Monday, June 21, 2010

The Net

We are back at our cabin in Colorado where time slows down and I process things differently than in our fast-paced Kansas world. So here are thoughts and musings from yesterday.

One small creature. One big lesson.

Tidbit alerted us to a small chipmunk who had trapped himself in our fishing net. While we were gone to town, he had apparently managed to tangle himself in the net under our deck. He had dragged it quite a distance for such a little guy. He had been so frantic that the cords were tightly would around his neck. It's a wonder he hadn't already lost the battle. But he is a little fighter. He had chewed several holes in the net, trying to free himself.

I untwisted the net...but the cords were still tight around his neck. He struggled and tried to run away, dragging the net with him. I wish I had gotten a picture of him, but I was more interested in setting him free. I went and got the scissors and carefully snipped the cords from around his neck.
Now....I thought he would stop and look up at me adoringly...thanking me for saving his life. Nope. He was off like a flash, zipping back under the deck without a backward glance.
As I pondered over this later, I thought about just how much like that little chipmunk I am. In my world a lot of things entice me. Sometimes I get caught up, ensnared, just like that little guy. The cords of sin get wrapped around my neck. I struggle against them. I valiantly try to free myself. I even chew at the cords. I drag it around, and the cords wrap more tightly around my neck. I can scarcely breathe.
It is Jesus who carefully, lovingly snips the cord around my neck. And off I go, usually without a backward glance. But I'm saying "Thank you. Thank you, Jesus, for saving my life, my soul."
And while it didn't cost me a thing to set that little guy free, it cost Jesus His very life. His life for mine. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Photo Collage

This is a photo collage that I put together in the last two days. I copied the photo from a friend in Colorado. The little boy pictured is her dad. I was captivated by the photo and knew immediately that I wanted to do something with it. A year later, I finally figured it out. I first printed a copy of the photo which was very light. Then I printed a transparency of the same photo.

Using watercolor pencils, I colored in the copy and used a blender pen to smooth the color. I layered the transparency over the colored in copy and was really pleased with the depth this process brought to the photo.

I framed the layered photo with paper and then pieces of wood that I had inked with green ink. My friends dad was a weatherman, so I printed the weathervane on a piece of river birch bark. I added pine needles and feathers tied with the "Remember" ribbon. A glasine envelope was added at the bottom with various ephemera on which my friend can write memories of her dad.

In the lower left corner is a transparency with "time" on it, an old clock, and the definition of time. Old trading stamps and the 1931 (date of the picture) were added. I used beads strung on a pine needle for her dad's name. A strip of wood was added top and bottom for stability. The branch at the top was collected on the road near our place (and also my friend's place) in Colorado. A small piece of quartz, a key charm and a clock charm finish out the piece on the bottom.

Life Unscripted

Here is a little journal that I made a few months ago.
I started with simple chipboard pages that already had the scalloped edge. I painted them with Lumiere paints and then stamped and embellished them.
I also used a white pen to add doodles and lines for journaling.
Most of the stamps are Tim Holtz stamps. "Little Ledger Girl" is by Queen's Dresser Drawers.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Iced....and Forgiven

You never know what Kansas weather will do....70 degrees one day and the next day....wham!!

This is a picture of our River Birch tree taken from our basement window after the blizzard departed. It left behind ice and snow and lots of difficulties for many people in Kansas.

This morning at church I was asked to be the computer coordinator--in the absence of the assigned person who apparently was still snowed in. Now this is a job I do on a regular basis. I enjoy it...and I'm USUALLY pretty good at it. In fact, I get rather irritated with other people who don't do a good job of advancing the songs quickly enough so you don't know what the next line is. However....

This morning...the whole program seemed sluggish....but I did just fine until after the sermon....but then, no matter what I tried--double clicking, hitting the space bar (overandover), double clicking on every conceiveable place--it just sat there....and the crowd turned around....and the song leader waited...and finally the preacher rushed down the aisle to assist. Well, about that came unstuck....and whipped through about the next 100 slides....ok....the next 5. So then I had to back it up. And by then....I, who am so proud at how well I generally do this job, am so flustered and mad at myself for not getting it right--that I promptly mess up the next TWO songs as well. ARGHHHHH!

And then a small still voice said....forgiven.....and I managed to calm down and do it right again.

And I thought about the ice on that River Birch tree. How the weight of it bowed the branches down to the ground. And how the wind whipped it and some of the branches broke. And I know....when we beat ourselves up for something (big or little) we are frozen. And then we can't even do what we well know how to do. And not only that, beating ourselves up can affect others (like not knowing what line comes next). But if we listen...."forgiven"...and then continue on....we are like the tree set free from its icy prison--free to do what it best knows how to do...stand tall and erect and sway gently in the wind.

"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. --Phil. 3:12-14

Same tree, taken from the same window...this afternoon after the ice melted off of it.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Where the Deer and the Antelope Play

We definitely live in Kansas.....where it has been in the 70's for the last week...but we're expecting blizzard conditions by day after tomorrow.

....where they burn the pastures.....and often at night...because the wind finally dies down.

I was thinking about that tonight as I was driving to Bible class. Why do we burn? To get rid of all the dead grass...and more importantly the weeds. Sometimes the fires get out of control...and they burn up more than they were intended to. But I drove past one of those areas where a fire had gotten out of hand...and you know....that is the greenest area of any around. And isn't that how God works in our lives...He sometimes uses "fire" to burn out the bad and make way for the good green pastures in our lives.

