Tag Archives: Bible

Dear John

You were my first friend, my first hero.
Until I discovered John Wayne.
Then our world grew large and mean.
You gave me music,
And then you left.
You made us learn to live without you.
We’d finally begun building a bridge.
Perhaps we’ll finish it soon.
But for now we must say farewell.

Fair winds and following seas, dear “Big Bother”.

Daddy, Brother and me 1954

“Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today
Tomorrow will be dying.”*

 

My Big Brother
January 8, 1952 – April 19, 2018

 

“When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”

1 Corinthians 15:54  (NIV)

*From To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time by Robert Herrick, 1591 – 1674

 

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Filed under Notes from the Apex, photography

The Sacred Garbage Man

One of the most moving posts (and there are many) from DawnLizJones. Oh, that it moves us all.

If a picture paints a thousand words, then this one is a whole tome in itself~~

W. Eugene Smith, WWII The Pacific Campaign,1944

This photo from World War 2 is iconic and, in my mind, is one of the most important comments on war in general.  The picture, by W. Eugene Smith, is of an American Marine finding a desperate infant still astonishingly breathing among the dead in Saipan. They passed the baby from soldier to soldier until the child arrived at the top of the hill.  I wish I could find out whatever happened to the child, but have not been able to do so as yet.  Perhaps the child’s history is now lost to us.

It reminds me of how God graphically records His “finding” of the Hebrew nation:

“But I came by and saw you there, helplessly kicking about in your own blood. As you lay there, I said, ‘Live!’ And I helped you to thrive like a plant in the field. You grew up and became a beautiful jewel…”

Unhappily, the very people chosen by God took their treasured affluence in a different direction that what was intended:

“You looked like a queen, and so you were! Your fame soon spread throughout the world because of your beauty. I dressed you in my splendor and perfected your beauty, says the Sovereign LORD.  But you thought your fame and beauty were your own…you defiled your beauty…”

Idolatry of various kinds had been welcomed into the otherwise pristine picture.  The very Hand that drew them out of the mud was now being slapped away:

“They traded their glorious God for a statue of a grass-eating bull.”

And in response to the people’s freewill choices, God reveals His own:

“I let them pollute themselves with the very gifts I had given them,…”

OUCH! 

As if that’s not enough, using the gifts, qualities, and abilities God gives us for our unredeemed purposes not only equals spiritual prostitution, but also corrupts other precious ones whom God intends for His own.  What are newly birthed Christians seeing when they view my lifestyle?  Even in the Christian culture, we buy into mindsets and push our kids into activities for “their” benefit, but really…?

“Must you also slaughter my children by sacrificing them to idols?” 

I need to remember where I came from, and fix my eyes clearly on where I’m going, as well as who might be following behind without me even knowing it.  Thus, as the song goes, I am still in need of a Savior. 

“He lifts the poor from the dust and the needy from the garbage dump.  He sets them among princes, even the princes of his own people!”

Thankfully, my history is still being written.

Ezekiel 16:6,7; Ezekiel 15:13-15, 25; Psalm 106:20; Ezekiel 20: 26; Ezekiel 16:21; Psalm 113:7  Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Original Post: Inspiration With an Attitude, DawnLizJones

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Run Away Brain

Before I was fully awake I stumbled over a toy that my most recent house guests had left behind.

 

 

Moving forward regardless, even before I prepared the trace amount of caffeine I allow myself, I was fussing and fuming over something else – it doesn’t take much. I’m often amazed how, at my age and with my wealth of experience, even now I can go from quiet tranquility to untamable shrew in 4.0 seconds*.

As happens sometimes, something reminded me of a fragment of the dark, sad past. Today, instead of reminding myself that was then and this is now, and without the little dogs to remind me Someone is always listening, I soon forgot I’m not actually alone here.

Heartbeats later I gave voice to the thoughts blowing through my mind like the gale force winds that uprooted the tallest tree from the yard, and tore away half the roof on the hen house.

Yep, suddenly angry words busted outta me like a runaway train.

Annnd once again I soon came to appreciate another of the advantages of life here in Our Place: as I worked up to a full-blown rage over ancient history Jesus’ warning from Matthew came to mind – hitting me like a board across the face:

“But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken.”**

Like a muzzle check on a firing range, that advice shut my mouth and reset my reality in a heartbeat.

I no sooner confessed the open sewer line of thoughts I’d spewed into the air, asked forgiveness and then begged God to reverse any evil I caused, than the cottage radiated peace again.

With that, my latte and I found today’s place in Jesus Calling*.

