April 28, 2009
April 27, 2009
Snow and swine flu ...
I just needed to whine ... Thanks.
I pick up Monte tonight at the airport. Then I think Spring and sunshine and 70 degree days return!
April 26, 2009
April 24, 2009
April 22, 2009
April 21, 2009
I no longer have kids around to weave me potholders (almost 20 year old Dawson would if I asked him). My favorite over the years are these ones. I could go out and just buy some, but ... So after getting sick of the last dirty orange ones (Dawson one year wove a ton, using up my stash of loops, cuz he wanted to make a rug of them ... so I found it in the shed and have been using the usable ones ... but now they're all gone). I'm weaving my own. It's been fun.
Harrisville Designs has potholder kits and the best cotton loops. Don't buy the kits with nylon loops - useless for hot things, good grief! Harrisville also has the best colored wool for the felting I do.
I've been asked, so I'll post it here: My main source for felting wool and kits is from Halcyon Yarn. Halcyon sells some of the Harrisville wool and kits, like the potholders, too.
April 19, 2009
The Lord's team was at bat, the score was tied zero to zero, and it was the bottom of the 9th inning with two outs. They continued to watch as a batter stepped up to the plate named 'Love.'
Love swung at the first pitch and hit a single, because "Love never fails."
The next batter was named Faith, who also got a single because Faith works with Love.
The next batter up was named Godly Wisdom. Satan wound up and threw the first pitch. Godly Wisdom looked it over and let it pass: Ball one. Three more pitches and Godly Wisdom walked because he never swings at what Satan throws.
The bases were now loaded. The Lord then turned to Freddy and told him He was now going to bring in His star player. Up to the plate stepped Grace. Freddy said, "He sure doesn't look like much!"
Satan's whole team relaxed when they saw Grace. Thinking he had won the game, Satan wound up and fired his first pitch. To the shock of everyone, Grace hit the ball harder than anyone had ever seen! But Satan was not worried; his center fielder let very few get by.
He went up for the ball, but it went right through his glove, hit him on the head and sent him crashin on the ground; the roaring crowds went wild as the ball continued over the fence . . . for a home run!
The Lord's team won!
The Lord then asked Freddy if he knew why Love, Faith and Godly Wisdom could get on base but couldn't win the game. Freddy answered that he didn't know why.
The Lord explained, "If your love, faith and wisdom had won the game, you would think you had done it by yourself. Love, Faith and Wisdom will get you on base but only My Grace can get you Home: 'For by Grace you are saved, it is a gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast."
Psalm 84:11, "For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord will give grace and glory; no good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly."
"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
April 18, 2009
April 17, 2009
So glad Monte rescheduled flying out Monday instead of tomorrow morning. So glad we've got a wood cookstove: to curl up by for warmth and atmosphere, to cook on if need be, melt snow if need be ... So glad Dawson and Monte sawed and chopped more wood a few weeks ago.
Dawson stayed in Denver last night, just in case ... but school canceled. I think the lilacs and crabapples, even tho no leaves yet but starting to bud out, might be permanently bent! I'm going to have to fill the bird feeders soon with the abundance of birds. Sure would be cool to capture a picture of tons of birds nestled in the midst of trees - isn't that where they go in weather like this? Robins can't get their worms ... But it's supposed to be 70 come Tuesday so this will melt fast!
Heather's Bill is coming home for two weeks. He may be there now. As of last night, she didn't know when. They are not to say anything until they're out of Iraq and on their way home. So she's excited and been getting ready. They will probably fly to California to visit Bill's dad and brother and let them meet little Will. But then, Bill himself is meeting his son, little Will, too for the first time!
April 16, 2009
Monte showed me this (click) , since the above won't work. Amazing! Beautiful! Great message!
It's now Friday, almost noon, snowing hard (2ft?) and when I saw the above youTube link was disabled I did the above click link that does work. So now I've probably watched this 5 times and I tear up with joy. I had heard about it on the radio and so glad Monte found it so we could actually see and hear.
I'm remembering my friend Ellen saying, "We don't dream big enough!" It'll be fun hearing about where this ladies dreams will now fly!
- NT Wright, Surprised by Hope (and great book!)
