of the Sermon on the Mount. Though we have heard of it, has it ever made any difference in our lives? Or helped us to deal with the very real challenges of life? Or are we going on our merry—or sometimes not so merry—but still ever willful way?

The Sermon on the Mount is one of the most powerful sermons ever preached. Only because the One who was teaching was Emmanuel, “God with us” in HUMAN form. But with power! –And wisdom– And eternal perspective…

We know with our intellects that God is the answer to every question and in every circumstance, but how does this spiritual reality translate to help us in this visceral world we are also a part of?

We are continuing on our merry way, then (by the grace of God) life happens, we find ourselves adrift on the ocean. Suddenly we are seeing things in a whole different light. We are in new terrain—often scary terrain: terminal illness, life-changing accidents, loss of income, the devastation of war or terrorism, our own or others hurtful choices, and on and on.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3 NIV). If you look up the word ‘poor,’ its meaning goes beyond not having what everyone else has, or continually struggling to get by day to day. This word as it was meant signified abject poverty, or being in a position of total reliance on someone else for one’s bare survival.

What did Jesus mean by poor? Do we think he meant those without money? (see Isaiah 51:1). Who is poor? Compared to God, all of us are wretched! What did Jesus mean by poor in SPIRIT? Do we acknowledge our poverty before God and our dependence on Him and what Jesus did for us? Is our attitude one of letting God be God, or are we still in the “Me do!” mode, trying to be our own God or someone else’s? How REAL do the words of Jesus get for us? Is it “Thy will be done”? or “Me do!”?

Technology!

Codex GigasThe codex was possibly as much of an advancement of the written word in its time, as the printing press was later during the Middle ages. What is a codex? The Oxford English Dictionary (2nd edition), definition is as follows: “A codex (from the Latin caudex for “trunk of a tree” or block of wood, book; plural codices) is a book constructed of a number of sheets of paper, vellum, papyrus, or similar materials, with hand-written content.”

Today I am posting two videos by Princeton’s Anthony Grafton. In one He describes the phenomena at the root of books and book making–the transition from scrolls to codices. In the other video he discusses the development of book printing.

I hope these videos will help you see the “old” or what is past, with new eyes and help you learn somethings you didn’t already know about the technology behind books.

First, before watching the videos, did you know that the codex was the first form of what we now call a book? Before the codex, scrolls and wax tablets were the media used for recording or keeping written information–before that, stone tablets. Scrolls, not to mention stone tablets, were bulky, heavy, and could not hold nearly as much information as a codex could. Wax tablets were not for keeping information long-term.

 The invention and use of the codex revolutionized the ability to share, transfer, and store knowledge and information.  Besides the invention and use of paper and the invention of the printing press, the codex was probably the most important technological advancement in the development of written media.
In codex form, both sides of the paper, parchment, papyrus, vellum, etc.., could be used for writing. Written material could be much more easily referenced and found. Professor Grafton notes other advantages in the video below as well.

“Published on Sep 5, 2013. Great moments in media history! Princeton University’s Anthony Grafton on the shift from the scroll to the modern codex back in the 2nd to 4th century – in INT’s ENLIGHTENMENT MINUTES. The origins of modern communication (before YouTube!)!” (found on YouTube).
The printing press changed the world in a major way. We cannot know the full extent of the impact of this invention. Anthony Graft shares some interesting facts about some of the initial challenges publishing entailed. He also challenges the advances that have been made in regard to the web, asserting that in no way do they reflect the full potential of that media.

 “Published on Sep 8, 2013. A history timeline for major changes in media – Anthony Grafton in INT’s ENLIGHTENMENT MINUTES. Princeton University professor Tony Grafton explores the history of major changes in media and communication – and parallels in history to our own video age” (found on YouTube).

What will be the next invention or use that will bring the written word forward in ways equal in its time to the codex and the printing press? Is the web such an invention? Do you agree with Professor Grafton that “We are very far from having leaped to a point where design on the world wide web…really exploits the possibilities of the new medium and shows us more of the things that it can do”? (taken from the first video above).

