Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Making a List...Checking it Like a Thousand Times...

And still nothing to check off. I can fix that. Revise the list, add: shower, eat breakfast, go get trash bin and drag it back up the driveway. Check, check, check. Now I'm on a roll.

The clean-out-the-barn project was a huge success, not a hundred percent complete, but still. Our artist friend who built a h-u-g-e sculpture in our barn a few years back stopped by to lend a hand, but we were nearly done for the day. He was awed by all the clean empty space. Not necessarily awed in a good way. His comment, "Looks great, but now it's too clean to get any work done in here." Different strokes. Here's some of the work Ron Bayuzick made in our barn. Ronnie's -- oh, I'm guessing, 9' by 15' -- sculpture titled Flotsam and Jetsam is on display at the Bay Front Convention Center in Erie. (Click on Ron's name to see some of his fabulous paintings!)
Wait, this post is about making lists and and getting things done. Instead I've searched and searched through old pictures and blog posts -- lost in nostalgia. Time continues to wait for nothing and no one, just keeps rolling on. And so shall I.
Post a blog -- check.
So, teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Avoidance, the Great Motivator

So everyone who knows me knows I want to be a writer. Or do I? I've heard that writers write. Not me, I think up ways to avoid writing. But man, can I ever get a lot of work done when I'm in serious avoidance mode. This month for instance...I've got a writing project going, I'm a little behind on it. But two rooms, two closets, and three cabinets are hoed out, cleaned, and organized. We're talking intense clutter busting.

This week I planned to complete another writing assignment, which with a bit of finagling, I could incorporate into the bigger writing project. Two birds and all that. But instead I started cleaning the barn. Yes, the barn. Not the kind of barn that animals live in, unless you count bats, pigeons, and more than a few rodents, but the kind of barn where you store junk, work on projects, and leave all manner of leftover mess from said projects. It's also the place you cram broken bicycles, spent appliances, old windows, and unused/unusable building materials until township cleanup day.

Next Saturday is township clean up day. This Saturday we've got a crew of family and friends coming to help toss, load, sweep, clean and organize. So you know what that means. I had to go make the place presentable, kind of like cleaning your house before the cleaning person arrives. I've got three stacks going out there in the old barn: burnable, recyclable, and genuine, dumpster worthy junk.

It is so very generous of our township to haul in a bunch of huge dumpsters on an annual basis. The dumpsters are kind of like coffins that take old, broken, dirty white elephants to their final resting place. I'm trying not to think about the carbon footprint. Or here's a thought, perhaps this is helping reduce our townships carbon footprint. We've sorted, now they'll sort further. Yes, yes, it's sounding much more responsible and stewardly now.

So, enough of this writing. It's served the purpose. I wrote something today -- keeping up the image. Now I've got work to do before the clean up crew comes tomorrow and sees what a slob I really am. It's all about image.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

All Frivolity Aside

Every time I sit down to the computer and pull up my blog, my heart sinks. The last post "Go Fly a Kite" with pictures of two absolutely carefree little girls and a couple of equally carefree (in the moment) adults, seems too happy in light of the terror attack in Boston.

None of my loved ones were hurt, my family and friends unscathed, our lives went on as usual, except for the black cloud -- being aware of other people's anguish. Some of my blogging friends posted heartfelt messages, calls to pray, reminders to be helpful, encouragement to be hopeful. I appreciated their words and am indeed holding on to hope. Hope that though there is evil in the world, there is much, much more good.

Acts of terror on a grand scale or small make even people of faith question their belief in a sovereign God who is only good all the time.  C. S. Lewis describes the fall of man in his book, The Problem of Pain, "...Christianity asserts that God is good; that He made all things good for the sake of their goodness; that one of the good things He made, namely the free will of rational creatures, by its very nature included the possibility of evil; and that creatures availing themselves of this possibility, have become evil."

Sometimes I would like to direct God, coach him if you will, on how to better run his universe and protect his people. But then I remember He is God, omnicient, omnipotent, omnipresent God. And I am not. I know nothing, can fix nothing, and I live in one little corner of the world. Still, I am called to do my part, if not for the victims of violence in Boston, then here. I can help by offering kindnesses and compassion, meeting needs, praying. I can do that.  I can do unto others as I would like them to do to me. I can love others, appreciate them, celebrate them, and enjoy them today, because I have this day. Tomorrow is not promised, but I have today to live, laugh, love...and to stop and smell the daffodils.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Go Fly a Kite


And when flying kites isn't fun anymore, you can make bubbles!


Lots of fun playing with our little neighbor girls! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Winter's on the Wing, Spring is born...and

David and Melanie will be here to see it!

I'm so excited about my boy Davey and and his Melanie coming home to Pennsylvania. When they
moved to Colorado, I was nothing but happy for their big adventure, thrilled to visit them and see the grand Rocky Mountains under an amazing blue sky, yet... nagging fear lingered. That, thanks to a friend who said, "Oh no, you don't want your kids to go to Colorado. They don't come back from there." Turns out we had mutual friends whose children did indeed go to Colorado and seem to have no intention of returning to PA.

Don't we all want our kids to follow their hearts and the call on their lives? Yes, of course, and I'd be happy for mine to be exactly where they felt they should be. If it happens to be somewhere nearby, as is the case... Yippee!