So how can we learn to live as wide-awake people, as Easter people? ... In particular if Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up ... If Calvary means putting to death things in your life that need killing off if you are to flourish as a Christian and as a truly human being, then Easter should mean planting, watering, and training up things in your life (personal and corporate) that ought to be blossoming, filling the garden with color and perfume and in due course bearing fruit”
“Jesus is risen, therefore God’s new world has begun. Jesus is risen, therefore Israel and the world have been redeemed. Jesus is risen, therefore his followers have a new job to do. And what is that new job? To bring the life of heaven to birth in actual, physical earthly reality.”
I really like NT Wright's books. If you want to hear him, click here. What do you think?
I'm smiling having watched this. What would be your response in this setting?
I'm remembering my mom and me watching "The Sound of Music" together when it first came out. Since as a young bride she joined her husband in Austria with war clean up, I was born there. During the movie, she'd say, "You were there. You were there." I'd like to go there - maybe this summer ... and see 1st-hand for myself!
Thanks for sending me this Beth. What art are you working on these days? Wish we could get together sometime, but now you're farther away (and busy with Grandbabies!).
April 14, 2009
I have an RSS feed reader on my computer and there's news and blogs I subscribe to (it's all free). Daily news and writings come thru. It's an easy way to cruise thru news, often just reading the titles or summaries is all that's needed when you've been following the news. And when someone writes, it shows up. I can click on things I want to read in it's entirety. BUT, there are some blogs I don't read in this format because the 'atmosphere' of the blog or it's artisticness ... doesn't come thru the reader (unless I need a new reader).
Christine Sine's site is one I regularly open to read in its entirety. Another blog I've followed for several years is the Jesus Creed.
As Christine goes on to ask about Eastertide, "So what is going to flourish in your life this season? How do you expect to encounter the risen Christ?" And she lists some possibilities to consider. As I just posted the other day in Counting Omer, our linear calendar days can have EXTRAordinary meaning when we're connected to God's larger story, living in anticipation of seeing God's winks and heart, that so often grace our days ... but do we notice?!
April 13, 2009
This picture was taken a year after these eggs had been boiled in onion skins. What I learned? 1) Surprised, having saved yellow onion skins for a long time turned these eggs a reddish brown color. 2) That hard boiled eggs sitting out longer than a year never smell or explode (as some of our raw Ukrainian died eggs have) and do seem to dry up inside. Conclusion? Maybe hard boiled eggs would be fine to use for Ukrainian dying. They just can't be eaten, so no egg salad from them (see post.)
Like with Christmas, we did a non-traditional meal, an Italian meal we'd not made before. I brought up my pasta roller I'd not used yet, and told everyone this would be a meal needing everyone's participation. So Sarah had bruchetta ready for us to start eating as we all made home-made ravioli. I had made three fillings: one spinach, another shrimp, and then a beef one. Friends of Trav & Sar's, Janna and Paul, contributed too. Janna brought a salad and Paul jumped in rolling the best thin dough for the ravioli!
We stand on resurrection ground. We are in the Season of Easter between now and Pentecost. We need more prayer, more knocking on God's door to see what he wants us to be doing, and more celebration of God's new creation!
This morning's reading brought me to the two guys walking the road from Jerusalem to Emmaus. This is another story in Scripture I love. I would so love to hear Jesus tell stories. They were trying to make sense of what just happened in Jerusalem. Jesus walked up asking, "What are you so intently discussing?" and walked and talked with them.
Everyone was so sad. All their hopes that Jesus was the one to redeem Israel were shattered. Jesus couldn't have been the one, because they killed him. The two on the road to Emmaus didn't recognize Jesus. While walking, he told them stories from Scripture. They invited him home with them to eat. The moment Jesus broke the bread, they recognized him, and then Jesus disappeared. He reappeared later to the gathered disciples and there again shared stories. Like the two said, I too would love to feel (and maybe I do), "Didn't our hearts burn within us as he talked, opening up Scriptures to us on the road?"!
Jews had three harvest festivals that they went to Jerusalem for (found in Leviticus 23, Deuteronomy 16, and more). The first two are known as First Fruit Festivals. Barley is the first cereal grain to be harvested and brought to the temple for blessing. The Sunday following Passover begins this First Fruit Festival period of counting seven-sevens between the barley and then the wheat harvest festival. This period of 49 days is called 'Counting the Omer', an 'in-between-time'.
I took a picture of a past year's Counting Omer chart I made. Most every Spring this rectangle of rectangles sits on our kitchen counter. Since I strive for more meaning to my ordinary linear calendar days, I like visuals or anything that reminds my heart and brings anticipation of God's presence. Gluing pieces of grain, or marking off the days, helps bring meaning - a God-consciousness activity - to these days. I try and create space in my days for God to show up - anticipating surprises from God - God 'winks'.