He is God...He is good....all the time.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The (Thankful) View from Here

I am thankful God delights in expectancy and not in fulfilled expectations.

I am grateful that truth of His love is so much greater than the lies of the Deceiver.

I am overwhelmed, awed, and amazed that His Spirit is willing to dwell in me.

I am thankful that he never, ever, ever gives up on me.

I am thankful that I have experienced His love through other my mother.

I'm thankful that there is still beauty to be found in this ole' world (I took all the flower pictures in my gardens this morning).

I'm grateful for things that make me 7 year old girls who asked their grandmother, "Am I a 'young adult'?"

I'm grateful for little girlies who like cold icy-pops on a hot summer afternoo (she really was eating one!).

I'm grateful for one last summer with the pool.

I'm thankful that I'm not a military wife who has to move many, many times....and thankful to those who are and are willing to do that.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

So....There you go!

In just 2 short weeks and 3 showings this is the sign that now sits in front of our house!! All that remains is the inspection. I'm praying that it goes well--I've never really had to deal with that part of selling a house before. So, as I said, I'm praying the inspector doesn't find anything major that would be a deal-breaker.

The people that are buying our house made us a good offer and we countered and met them in the middle. We were delighted with how that turned out. In addition--and this is the really great and amazing part--they agreed to close on July 30, but not take possession until August 31. That is nearly unheard of in the real estate world. I'm sure when they looked at our house, they said to themselves, "Wow, these people have A LOT of STUFF!" A small airport is wanting to buy their property and apparently they have given them adequate time to get out of their house. God is truly amazing in how He works things out!!

Meanwhile....I am enjoying the POOL!! :)

A friend from my hometown is coming tomorrow with 3 of her grandchildren. My daughter and her 2 wonderful girlies will join us, and we'll all have a great time in the pool until the "inspector" comes. Hopefully, then, we will be off to see Kung Fu Panda, or as Ellie says, "Whoo Haa Panda". What a great fun movie!!! Since it is supposed to be really hot here tomorrow, that will be a great thing to do while we're out of the house for "Mr. Inspector", "Clueso" I presume!! Ha!

So...the great PACKING has begun in earnest. I hauled 7 boxes of books to the local Used Book Store, 4 boxes of books to our church library, hauled 4 huge boxes of magazines to the recycling center and have already managed to fill our dumpster--and it won't be emptied until Wednesday. I have 2 rooms (albeit small rooms) almost totally packed. Not too bad considering we just signed the contracts last Wednesday. But believe me...there's still PLENTY to do. So if any of you are bored with your summer activities....feel free to come lend a hand!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Pool Lessons

First, some background information.

*We weren't going to open the pool this year.

*Therefore we didn't cover it as well through winter.

*We didn't open it as early as usual.

*We are selling the house.

*The realtor said "Open the Pool!!"

*Because of first 3 points, the pool was dark brown in color and full of yucky, slimy leaves and algae.

*I should have taken a "Before" picture.

*Use your imagination--think coffee with floaties!

*Yesterday at 2 pm--the pool guy arrives.

*Dumps in about 20 LARGE containers of liquid chemicals.

Now for the lessons:

Now I have a better understanding about "walk by faith and not by sight". I had to vacuum that dark brown pool. The first step was to use the leaf sucker-upper. This device attaches to the hose and you then guide it over the biggest piles (which you can't see) in the bottom of the pool. The bottom was not in sight at all. I could see darker areas. I hauled out a lot of leaves. Then I vacuumed. I still could not see the bottom--in fact I had stirred up enough stuff that it was now even more murky! I just followed my usual pattern of vacuuming. It took longer than usual, but it was beginning to clear.

  • Lesson # 1 Work on the biggest areas of sin in your life first. They are what make your life so dark and ugly. Getting rid of them may seem to make life even more murky for a while. Once they are out of the way, you can begin to work on other areas. Even though it takes longer, as long as you are following the pattern God has given us for living--life does begin to take on a clearer look.
  • Lesson # 2 My life, without Jesus, is like that dark ugly pool with floaties. Jesus' blood is the "chlorine" that works to take out all the darkness and leaves us crystal clear.
  • Lesson # 3 Even with all the "chlorine", if I hadn't vacuumed, the pool would still be dark and ugly. God tells us to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". We must be willing to vacuum all the darkness out of our lives so that the "chlorine" of his blood can make us crystal clear. Without His blood, all the vacuuming in the world would still leave us dark and ugly.
  • Lesson # 4 We don't have to wonder if the chlorine (His blood) is working. Less that 15 hours later, I took the "AFTER" picture posted here. His blood transforms us and makes us into a new creature--and anyone who looks at us can see the difference.
  • Lesson # 5 It takes constant care to keep our souls clean. The pool guy comes once a week--we take the Lord's supper once a week--and are reminded of what His blood does for our lives. But should we quit remembering, quit vacuuming out the bad, our lives will once again turn brown with floaties. It is a constant process.
  • Lesson # 6 We leave the pool pump on 24 hours a day to filter the pool. Everything we think and do should be filtered through Him. Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable...think about [and do] such things.

Pretty good lessons from a dirtly 'ole pool.