Even now I am astounded by how, from the beginning of infinity God knew this morning was coming. Not only so, He also had His plan in place to comfort and help me – today and forever:

“When you focus on what you don’t have or on situations that displease you, your mind also becomes darkened. … You look for what is wrong and refuse to enjoy life until that is “fixed.”

When you approach Me [Jesus] with thanksgiving, the Light of My Presence pours into you, transforming you through and through…*”  (Genesis 3:2-6; 1 John 1:7 ) Sarah Young

Thank God we can stop run-away brains – restarting from right here and now. Oh, and can we keep early today and the rest of our pasts between Jesus, us and these walls?

Thanks!

“Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.”

James 1:26 NIV

 

Featured Image courtesy Pixabay

2016 Camaro SS image courtesy of Jalopnik

*(c) 2004 by Sarah Young, Published by Thomas Nelson, Inc. , Nashville, TN, USA

**Matthew 12:36 (NIV)

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Bright Week

Spring, even Easter can be like a two-edged sword in my family. I doubt we’re so unique that this should surprise anyone. At some point in life most every body I know tires of winter’s short daylight hours and long, dark nights.

Even so, my family seems to have had more than average trouble getting through to spring – so much so that several times some of our loved ones didn’t make it. My siblings and I for example lost a parent, a cousin, and two siblings before spring.

These, our first losses were when we were all very young and somehow nobody explained what happened. So, understandably our history set up my siblings and me for a sneaky darkness to come creeping around in  early March. Typically that gloom lurks in the shadows until early April. Remarkably, none of us recognized that particular annual happening until we were all grown and set in our individual ways.

Since that realization we learned to reach out to one another about the time our spirits began going down for the second time. Regardless of which of us start it, we team together to help one another through, one way or another. We celebrate the good aspects of our family and we rationalize the bad, the sad and the painful. Mostly by Easter we’ve all beat it.

This year Easter came early so my breakthrough exploded into Easter Monday.

I’m glad to have celebrated the Resurrection, our hope in glory* with extended family this year – people who know my family, our history and they’re as glad to see my siblings and me get through our struggles as are we.

 

 
 

Today I determined – yet again – to continue my campaign to celebrate Bright Week. Essentially borrowing from the Eastern Orthodox tradition, only I’ll continue to observe through to Holy Week next year. Embracing the pain and rising above it, I’m confident God shall carry me through the joy of Easter Sunday all year.

I’ll let you know exactly how this goes after I finish sorting through last weeks’ photos.

“To them [the Lord’s people who are the church] God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Colossians 1:27 (NIV, [addendum mine])

 

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Spring Cleaning

While Brother Cole and I remain the same, we have experienced some changes, and new players if you will:

SchnauzerOne and ChiuyTwo will be my house guests until they move to the main house at the end of the month. Getting a good, sharp photo will take some more doing.  Meanwhile, lots of playtime is the order of the day.

GoodGirl will need some time to understand our the new friends are not toys, but she’s always ready for play. And everyone approves of my new storm door.

As can be seen on four of the hens, Darryll the rooster’s departure has been too long overdue. As of yesterday he has taken residence elsewhere.

And hardly least of all, Isabella (Izzy), Cole and I juggled around some of the project trucks, parts, etc. and organized the lots a bit. There was no bloodshed during the three-day project and a good time was had by all:

Cole, getting-his-trucks-in-a-row, and Izzy.

That’s one tough little tractor

Cole has some pretty cool tools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

Colossians 3:23, 24 (NIV)

 

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On Second Thought

Contrary to my nature, I awoke with a negative thought this morning, my body and spirit feeling uncharacteristically heavy and dark.

Not realizing it, I carried that around with me through the first minutes of the day.

Also not usual in those first moments in that hour as my brain wakes, I began examining, probing the negativity.

Hours later I’m now slightly embarrassed. After waking and walking with the Holy Spirit all these years I’m still so easily tempted to shoulder burdens God never intended for me to bear alone:

  • grief,
  • anger,
  • anxiety,
  • remorse,
  • fear…

This morning grief got a good grip on me before I even recognized it.

Thanks to God, something outside the kitchen window soon captured my attention, changing the atmosphere entirely:

clear, blue skies decorated with white, fluffy clouds!

Sometimes it’s good to be easily entertained or distracted.

With the tangible vision of a brand new day, my second thought was, “Wow God, what a fabulous day!”

God and I kicked some ideas around together a while. Now, tea is cooling, sunshine is bursting through the windows igniting the rooms with energy. As I realize today is officially the last day of winter, I’m so very thankful for second thoughts.

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8 (NIV)

 

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Character

Stuff happens. How we deal with the stuff defines us.