The Jewish Festival of First Fruits became our Easter. Jesus rose from the dead on the Jewish festival day that many Jews had come to Jerusalem for, to celebrate Passover and then their first harvest fruit of barley. I Corinthians 15:20 says, "But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruit of those who are asleep."
How exciting is that?! Do you think that was part of a plan? a cool detail in the large drama of life?! I started counting the 49 days today.
See the little red box in my picture? That's the 40th day in the counting - that's Ascension Day. You can talk about this event, but it's more fun to take a picnic lunch and blanket and eat somewhere outside and look up into the sky and talk about the story at the end of Luke and Acts 1 when Jesus left this earth. Imagine being a disciple - you've lived with Jesus for 3 years dreaming of setting up an earthly kingdom and then watch Jesus leave, "Hey, but wait a minute, where are you going? This is not what I had in mind!" The physical presence of Jesus left them. What now?
At the Ascension, Jesus told them to return to Jerusalem and wait the ten days until the next Jewish Harvest Festival. I'm sure the disciples were reliving all the memories and words of those three years with Jesus, wondering what the heck he really meant! while waiting for the next Shavuot Festival. Remembering and praying and waiting.
Every year at this time the Jews read the 10 Commandments, remembering Moses and the commandments inscribed by God on stone on Mt Sinai in the desert. But the Jews of Jesus' day missed the bigger picture, not recognizing Jesus as the prophesied Messiah, and what His Kingdom might look like. To Jeremiah (31:33) God said, "I will put My law within them, and on their heart I will write it" who's message carried further in II Corinthians 3:3 says, "You are a letter of Christ written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone, but on tablets of human hearts."
Jesus died and then resurrected on Easter becoming the first fruit at the early first fruit festival. In our Christian year, 50 days later, Shavuot, the other first fruit festival, became Pentecost, and as Christians we have the Holy Spirit living within us - we are first fruits too. So from the letter of the law, to the Spirit; from stone to human hearts.
I hang seven descending doves over our kitchen table for Pentecost as another visual reminder for my heart. Pentecost is the birthday of the Church. Does your church celebrate Pentecost? I've never been in a church that celebrated it, till last year - and they asked me to help "preach" from my knowledge and passion. We remember God the Father and Son in the Incarnation and Death and Resurrection, but do we celebrate the Holy Spirit and what it all means to our Christianity? A remembrance of letters in stone to the Spirit in our hearts; remembering that the letter of the law brings death, but the Spirit brings life. Remembering the gifts and fruits of the Spirit.
It's now called "Eastertide", I see it as a Season of Redemption. On Passover, the Jews eat history, remembering freedom from slavery. But freedom for what? What is physical freedom without an identity of who you are? Mt Sinai with God and the 10 Commandments gave them a spiritual freedom, a knowing they were part of a larger story. But the 'story of redemption' is even larger for us who believe in the Incarnation, Resurrection, and Pentecost. There is a great drama that God asks us to be a part of.
God still takes on human flesh today, expanding the Incarnation to us followers of Jesus. The God above became the God alongside, and then the God within. Is this not Wild?!!!!!!!!!!!
- quoted by Elie Wiesel, survivor of WWII concentration camp and set free April 11 in 1945 as a teenager and went on to write many books and won the Nobel Peace Prize.
May we now move forward with resurrection power, living life full of beauty, faith and love.
April 10, 2009
April 9, 2009
The 2nd piece is a very early, 1150-1200 English fresco. As was traditional in early paintings, Judas is on the other side of the table. I find it amusing that so many Lord's Supper pictures have everyone on one side of the table as if they're posing for a photo. And, if you look thru the several hundred pieces done on this scene, so many have the Beloved John sleeping ... And why in the midst of this special feast would the disciples start arguing!
The third art is from 1542 by Italian Jacopo Bassano Ultcen. This is it restored. It was heavily painted over when the fashion did not like greens, pinks and oranges. And then the 4th piece, by Hans Holbein in 1525, has parts missing, the rest of the disciples, and has been restored too. There's been eras of history when iconoclasts rioted destroying many works of art. Jesus' head had been sawed out of this picture and then crudely glued back in. The next pieces: Le Dernier Repas, an African Mafa interpretation, a stained glass in NJ, and the washing of the feet, I don't know.