I agree with Professor Grafton. Beside and beyond that, I believe the possibilities are endless.

Easy Basics

Easy BasicsWhen my husband Bruce and I first got married neither one of us knew how to cook – nor bake. Some friends gave us Sunset’s “Easy Basics” cookbook as a wedding gift. It was one of the most helpful and appropriate gifts we received; it has been well used and loved. Once a week or so, we would choose a recipe to make together. The recipes from the “Easy Basics” book always turned out well and tasted great. We came to count on this book for fairly easy yet always good recipes. Some of our family’s enduring favorites have come from it and are still part of our family traditions and so are connected with some of our fondest memories.

The Apple Pie Bruce still makes from this book has become a staple in our home for Thanksgiving and sometimes is still requested for birthdays or other events. Another winner, which will by itself draw our children back home for a visit, is the Lasagne Belmonte; Bruce just has to threaten to make it, and “they will come” (he still actually follows the recipe—something I have wandered away from faithfully doing over the years). The waffle recipe is another that is often requested for birthdays or family gatherings when breakfast is involved.

Related to “Easy Basics,” Bruce and I have been asked by different people during our 31 ½ years of marriage what our “recipe” has been for staying together as a couple. We could say the above recipe book helped, and for sure, it would be part of the many ingredients which have worked together to hold us together, but I don’t think that’s what people are asking.

What are our “basics” for a marriage that lasts? What are the reliable fundamentals that have given us good results?

Before I tell you, I will warn you, what has helped us are truly “Easy Basics.’” Sometimes, for some reason, we want more complicated or sophisticated answers or solutions to our problems or for our life situations. But complicated is how things get when we don’t follow the “easy basics.” And in reality, seeking complicated or sophisticated answers is one of many ways of avoiding responsibility.

Here are our “easy basics”:

First is a total commitment to God – which means getting to know Him better through Jesus, not loving anything or anyone more than Him, seeking to follow Him in wholehearted trust demonstrated by faithful (sometimes inconvenient) obedience to His Word through His loving and Holy Spirit. This is the one solid foundation upon which all other relationships can be built, and the foundation, when lacking, which will result in one relational disaster after another.

The second “easy basic” is commitment to the relationships and life that God has given or allowed us to have. It is intentionality in seeking to know and apply God’s Word in our daily relationships and activities (through prayer!). It is not giving up on each other when each is undeserving—which we always are. It is tough love—learning and holding ourselves and one another to the responsibilities which our lives entail as given by God, not generally according our own or other’s expectations—but according to God, as revealed in His Word, Jesus, and in the book that testifies of Him, the Bible. It is encouraging one other to magnify (or live out) the gifts God has given each of us individually for the benefit of human kind. It is pulling together to learn more of God and His ways and then practicing what we learn as we go along, together. In other words, it is being committed to helping each other do the first thing.

About these “easy basics,” Jesus summed it up when He said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30).

Restless

StormySea

When I saw the announcement for this lecture and the topic, I wanted to go. I was curious and decided that’s where I wanted to get this week’s chapel credits. This afternoon I attended the lecture by Colin Noble, a chaplain from Australia. The title of his speech was “Resting for God.”

It was a thoughtful, challenging lecture. I think my favorite part was near the beginning when Chaplain Noble demonstrated in a very simple yet profound manner, the “rest” he afterward also explained. He did this by asking us to stop, stop taking notes or doing whatever else we were doing. When he had our full attention, in that moment, without announcement, he broke into a short but very real prayer, thanking God for His presence with us and His provision.

We stopped and acknowledge God’s presence and provision.

Just another word, another lecture, another thing to forget? When else will we ever have time to do this? Our intentions are good, but we never have time.

We choose to be restless.

A whole day of rest once a week? Why not? So many reasons!
We have it all figured out. We have our plans.
You know, it is legalistic to set aside a day of rest.
We will lose gains in money, in time in our own efforts.
When else will we do all the things we need to do? How else will we make it?
Why should we do this? It is not needed for our salvation!

We are restless.

