Sunday, December 30, 2012


It's good to be able to laugh at ones self, and today that's just what I'm doing. I have been comparing lifestyles of the Amish/Mennonites and, well, ME. There is an appauling, visible difference in their simplicity in thier homes, especially their kitchens, and mine. It's like "sense vrs. nonsense", or "peace compared to chaos"?  I always wanted to be the keeper of the home, yet I see my husband cooking breakfast, because I need some rest from working all week.  I guess my mind is rather programmed to consider their way verses the way I am? Or the way "we" are as a couple??
My husband actually likes cooking a hearty breakfast, and I don't. I'm great at lunch and dinner, desserts, casseroles, and appetizers. But I have a hard time focusing in the morning, and prefer to just sit and sip my cuppa joe will I wait for the fog to clear.  I get sidetracked worrying about this. It's an internal battle of me wanting to be the haus-frau, but I'm terrible at breakfast!  Shouldn't I be the very model of  domesticity??? Well, too bad. I'm not. So I like to laugh about those little battles and I hope you'll laugh with me? Laughing at our weaknesses, and shortcomings is honest, and part of what keeps us humble. So off we go!
 In my mind, my home should be neat, organized, and tidy. Like the Mennonites? Ok, more like some Mennonites,, more like the Mennonites in coffee table books! There we go! Believe it or not, even Mennonite women have children who drag toys out. They have days when the dishes pile up, when the laundry is too much. They also get sick just like everyone else. The thing that they have that I probably envy the most is the sense of community that comes with church. It's not uncommon for a group of women to go clean another womans home when she's unable to keep up for any given reason. Most commonly; a new baby, illness, or a death. Still, they rely on each other. All churches of all denominations should be that way, and many are. Still, ya gotta give the trophy to the Mennonites for really going the extra mile in the sense of *community*. 

But just like facebook, and pop-culture, people are people, and just because you post a picture, doesn't mean life is always that way. It means you captured a good moment. Life is full of chaos, disorderly kitchens, toys strung from one end of the house to the other, and trash that smells. You can't smell a picture, you can only capture the best moment of the day, and post it to leave the impression that life is organized and pristine. And as humans, we love to show our best side! Aren't we peculiar that way?

Life tends to be more random, reckless, and half hazard. Yet I think I need to rise to a higher standard? Truthfully, most Mennonites I know DO have orderly kitchens, but it's out of necessity.  I fall so short in this department, likely because I wasn't raised Mennonite, and I didn't have a huge family that required this sort of forethought in the pantry, I'm guessing? But still, I carry some guilt about it, because I've spent so long trying to fit in with the Mennonites, that you'd think my kitchen would reflect this? Nah. Forget about it. I'll just enjoy my friends orderly kitchens, and do my very best to keep mine clean. I can live with that.

Here is an image I relate to a little better, because SINCE becoming a Mennonite via the plain route, (no longer plain, but I should get brownie points for trying), I've become rather brainwashed in the laundry department. I have  large drawer full of long black socks purchased through various catalogs in the past 15 or so years. My friend Patty Lockwood wrote about Mennonite catalogs here on ber blog; The Morning Ramble:

 There are many nifty items including black socks that are easily purchased through stores that cater to the Amish and Mennonites. I sometimes find them at department stores, but rarely at a good price.. There is something about a solid pair of black knee socks that *for me* just reeks of trying too hard. Yet I've worn them for so long, that they have become a part of me, at least in the winter. My Birkenstock's are part of me in the summer.

All my very plain friends wear the black socks, and we all have little jokes about the number of black socks we own.  My sock of choice for winter is by far, the polyester-cable-kit-knee-length-black sock. It's something that the younger Mennonites will probably move away from, but I suppose I'm stuck on them? Hey, I have bigger fish to fry, so I can live with the black sock obsession. Some people collect Star Trek memorabilia, just probably not The Mennonites. Really, this is nothing to be concerned with in the big scale of things. So bear with me, as I can't seem to get past the black sock thing? They are warm, they are modest, they don't show dirt! It's one small step for mankind. And they help me wear skirts because they keep my legs warm. They are warm under jeans. They are warm under scrubs. What's not to love?