The disciples had no clue Jesus was going to die. Jesus shared the meal with them, with special twists that would tell his story more powerfully than any other way. Jesus must have played the role of the father in the typical seder, but as he did with everything, he made the Passover become personal. Jesus' new Passover speaks even more powerfully of God rescuing His people in a new and complete way.
The Passover meal became the Lord's Supper. The Passover Lamb becomes the Lamb of God. Instead of just remembering the slaughtered firstborn of Egypt - we remember that Abba Father slayed His firstborn. Instead of smeared blood protecting the firstborn - Abba protects those who drink from His firstborn's cup.
Jesus made himself the center of the Passover re-enactment. Jesus established the physical bread and wine so we will never forget his gracious act of love for us. It's a meal that speaks more volumes than any theory. We participate in his life (and death) for us. We physically remember. Jesus asks us to "taste, see, and know My presence".
April 7, 2009
This is Passion Week, Jesus is in Bethany/Jerusalem. Mary anointing Jesus' feet with costly perfume took place this week. This picture hangs in 'my office' and I gaze at it often as I sit in my favorite chair. It's a scene I often contemplate ...
"Unless a grain is buried, dead to the world, then it sprouts itself many times over ... If you let your life go, reckless in your love, you'll have life forever ..." And this is what Mary did. Judas thought it a reckless extravagance. Jesus said, "She has done a beautiful thing to me - preparing me for burial". I'm sure the fragrance filled the house, and I imagine the fragrance stayed with him through his trial and beating and death.
My contemplation? It is very easy for me to 'lose' myself in God ... but can I 'loose' myself, as did Mary?
April 6, 2009
I found a Palm Sunday tradition that I often do - making a sweet bread in the shape of a chicken with baby chicks under the mother hen, click here for the recipe. It comes from Jesus overlooking Jerusalem and weeping. Jesus wished he could "gather them under my wings like a mother hen gathers her chicks under her wings".
I've been sitting with scripture this morning connected with Palm Sunday and a Zechariah passage one of our pastors read at church yesterday. When you read the Triumphal Entry story of Jesus entering Jerusalem in Matthew, a piece from Zechariah 9 is quoted. This entrance was prophesied, but the Jews were not remembering the whole prophecy.
Wouldn't Jesus, if he were going to usurp the existing rule, and reinstate Israel's Monarchy, ride in on a stallion or in a chariot? This is the way a real king would want to enter! Jews have always wanted their own king, and that's their vision for the Messiah.
History books tell of many war horses entering Jerusalem, but none mention a donkey. Jeru-salem, "city of peace", has seen much war.
Zechariah says, "Your king is coming! a good king who makes all things right, a humble king riding a donkey ... I've had it with war ... no more war horses in Jerusalem ... He will offer peace, a peaceful rule worldwide ... And you, because of my blood covenant with you, I will set your prisoners free from their hopelessness."
When Jesus began his ministry he read from the scroll of Isaiah saying of Himself, "The Spirit of God is on me. He sent me to preach good news to the poor, heal the heartbroken, announce freedom to all captives, pardon all prisoners. God sent me to announce the year of His grace ..." The Year of Jubilee was to be celebrated, a Leviticus law, every 50 years. Jesus' kingdom is this Jubilee. As Zechariah 9 goes on to say, "From now on people are My swords."
What is our vision of a returning Jesus?
April 1, 2009
The Atheist's Holiday
In Florida, an atheist became incensed over the preparation of Easter and Passover holidays. He decided to contact his lawyer about the discrimination inflicted on atheists by the constant celebrations afforded to Christians and Jews with all their holidays while atheists had no Holiday to celebrate. The case was brought before a wise judge.
After listening to the long, passionate presentation by the lawyer, the Judge banged his gavel and declared, "Case dismissed!" The lawyer immediately stood and objected to the ruling and said; "Your honor, how can you possibly dismiss this case? The Christians have Christmas, Easter and many other observances. Jews have Passover, Yom Kippur and Hanukkah ... yet my client and all other atheists have no such holiday!"
The judge leaned forward in his chair and simply said; "Obviously your client is too confused to know about, or to celebrate the atheists' holiday!" The lawyer pompously said; "We're unaware of any such holiday for atheists. Just when might that holiday be, your honor?" The judge said; "Well it comes every year on exactly the same date---April 1st!"
"The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God.'" Psalm14:1, Psalm 53:1