Why don’t we accept the gift of double manna from heaven?
We are just like the ancient Israelites.
Can others tell we believe in God’s presence and provision by how we live our lives? Do we believe in God’s presence and provision? Are we able to practice rest in God every day?
This isn’t a religious observance issue; it is a heart issue.

We don’t believe God. We are restless.

Don’t be restless. “Be still, and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).

Note: If you want to know which of the things above the speaker actually said, and which are my own thoughts and observations, you will have to buy Colin Noble’s book, “Resting for God,” a sequel to “Working for God,” when it comes out.

Wonder Full

moon

The other night on the way home, as I was admiring the night sky (because it was a clear night!), I was struck again by the presence and uniqueness of our moon.

Have you ever really looked at the moon and thought about its being there? It is a bright beautiful ball in the sky, or a crescent, or a sliver, or it’s shape is there though not reflecting the sun (the new moon). It’s up there waxing and waning and just seemingly hanging in space–at just the right distance from earth.

What would happen on the earth if it wasn’t there? What if we didn’t have the tides it causes? Or what if its gravitation was greater or lesser than it is? What would happen to the weather? What would happen to the water cycle? What would star-gazers, lovers and poets do?

When I gaze at the night sky with moon and the stars in their places and ponder on their being there in the first place, all in order, all safely right where they belong, I am amazed–again.

And I am reminded–again, this is just one big round wonder among countless other wonders.

On a whole different level, there’s a little atomic universe, then there’s a molecular universe.

There are the systems within the cells of each living body, plants, animals and humans; then there are the separate systems within each whole that the cells combine to form.

There are plants which feed the animals which both feed the humans, then there is the symbiosis between many plants, insects and animals which depend on one another for survival.

There is the atmosphere with the perfect blend of oxygen and other gases, and then there is the water cycle which includes a natural purifying and filtering effect, and the river of my life that runs through it.

Now we are back again to the moon and the stars, and then there are the galaxies beyond the bounds of imagination.

How do all these things all manage to work at all, let alone work perfectly in harmony together and keep working?

There they all are, undeniably, happily, inter-connectedly there. Now. Present. Just like our God–the Maker of them all.

Gender Bending

This post may or may not be what you expect, depending on how you read or understood the title. The misreading and misunderstanding of terms seems to be especially prevalent in conversations addressing gender. Maybe that’s because this is one of the places we tend to ‘live’ all the time and can never get away from. And for sure, much of the way we look at life depends on how we understand gender.

A few years ago, Christopher Yuan was invited to George Fox University to speak on the topic of homosexuality. I was not there when he spoke, but both my husband and daughter attended this event and talked about it in great detail at the dinner table that evening in our home. My husband bought Yuan’s book, “Out of a Far Country,” which I read immediately. The one thing above all that was emphasized for me by this conversation and the book was the idea that as children of the living God, we have a new identity in Him. We can and should let go of identifying ourselves – in this case by our sexual bent – for example: homosexual, monogamous, polygamous, pedophilic, transvestite, etc…; to embrace our true, living identity: son or daughter of the One true, faithful, loving, just, holy, eternal, etc… God. As we begin more and more to realize our true identity through Christ, we will then proportionately, in every area of our lives, be ‘free’ to live one day at a time as God intends for us to live; in a way that is truly loving, truly just, truly good or righteous –in God’s eyes; for the good of all and to our joy.

Through the invitation of my writing professor, Tuesday evening my husband and I attended the fall faculty lecture. Melanie Mock was the featured speaker. She was the recipient of the 2014-15 “Faculty Achievement Award for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship.” Out of her research and blog she co-authored a book with Kendra Weddle Irons, entitled, “If Eve Only Knew…” (I will tell you the rest of the title in a minute).

This lecture was not at all what I expected and what Mock, the speaker, feared we might expect. What she actually addressed was the perception of gender roles for both men and women and how they are sometimes taught by many in the evangelical church—and whether or not it is with integrity that the word “Biblical” is assigned to some of these perceived roles. The one thing above all that I took away from this “lecture” or conversation was again that our identity needs to be in God, separate from the influence of cultural, especially should culture be out of line with God’s Word of truth. And of course then I would immediately ask: When has popular (any) culture ever been in line with God? And if we think it is—How are we deluding ourselves?