Moving forward, my next investment, other than more black socks, will be a hangy-down, clothespin-covered, chandelier like product that you can hang your black socks from. It doesn't have lights, but it's functional in that it doesn't take up space, and one can dry socks indoors from it. It just looks like a chandelier... ok, a redneck chandelier...

I found one in The Budget,   

(newspaper for the Amish/Mennonites,written BY the Amish/Mennonites)  listed for $19.95.

With all these socks, this is a requirement, and absolutely so if I'm going to call myself Anabaptist, however, I fall short in every other area. Really.... I do. But such is life and it's all a struggle to put one foot in front of the other as we all step heavenward. Right?

I hope you've gotten a chuckle or two out of my perception of myself,  my disorganized kitchen and my footwear?  I'm not too terribly worried about what's on the outside, or who cooks breakfast, as long as overall, my motives are pleasing to God? He knows my heart. He knows I don't wake up and hit the stove running!  He knows I fancy black socks. He also knows I love to laugh. Today, I looked at my kitchen and sock drawer, and did just that. Hope you did too. Blessings! Now go clean out your sock drawer!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Flirting With Disaster

My husband Scott and I flew up to Ohio to visit our children and grandchildren right in time to experience a natural disaster: Deracho 2012. A Deracho is as deadly as a tornado, but the winds are straight-line, and not in rotation. Kind of like a wall of fury coming at you all at once, wiping out everthing with any ounce of weakness in it's path. 100 year old oak trees are plucked up out of the ground like spring carrots and deposited in the neighbors pool. Roofs ripped off and power lines snapped in the blink of an eye. Your world is mowed down by an invisible force that you can only see coming by radar.

Disaster is not something you plan on, or think will happen to you? Many Americans in 2012 think they are somewhat impervious to a true disaster, as if it's ridiculous to think that anything catastrophic could possibly happen? Or worse; that the government, The Red Cross, and other volunteer agencies will swoop in and take care of them? Right now as I write this, Hurricane Isaac has made headlines and families living as far as Arkansas are dealing with floodwaters and scrambling for cover, while trying to save pictures and a few keepsakes. Many leaving behind pets to fend for themselves. Don't think it can't happen to you. Fire, flood, drought, and wind can level a lifetime of accumulation. Which really makes me wonder why we all strive so hard to accumulate? But that's another post...
Well, I'm pleased to say that the community of Newark, Ohio really came together and worked through this ordeal. But I realized just how community oriented we all are in small snippets of daily life during the 10 days without electricity, and in the big-middle of the States most outrageous heat-wave in 50 years. It was hot, and it was humid. We took cold showers, and my very gracious family set up a camp stove outside, and had hot coffee waiting for us every morning. We pulled together with neighbors and family and had a good time doing so. But this taught me a lesson: Keep water and food on hand.  And yeah, I know this could easily lead into a rant about "prepping", but I'm not going there right now. Instead I want you to picture with me how delicate our system is, and you can imagine on your own how something like this can affect you where you are presently?
Day one: I decided to venture out into the streets about 2 hours after the storm to see if any businesses were open and were in the world was the fringe of this storms path? Who had electricity, if any? Were people hurt? Could I help in any way? I drove my car carefully around downed power lines, wove around pine trees and oaks in the middle of the street, up to the "main drag" where all the stores are. The first thing I noticed besides the abscence of electricity and all the visual devestation, was that none of the stop-lights were operating. Nothing tests a persons character more than the ability for personal gain, even in traffic. People were driving like idiots, and horns were blasting, and middle fingers flying with wild abandon. It was like a trip to New York City, minus the great ethnic food and Broadway plays. I managed my way to the local store, and was stunned to see people coming and going It appears they had some emergency back up system, so I went in, grabbed lots of bottled, water, canned beans, fruit, bread, peanut butter, and snacks, because I felt deep down in my gut, that none of this would be available in a few days?
Day two: Need ice, and our telephones are not working! No gas is available, because the pumps operate on electricity. Plan: Drive out of town until we get a phone signal. Call everyone in Texas to let them know we are okay. Find gas, ice, and more food. We had a house full of family, and a diabetic Granddaughter. Make sure she has the right foods and plenty of insulin. Check.
Day three: Need more ice. Went by the grocery store again. They were out of ice, out of ANY fresh meat or cheese, and fruits and vegetables had been picked over. All that was left was cabbage, onions, radishes, and about 6 bags of potatoes. I grabbed a bag of potatoes, and went to the canned meat isle. Picked over, but I grabbed some spam, and a couple cans of soup.
Question: Why aren't they shipping more food in?
Answer: Because they have no means to store it.
This is scary. Kroger looks apocolyptic and it's 88 degrees inside, and it's starting to smell. No food coming in, and what's there is starting to get ripe.
Are you getting the picture? This went on for 10 days. Everyday I drove into town and scouted for ice, gas, and a phone signal. The elderly and infirmed where being sent to Red Cross stations across town because they couldn't take the heat. I thanked God every single day that we were able to swim in my brothers pool, and sleep in my sisters cool basement. We really made an adventure out of it for the grandkids.  We played board games, sang songs and just told stories. But in the back of my mind I couldn't help but wonder if there was more I could do to be better prepared going forward? 