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation. Afterward they will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

James 1:12 NLT

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Breathing

I imagine by late February just about everyone in this region and especially those in the northeast is very ready for longer, sunlit days and warmer weather. With the scantier rations of sunlight, rain, snowfall or wind, my moods chnaging with the winds used to worry me.

But this year is different. I notice the changes all around me and within me, but I’m not the least bit concerned.

No, I haven’t stoked the last fire of the year yet – our days of warm temperatures in early February took a dive again. Now in this second week of March, with warm mid-days and more evidence of spring nearby, I’m a little reluctant for winter to end.

I know, some people just won’t just be satisfied.

Lately I’ve been relishing the light shows on my walls and ceilings. I enjoy the warm energy surging through the rooms, the roar of the fire and golden waves flickering in the chrome of the bikes at the far end of the room – all cast from the safety of the wood stove. Though I failed to capture the lights on camera, I doubt I’ll ever forget them.

Rain fell overnight so this morning a little puddle greeted me from where it dried on the gray-streaked red floor. In my reflection I saw a stronger and gentler young woman smiling up at me. Today it’s funny how the occasional puddles bothered me when I first arrived here. I was upset after an extension cord shorted the outlet nearest the door (but not the treadmill). And I recall the frustration after none of my quick fixes stopped the leaks.

Now I simply roll with brother Cole’s grand plan that will not only stop the water leaking in, but will let more light into the cottage. For now I’m okay with an occasional extra mopping. Besides, I can wait to resurface and re-stain the concrete floors – until Cole and I can agree upon a color.

While circumstances aligned so Cole could bring me back to the ranch, I used to dream about how I would redesign the cottage. The funny thing about dreams is how little time influences them. The dream was far different during the first year-plus since I returned. People and livestock have come and gone, inventory shifted, projects reached completion and new ones began. The weather wasn’t all that was fairly brutal that first year. This year I welcomed winter.

Though the cold has worn old and I continue to look forward to upgrades and improvements around the cottage, I am comfortable and content.

At least every week something else about these surroundings, this time and place resound like peaceful chords through my soul – the soul that arrived here bruised and weary. For this season I freely breathe. I also weep, heal, laugh and dance. And I rest as one-by-one I lay my old burdens down.

God is the best dance partner!

“For the Lord will deliver Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they.  … Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:11, 13 (NIV)

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Two Joys

During the winter months, with firing up the wood stove, ashes, muddy floors and extra hours of darkness there are always additional tasks and chores waiting. I probably like a clean house a little more than is healthy, so I can easily dig myself into a rut indoors.

Still, when the calendar tells me spring is near I force myself outdoors every day, regardless of the weather.

Today my reward has been two-fold:

I found buds on the bulbs that began shooting up weeks ago – a very welcome addition of color to neutral winter shades.

Then I stopped to feel the sunshine warm me deeply. This is huge for me – normally I can quickly feel anxious being still – especially in the yards.

But over the winter God daily urged me to rest and let Him do His job (running the universe). As the sun rose over the treetops illuming the bulb bed the words from our predawn time together resounded through my soul:

“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!” Psalm 30:11, 12 (NLT)

After a while I skipped down the driveway singing aloud. No first responders were involved.

Be blessed and pray it forward!

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Another Milestone

Creativity drew Cole and Seagh together and determination made them inseparable. They designed and created The Trailer to make any trip or event more comfortable and sometimes more profitable. Everything one could want securely attached – tool boxes, reserve tanks, ramps. They even fixed a barbecue grill to slide off for storage. This creation is truly remarkable.

 

Since I’ve been back I often remembered the guys building that trailer – Seagh fussing over Cole’s work and Cole back-combing over Seagh’s. And yet, every weekend they both agreed it is their masterpiece.

So, after four years, Cole got his asking price for their last remaining custom creation (without the Comanche). I think Cole and I both felt the pang as another tangible reminder of Seagh hitched up to leave the ranch. It should be no big deal – they built it to sell it. And yet I was sad to see it go.

The new owners’ visible excitement assured us it would be appreciated, most likely treasured. Going by the stickers in their truck window I don’t doubt it: NASCAR, NHRA, IHRA, Harley Davidson and (my personal favorite) “my honor student pounded your honor student.”

Cole paused and gazed for a moment, I imagine to commemorate the milestone. He even (reluctantly) let me shoot a photo. As he headed back to work on the new 5th wheel I heard him say softly, “This ain’t sad. Seagh will be here until we’re all home again.”

He’s right, you know.

So, the first evening after the wind dies down we’ll build a fire in the pit, remember the great times we’ve had here together and look forward to the even better times to come.

“For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands.” 2 Corinthians 5:1 (NLT)

Seagh 1957 – 2014

 

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