Melanie is here already, Dave will be on his way soon! David and his black lab, Parker, intend to leave cold snowy Denver behind and arrive early next week. Just in time, our Pennsylvania countryside is greening up, dotted with richly colored crocus and daffodils ready to pop. Winter's on the Wing... just in time to say welcome home!

Winter's on the wing,
Here's a fine spring morn'
Comin' clear through the night,
Come the day I say.
Winter's taken flight
Sweepin' dark cold air
Out to sea, Spring is born,
Comes the day say I,

And you'll be here to see it.
Stand and breathe it all the day.
Stoop, and feel it. Stop and hear it.
Spring, I say.

And now the sun is climbin' high,
Rising fast on fire,
Glaring down through the gloom,
Gone the gray, I say.
The sun it spells the doom
Of the winter's reign,
Ice and chill must retire
Comes the May say I,

And you'll be here to see it.
Stand and breathe it all the day.
Stoop, and feel it. Stop and hear it.
Spring, I say.

I say, be gone, ye howling gales,
Be off, ye frosty morns!
All ye solid streams begin to thaw.
Melt, ye waterfalls,
Part ye frozen winter walls.
See, see now it's starting.

And now the mist is liftin' high,
Leavin' bright blue air
Rollin' clean 'cross the moor
Comes the day I say.
The storm'll soon be by
Leaving clear blue sky,
Soon the sun will shine,
Comes the day, say I.

And you'll be here to see it.
Stand and breathe it all the day.
Stoop and feel it. Stop and hear it.
Spring, I say.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Seder Saturday, Resurrection Sunday

Tom and I spent Saturday with my sister Luann's family taking part in their Passover celebration. The eighteen of us, together around a table, included 2 holocaust survivors, 4 little children -- 15 Jewish people and 3 Christians. My brother-in-law, Jerry, made booklets, Passover Haggadah, which explained each tradition as we proceeded, making it easier for us gentiles to follow along. What a rich day of celebration this is for God's chosen people as they remember how the Lord led the Israelites out of bondage.

And this day shall become a memorial for you, and you shall observe it as a festival for the L-ORD, for your generations, as an eternal decree shall you observe it. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, but on the first day you shall remove the leaven from your homes...you shall guard the unleavened bread, because on this very day I will take you out of the land of Egypt; you shall observe this day for your generations as an eternal decree.
 Exodus 12:14-17
When we arrived my sister added a plate of coconut macaroons to the dessert table already laden with fruit pastries, blueberry, raspberry, apple, and bowls of strawberries and grapes. She said to her mother-in-law, "And, of course, there is no leaven in any of this?"  She was referring to the beautiful baked goods.
I did not hear correctly, and said, "No lemon, why is that?" She began to explain how God told the Israelites to be ready to leave in a hurry and not to use any leaven in the dough --there wouldn't be time for it to rise." And then she looked at me and said, "Wait, you know all this." 
My reply, "Oh, leaven! I thought you said lemon." 
Exodus 12 ends with verse 51: That very day the Lord freed the Israelites from the land of Egypt, troop by troop.
We enjoyed a fabulous meal with the Gips family and when we took our leave, the hosts: Harry and Louise Gips wished us a good holiday. "Happy Easter to you and yours tomorrow," they said. I think that warmed my heart more than anything.
And then came Sunday...
For us Easter Sunday, the day Jesus rose from the dead, brings us hope and a promise that there is indeed a resurrection for us in Christ.  Through His suffering and death, because His tomb was found empty -- he had risen from the dead and was seen by over 500 people -- we have this hope. In Him we've found forgiveness of our sins and a promise of life everlasting. Amen!
At St. Paul's Lutheran Church the sunrise service began with lighting candles. New fire to signify new light and new life in Christ. We confessed our sins and accepted the forgiveness offered, sang hymns of praise and hope, communed together by remembering that Jesus gave his body and blood for us. Symbolically we partook of the bread (his broken body) and the wine (his blood, shed for us for the remission of our sins). We were reminded, Christ is Risen! And we responded, He is Risen Indeed, Hallelujah! The blessing was pronounced, "May the Lord bless you and keep you. May His face shine upon you. May He be gracious unto you and grant you peace." Amen! With that we were dismissed, "Go now, serve the Lord with gladness." And as one voice we proclaimed together, "Thanks be to God!"
We didn't stay for the big breakfast cooked and served by the men of church. Hard to believe people as sociable as ourselves would feel timid and awkward about "fellowshiping" with folks we don't yet know all that well. (I know, I know, we're not going to get to know them if we don't try. That will come in time I'm sure.)
We were invited to our good friends', the Shaffers, for Easter dinner: ham and cheesy potatoes, fruit salad, veggies, beets and pickled eggs, rolls...mmm, mmm, mmm! A bunny cake, served up with ice cream for dessert, brought back memories of making that same cut out cake more than once for my Aaron's birthday. (Born April 3 -- Happy Birthday to him tomorrow!) He outgrew the bunny cake long ago, but the Shaffer grandkids sure got a kick out of it yesterday. Deenie cut off and served the ears first, which made little William declare, "It's not a rabbit anymore, it's just a person!" Yep, just a round-headed person with a polka dot bow tie, whiskers and a smile.
Not sure where the Easter Bunny comes in, but he's part of the tradition. Easter egg hunts, baskets full of chocolate bunnies and candy, Easter lilies and spring flowers are all part of the tradition, making the celebration festive and fun. It's okay to be glad.  There is no better time for celebration.
Jesus who died, rose again -- He is risen indeed! Hallelujah!