One of the most amazing things I witnessed during this power outage was the fresh faces of teenagers, as they figured out how to spend their time without their cell phones? Seeing groups of teens walk the streets, sit outside in groups, and play board games gave me a lot of hope for the next generation, and I'll bet they'll have a story to tell when they are adults? I'll bet there was more than one teen happy that their parents had those board games, or a stack of cards in the drawer? 

What do you do to prepare yourself? Do you have any kind of emergency plan? Do you know how to make do, or do without? How do you store important documents? Do you keep emergency medicine on-hand? Is there emergency rations of food in your pantry? Do you have a plan?
Giving "food for thought" is like planting a harvest for tomorrow.
In Christ,

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Singing the Tomato Blues...


     When I was about 10, my parents divorced. My Mother moved out and I stayed at home with my Dad, visiting Mom at her apartment on the weekends. Not a very common arrangement for the 1970's...  My mother was a nurse at the county hospital's emergency room, a bit of a feminist, and very handy with a gun. She was a bit ahead of her time. She was a good seamstress, and creative. But not a huge gardener in this stage of life.

     But we never gardened until my Dad remarried. My stepmom was, whether she likes to admit it or not; "from good country stock". Her Mother became my Grandmother and took me in like I had always been there. I had new little brother to boot and scores of cousins. My stepmom brought with her, into this new relationship a myriad of skills that I had never learned, one being cleaning, but that's another post. I suppose I should tell you her name; it's Lawanna. And Lawanna was a force to be reckoned with. When she moved in, my world changed forever, and I have to say; for the better. No kid wants their parents to divorce of course, but I suppose I'm an optimist? We had our struggles and sometimes still do, but what she taught me I'm eternally grateful for. She taught me to work.  

     Of course at 12, I balked. I bawled, I threw every fit I could imagine, but nothing seemed to work. Lawanna persevered. She got me out of bed, dressed me in my grubbiest clothes (because they are just going to get grubbier,) and set me to work doing the hardest thing I had every heard of a kid doing: working a garden. I couldn't see the point in it? We turned the Saint Augustine grass over without the aid of a tiller. We combed the grass out and picked rocks for weeks. My new little brother "Clark" was not an exception to work, just because he was 5 years younger. We both moaned and complained but it did us no good. However Lawanna had mercy in her- she would stop us in the heat of the day, bring us in the shade for Kool-Aid and then let us run through the water sprinkler. Then back to work.

    When the last rock had been pulled out and the rows were made nice and neat, Lawanna and Daddy planted the little plants they'd made from seed in the early, cold, spring. I thought the deal was done and I was free from my labor camp experience? No, I just had a reprieve. Soon I was *weeding* with a hoe before I could go out and play. The plants grew and before long we brought in bushels of green tomatoes. They lined the kitchen counters and we ate fried green tomatoes while we waited for the green to turn pink, then orange, then red.