Too often in wanting to be open and warm-hearted Christians, we more readily than we should, assign the word “Biblical” to things in the culture with which we tend to agree, which when examined more closely are too often not actually in line with God’s overall Word or heart.

The careful, honest, kind spirit and message of the speaker allowed room for the rest of the title of her book to be redeemed for me. And anyway, what she meant by it, was not what I originally understood it to mean. The whole title of her book is, “If Eve Only Knew: Freeing Yourself from Biblical Womanhood and Becoming all God Means for You to Be.” The ‘Biblical’ in this title and her message should have quotation marks around it, as the Question and Answer facilitator pointed out. Mock’s whole intent was to encourage us as Christians to be looking to be in agreement with God rather than with culture, especially before calling things “Biblical.” Though I don’t know if I would agree with everything the speaker said, should I have the opportunity to have a more in-depth dialogue with her; I truly appreciated the overall quest and message she shared very much, and would enjoy having more conversation with her.

Do we look to God and define ourselves and our potential, not by our gender, or race, or culture, or government, or family, or ‘tribe,’ or nation, or achievements, or problems, or addictions, etc… but by who and what God has promised to be and is to us? In other words are we embracing the Life God means for us to have through Christ, by His Spirit, of true peace and love and joy in the glorious freedom only He can and will give?!

Ode to Joy

I am sitting here at the computer doing homework on the one day since school began that we have as a “break” from school, which day we get off instead of Labor Day – which day we did not get “off” (How did you like that sentence!?!). (I know, Bruce, you don’t like the parenthesis, and I’m probably breaking some grammar rules in using them this way too – which rules I obviously need to learn if they do exist!). Anyway, I am not writing this to give anyone consternation (wink), nor so that you can feel sorry for me. Our teacher graciously extended the due date for our weekly blogs so we wouldn’t have to write today if we couldn’t or didn’t want to do so. Also, if you saw the view out my window and could hear the peace and quiet I am enjoying (hear the peace and quiet?!)…you would have less sympathy anyway. Not to mention, I actually enjoy writing – even if it IS part of an assignment – at this time in my life and on this day. This is a peaceful, enjoyable drift on the ever flowing river for me – for now.

And here is the drift. God gives us life. He gives us breath and all the other means for survival – which are plenty (all creation)! He give us the people in our lives and us to them. He gives us or at least allows the situations and circumstances in which we find ourselves. Then, so amazing, above all this, He gives us Himself if we will have Him, the very light and life and truth, through Christ, by His also very Holy Spirit to be with us and to help us on our way!

Then, even more amazing we find fault and look away and complain and blame and reject and ignore and deny and rationalize and minimize and so on, until there is nothing left for us but the miserable little mud puddle we are bent on playing in, while the great, wild, beautiful ocean is just on the other side of the dune (a word picture borrowed from C.S. Lewis).

Whether we remember this or not (and I am all too forgetful, myself!), how we see the things God has given us (with or without His help), and how we deal with them (with or without His help), makes all the difference in the flow and direction our lives take, one moment, on choice, one breath at a time.

I could wait until tomorrow, but I might run out of time with all the other things and appointments we have already planned. I don’t want to do it Sunday, the one day a week I get to mainly “rest” from my “work,” unless an ox is in the mire or unless I want to go really permanently crazy. I could wait until the last minute (Monday) to do this post, but then what about the school work I usually do on Monday to be prepared for this and my other classes? I could resent the opportunity of having school work in the first place? What about the fact that I love writing, and this opportunity is helping me in ways I never would have imagined to be a better writer? What about the fact that if I always did what I want, when I want, I would be a much worse character than I am? This season will pass soon enough. I can go to the beach another time, though probably not today…

Thank you, LORD, for giving me the opportunity to write this blog post, right here, right now; and for your blessings and the perspective to see them, which I am often too short-sighted to see on my own. Thank you for the great, wild, beautiful ocean. You make the journey a joy always (when I let You) – no matter where the river or the ocean current takes me!