Suddenly- there were more red tomatoes than we could possibly eat! We canned a bunch, but Lawanna was, if nothing else; enterprising. She sacked up the tomatoes, loaded my little red wagon full and sent me and Clark knocking door to door in our neighborhood selling "garden fresh tomatoes". At first I was shy and overwhelmed with the thought of talking to strangers. But Lawanna struck a deal with me: For every bag we sell for .50 cents, Clark and I get to keep HALF! Ok, keep in mind this is 1974. I got .25 cents allowance weekly which was immediately wasted on penny-candy at the 7-11 up the street. Did I mention we lived in the city and no one had gardens in the city in 1974??? We had a HOT commodity and it took off like gangbusters. Overnight, Lawanna got my respect as me and Clark looked forward to selling another wagon load of tomatoes and seeing what we could buy? Lawanna's a genius!!!

    My new found fortune began paying off. Clark was a saver, and I was a spender. Like every young girl, I wanted cosmetic items, a manicure set, and Breck Shampoo. I believe I sent off for *Sea Monkeys* from the back of Tiger Beat Magazine, and was, like every pre-teen I knew, sorely disappointed? Never saw anything other than something greenish growing in that fishbowl. Nothing like the sales ad suggested, not even remotely close. But apparently, this is part of the nostalgia of the 70's, so I guess not all is lost? I just thought I'd have a *pet*?? Sea Monkeys are something that every kid in my era was fascinated with. After all, we had one-line rotary phones, and no internet. We had paper books and magazines with uber-cool ads that never live up to their promises. Such was the 70's... Oh well, live and learn. I bought yarn to crotchet with, and fabric to make pillows for my bed, and my first tube of "Charlie" colonge, that smelled more like turpentine, than perfume. I got a Madame Alexander Doll from Cox's, some lures for my rod and reel, and my stash of penny-candy grew to be the envy of every 7-th grader in my school! Remember; a quarter bought you 24 pieces of wrapped candy. I'm sure I was on a year long sugar high... Daddy, if your reading this- that may explain a lot?

   But the best memories are of just walking through our neighborhood, in the hot July heat, and trying to give each neighbor that doe-eyed innocent look that will twist their heart into a knot and make them buy a bag of tomatoes. I haven't lost that touch, by the way. What's funny to me all these years later is; I suppose my doe-eyed look didn't carry as much weight as I thought? Now at 50, I realize how hard it is to grow your own good tomatoes, and how much better they taste than those bought in a store. The tomatoes were selling themselves, but God Bless Lawanna, she taught us a lesson in going out there and getting the job done! It only helped my self esteem to think *I* was doing any selling? It helped me develop a work ethic that I'm proud of. And it helped me realize I can make do or do without?

   As I weed my garden and glance around at my counter full of tomatoes forty years later... I wonder;.. how much would a bag go for today? It's a thought, and don't think I wouldn't do it again just for grins? Thanks Lawanna. You planted a lot in me, and I'm better person for it.

In picture above: Kelly holding *Wrinkles*, Clark, (Rest In Peace little brother) Daddy, and Lawanna. Circa 1974.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hand-Tooled Rustic Rawhide (Reflections on *50*)

  Yesterday, while sitting with good friends on a sunny front porch, I realized how far I've come on my journey. I looked across her prairie pasture and I could see clear to Waco. Seeing that distance, and how easy it was on my eyes, It hit me like a ton of lead- just how far I've come in my nearly 50 years... in my journey...on the road to wherever I'm going, looking back at where I've been.

  While sitting outside soaking up the warmth, a cold-front snuck up on us from behind and the temperature dropped. Clouds rolled in. The sky changed texture, and color. There were thunderheads behind little puffy cotton-boll-polka-dots in the sky. It was a myriad. Like God decided to break out his paintbrush just for us. It made me realize that life is so good at whatever phase and stage we are in. Those phases, like the clouds, change without warning to bring on something different, something drastic, or sometimes nothing but calm.

   Life is unpredictable, and I'm glad. Unpredictibility makes you light on your feet. You learn to become flexible and roll with the changes. You stop reacting and learn to adapt to the present and accept the past. Although I'm not as wild or stubborn as I used to be, I consider those attributes as part of the backdrop of who I am, and still reserve a little of that wild streak for a rainy day. It all helped to mold me. Maybe God used it despite me and my youthful arrogance?? In the end, I am pliable and functional just the way I am. Best of all; I am gratefully aware that my past is part of the road to here.

  Processing all this *past*...I feel a little older, but not worn out. Almost like I live inside a well worn pair of old boots. They are comfortable, and suitable for my every need. The dings and scars of self-induced drama, and defensive wounds have done nothing but add character and make the leather tougher, yet softer to the touch. Perhaps the sole (or soul) will need reattaching over time, but they are built for the long haul, the briar's, & the bull-nettle. At first glance you'd think all this abrasiveness would take away from the beauty of the hand-tooling? But nah, it adds to it. I guess I don't just wear the boots. I have become the boots? And thankfully, the boots fit fine.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Same Problem, Different Day - Historical Mennonites

I'm posting an excerpt from "Readings From Mennonite Writings, New & Old" by J. Craig Haas.
  I find it kind of interesting that this was considered an OLD problem in 1827??

Johannes Rissler, 1827

When a church has simply presumptuous piety, which is always paired with Pharisaical pride, it is likewise in its nature to fear the pure gospel and therefore resist and oppose it, especially when foreign (i.e., non-Mennonite) evangelists unite with it.  The evidence for this is clear from the present back to Christ.
It is therefore also clear that the reasons given were only a pretext and that it was really not the men but the gospel that was feared. One is full of mistrust, as if the Holy Scripture had not given us plain standards for proving the spirits.
And even though he may not protest against all good proposals, neither does he promote them; and even if one merely passes his mistrust on to his neighbor he is nonetheless causing harm. Another feels his pride is injured because he is supposed to listen to outside counselors and this is sufficient reason for turning his back to them. A third party is so out of sorts that he closes his heart and ears to the truth and actually works against things that are good: he is in a serious danger that the truth can become for him an "aroma of death" (2 Corinthians 2:16)
In short,  I must confess that in my eyes our church, in its CRITICISM OF IT'S OUTSIDE BRETHREN, has revealed itself as weakest of all.
Risser-1827 3, 4, translated by Eli H. Bender


How is it that over 150 years ago, some Mennonites (or fill in your denomination of choice) were concerned about division between THE BODY OF CHRIST??? Because it's always been there and always will be. I despise hearing people comment on other denominations as if they, (being the members, the body of Christ) are somehow disenfranchised from us, those who think they know better? I cringe every time I hear an anti-Catholic remark, or something about the Episcopals and how liberal they all are. The energy it takes to spout off about human frailty, verses keeping our mouths shut is enormous, I admit. I know the temptation of getting a *dig* in, because I'm human. But every single day we are becoming more mature spiritually. When do we become accountable? When do we take responsibility for our negative, hurtful, behavior that does nothing to edify (build) the body of Christ, and has great impact on destroying it?

Another issue is a growing trend of *un-churching*, and casting religion aside to do our own thing. That's great if doing your own thing happens to be exactly what the Bible says to do. More often than not, it's somehow tied to loving our neighbor as ourself. The bible doesn't specify WHO our neighbor is, or which neighbor to love. It's blanketed. It's everyone. It's the church down the street that you can't stand, and the neighbor who won't shut up about their fellowship and how great it is. It's the crabby old lady at the grocery store, it's the drunk on the street. And yes, it's the other denominations besides your own. If you want to throw religion aside, read your bible first... here, let me help:  *wink*

Romans 13:8-10     

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Matthew 22:36-40     

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

 This is a very modern problem with a very historical pattern. We want to pick and choose and noone wants to be told what to do... by anyone. We can of course excercise common sense when it comes to who and what we are listening to. Can I get an amen? You see, the enemy comes with every intention of tearing the church apart, and his best stradegy is from within the core... the people... the brothers and sisters who serve the same God under different peripheral pretenses, yet still have the same focus: Jesus, our redeemer. He wants to destroy us by getting at the very heart of the body. Satan doesn't play nice or even play fair. We need to stand united with those who truly serve Christ.

Yet, we as humans, (myself included) have this inclination to legitimize everything we do. We will point the finger at another denomination, or person, or group, and not see our own short comings. (thus the plank in our eye!) We are ONE body. ONE. The denominational label will not exhist in heaven. It is only here on earth to define little peripheral details. Chew on that for a while or let me know if I'm out of line? But I believe there is both redeemed  and decieved people in every denomination. Of course some of the teaching is historically irrelivant. Of course some of the practices need re-thinking. But ya know being Mennonite (or Catholic, or Methodist, or Penticostal) doesn't make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car!!!

Knowing JESUS intimately, knowing his sacrifice, knowing your unworthiness without his blood shed for your sin... and refusing His gift of eternal life when we truly repent of our sin... that's what makes you a redeemed follower of Christ.

Romans 10:9-11 If you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with your heart you believe and are put right with God, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.

 The bible says to not forsake the assembling of ourselves as a body... so be cautious that as your sorting through the man-made stuff you don't forget to commune with each other. That's what feeds our souls and keeps us strong in The Lord. That's what gives us opportunity to see others needs and reach out. That's when the body of Christ comes together and operates as one.

 Hebrews 10:25     
"Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."

   The Bible says there WILL be wolves in sheep's clothing. And we can expect it. But it won't be in the form of everyone EXCEPT the church your in. Mennonite or otherwise. So go forward and be kind and love thy neighbor, whoever they are, even those who you'd rather not... go ahead- love and accept them, even if their way isn't your way. 

  Serve God with all your heart, and with all the humility you can muster to as many as you can fit inside that God-Shaped heart He gave you.


Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Headcovering- Same God, Different Cultures

What do you see in the first photo? I see a woman with a mission to give women a purpose...
 Her name is Juanita Wesley and she is preserving her Mother's memory by wearing hats not only as a biblical headcovering, but she collects hats because her mother (and her culture) teach her that this is part of the different roles we play each day. She's created a ministry called "Women of Many Hats"and this ministry is designed to serve others. They serve the needy, and serve each other as women. I've included a link to the story. The video is great. But- would you agree or disagree that this honors God? Why?

Secondly, we have a woman in a third world country. The women all wear very colorful towels as headcoverings. The idea of vividness makes some people cringe. But to the people who's culture have taught them to serve, they are loving signs of obediance to a very vibrant God. Are they wrong? Are they too loud? Too proud?

Lastly, I've included what anyone outside an Anabaptist culture would consider a very modest prayer cap (or kapp).  It's created by *Sowers Of Hope* who offer a very wide variety of head coverings. They are beautiful, delicate and feminine, but they would not fly in a plain church. Why do you think that is? I can tell you why: Because it is embellished by an artisian who see's creativity as a way to honor God. But many in a plain culture would consider this *proud*.

Nothing is mentioned biblically about Christians dressing uniformly. Plain dress is subjective to the culture and times. Amish dress alone is radically different from one century to the next. Just look how many inches the skirt alone has risen since the 1900's? What is considered modest by one culture may border on obscene by another. Let's compare The Victorians who could not even show the the turn of an ankle to just 20 years later when hemlines started rising. Big shift in a few years! Now, modern day Anabaptists accept *tea-length* (as it is known in the south, or mid-to-low calf) as proper and modest. I'm not knocking plain dress- I'm supporting it if that's where The Holy Spirit has placed you. I'm always in favor of modest dress and the headcovering.What I'm suggesting is that we all support each other regardless and stop thinking our way is the only way to do the right thing. After all, God created diversity when He made the individual tribes? He intended for us all to be unique.

Matthew 7:3 "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?

From my perspective: As I look among the **family of God**, which WILL include other denominations, I see that one sister may wear a beret, a wide brimmed hat with feathers, or a simple newsboy cap, while another may wear a simple veil made from a scrap of fabric. It's all the same to God.

Covering for prayer was the first step in leading an actively obediant life for me as a Christian. It humbles me, it reminds me of spiritual order, and it blesses me to be able to do just one right thing for the right reason that pleases God. There is so much that I do not do right... I am thrilled that I am simply *able*. But I feel like ANY covering worn in obediance should be *enough*. Their reasons are thier own and not subject to my condemnation.

Romans 14:22 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves.

I'm not trying to give anyone a hard time. I'm just looking at the world from the outside-in. I see a lot of comments and discussion on facebook, and so-called Christian discussion lists that are not edifying. People making judgement calls on other Christians who serve the same God, but from a different angle. Why would we condemn anyone of a different culture? Why not appreciate them? Probably because we have been raised, or trained to believe that our way is somehow the best way. Common sense should tell you to look at creation, look at the animals such as zebra's and giraffes....birds such as a cardinal, or a Macaw, and realize we serve the original artist! 

Going forward; when you see another woman from another culture, or simply another denomination who is doing what she's called to do, why not take a moment to thank God for His very colorful array? God made us all to be unique and individual. Why would we think we need to be identical and uniform? Let not the enemy divide us, allow the spirit to bind us.

Romans 2:1 You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.

That's the bible saying what I always tell my children: Don't point a finger, lest you have 3 more pointing back at you. Let's be careful that in Christ, we are not dissaproving of those who are not identical to us, but are faithfully serving as they know how. Let's instead say: "YOU GO SISTER!" for she is surely serving a living God from the unique place that He has placed her.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dog's 'N Babies

My little dog Minnie Lou is just smitten with Silas, my 4 month old grandson. She is wildly protective of him, and won't leave his side. Silas is sometimes interested in Minnie Lou, and sometimes not. He usually likes to pull her ears and smack at her. No matter what he does, she is still there, by his side. She seems unaffected by his tugging. She is not going anywhere because, as dog are by nature, she is fiercely loyal. What a friend Silas will have in that little white dog.

            I am blessed beyond measure to be able to sit with Silas and watch him do what babies do on any given Saturday afternoon. Sometimes he's just napping, and making funny faces, he occasionally fusses, only because he can't speak English yet, but mostly, he just sits in my lap and wonders about everything, including Minnie Lou who begs his attention. 

   I imagined being a Grandma since I was just a wee girl when I used to play house and instead of being a wife/mother, I'd often imagine I was a Grandma with glasses and an apron. Mission accomplished- I'm there! Well, this beats anything I could have conjured up playing house. It's wonderful and rewarding to see my grandson do just about anything from merely breathing to laughing out loud. 

Minnie is just waiting for Silas to come and play with her, and someday soon he will. But for now, he's just sitting pretty in my lap watching Minnie beg for treats, or chase a toy on the floor. She's patient. Maybe dogs just instinctively know that babies are babies until the time they are ripe enough to be toddlers and play? Minnie seems to know he's tiny and helpless and if someone rings the doorbell, all 8 lbs of her turn into a vile, ankle-biting machine, barking and jumping to make herself seem ferocious to protect little Silas. It's fairly comical to witness but it's the truth. She puts on quite a show all because she knows somehow, somewhere in here little doggy self that he is innocent, and belongs, and apparently, she believes it's her job. Far be it from me to interfere. But I know she's just waiting for the day Silas will play catch, or scratch her ears. It wouldn't surprise me if she wound up being mostly his dog and not mine. And I wouldn't mind a bit.

    This precious baby time is fleeting and it's natural, I suppose? I want Silas to walk and run and play chase little Minnie Lou. I want him to do things on his own, without any one's assistance. But I also want him to just stay tiny and need our laps for just a little while longer. 

  I guess, just like dogs who are loyal, God made parents who are anxious to see their child grow. He also made Grandma's who are reflective and appreciative, so that this time can be savored. It's a grand privilege to behold a growing child at any age, but babies are especially sweet because they are only babies for just a little while.

Silas, take your time.

Minnie Lou, you'll just have to wait a while.