Saturday, September 27, 2014

Ahhhhhh the work of the Best Artist EVEr!

There are several things I love about living in the desert - even tho God had to drag my heart kicking and screaming and other messyniss taking place while my facial features were calm and seemingly in favor.

I knew the move had to come.  California had gotten to be too much, with it's never-ending taxes and super liberal/anti Christian mind set.  And the areas within which we lived had become less and less safe over time, as we became older and more like targets than people.

At first, of course, the heat destroyed me.  110 degrees by 10 am and the "cool" night time temps of 100 degrees.

And then there were the winds.  I remember asking a gent at the bank, where we were transferring our bank accounts. 'Oh ...the wind...welll mmmm yeah,  It gets a little blowy,"  a LITTLE blowy?  We went out for dinner that night and  the "blowy little wind" blew down 5 trees in the parking lot, one of which landed on a car that was owned by a customer eating inside.  He came out with his elderly silver haired relative to find it completely crushed, almost all the way flat. 

Blowy indeed.

But I have found after 10 years, the only thing I really miss about CA is the world renowned San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park and the ocean.  OH! And the Fair, with its gauntlet of games to "try your luck" at and rickety roller coasters and Barkers (World's best vacuum cleaner right here folks, at a special SD fair price and available now!  Come one come all!"  Kids screaming at the height of the Ferris Wheel, timid youngsters reaching out a tentative finger to touch the fur of a baby llama/goat/pig/calf/foal/baby chicks or rabbits - whatever babies had been rounded up for the adventure. And all of this carnival delight played out with a backdrop of rolling surf, gentle breezes washing over you with the aroma of salt air in its back pockets (and fried chicken, whatever you can cram on a stick and deep fry, sloppy burgers and corn coated hot dogs.  Ahhhhhh.  memory.

Here, we live pretty much from A/C house to A/C car to A/C restaurant or store.  For a short time in the spring and early fall we can open the windows and let the air flow thru, smelling of Texas sage in full bloom, redolent of oleander and rosemary, so delightful.

And of course, there's the fact that we actually do have seasons.  Four of them.  Not hot/cool like CA, these are actual seasons, with the normal harbingers of flowers starting to bloom, trees leafing out, 6 months of fry an egg on the pavement and then a cool nip to the air, a drawing in of the soul, the changing colors of the leaves - with it's annual reveal of exactly where those birds nests were, now that the leaves have fallen.

But one of my very most favorite things are not the  aforementioned.

We have clouds,

Now, in SD we had clouds.  They were 1)grey or 2) absent.  It was very very rare to get pufferbellies growing with the day's heat into magnificent towering columns with dirty feet that would rain their way across the valley, making the arroyos look like white water rafting on the Colorado River - and which, unfortunately, claims teen aged lives every year as they try to waterboard or surfboard thru the waters.  The problem is, these flash floods tumble2 and 3 ton boulders down the arroyo as if they were tiny marbles - terrifying to watch.  One day we left the house with the sun shining and 'a cloud the size of a man's hand' in the sky.  15 minutes later we were awash in a flash flood up to the top of the wheel well, seeing accidents everywhere - and within a half hour the streets are not even damp!

But I digress.

The clouds here sometimes make me stop stock still with wonder.  The light plays and colors and shapes them into a vision of creation morning - I can almost hear the hallelujah chorus from the Messiah ringing in my ears.  Here is a poor attempt at capturing it:

We had a wonderful tropical storm come thru today - looking across the valley, I could see the billowing skyscraping clouds pouring water as if out of a bucket, punctuated by the most amazing ginormously elegant strikes of lightning I have ever seen!  They took my breath away, and with each one I would take a startled inward whoosh! of air into my lungs and just let it out praising Him for His power and beauty and absolutely amazing power.  My car was being blown back and forth on the road from the wind, lashing all around the car, with boom crash accompanying the lightning and periodic pending flash floods all swirling around me.  It literally took my breath away!!

We serve such a powerful God and King and Lord.  We have absolutely no idea Whom we are dealing with.  None whatsoever. I think we namby pamby God sometimes into a harmless picture to hang on our walls cuddling little lambs or toddlers.  Now, don't get me wrong.  He is all that.

But He is also the God of Elijah, the God of Moses, the One Who destroyed Egypt and its gods, the One Who flattened Jericho in nothing flat, the One Who showed His presence on top of MT. Sinai with flames and sparks and thunders so deep and rolling that the people were terrified to come near Him.  His own people!  They knew He was their God, but just the view - at a distance yet - of one puny iota of His power and presence and they were trembling in their sandals. 

This is not a God to be messed with.

And I felt the tiniest fleck of that power driving home this evening.  Lightning bolts so huge it seemed they stretched for earth to the heaven of heavens, unleashing a crackling of power in such heart stopping symmetry and gigantic size that my jaw literally dropped open,

If you know me, you know I say this all the time.

The difference today was, I said it face down before Him:

We serve an Awesome God.!

He reigns from heaven above in wisdom, power and love:



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Joy, Joy, Joy!

A friend of mine is participating in a week of joy at her church.  She came up with the idea of writing it in thin air.

In the dark.

With a sparkler. 

Did I mention she's an artist?

I never would have come up with that in a hundred years.

Her husband sacrificed himself to take a picture of it ( he is the local favorite of the state bird - the mosquito - and reportedly came back in covered in welts - and followed by a flock of bloodthirsty skeeters that had to be hunted down and dispatched, one by one) The photo turned out worthy of his suffering - absolutely amazing! Her name is Kate Lehman and her blog is Letterplay. The pic of the sparkler writing is in her Flickr stream. Check it out - you'll be glad you did. The hubby who sacrificed himself is Brat Don. 

She has graciously sent me a copy of the pic to share!  Here it is:

Doesn't that make you smile?

I needed that.  Cuz here, I'm in a blue funk. I can't sketch. I can't paint.  I can't do much of anything useful at all right now - I've hit one of those disabling patches in my illness where pretty much all I can do is wait it out,  I feel like a withered plant, a mildewed bucket of slime.  OK, maybe that's a little dramatic, you get the idea.

Had a root canal a week ago, and haven't been able to get to my dentist to have it finished - and won't be for at least another week. And then it's another ride on the torture wheel, finishing the root canal and fixing two other cavities.

I really really really hate dental work. Because of the diabetes, the ph in my mouth is different, and cavities start easily. And the xylocaine they use doesn't work well and they have to stop because the pain is still full force and shoot all 3 shots all over again. Then they turn those razor sharp lights on me and poof! instant headache. It's such torture.  I feel like I've been beat up in some alleyway and left for dead. And, if that weren't enough, it activates the pain in my muscles and joints. Blechhhh!

OK, Soapbox over with. Hopefully I got it out of my system, tho it still feels like it's hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles.

I'm really trying these days to concentrate on blessings instead of wrinkles in the sheets - and failing miserably!  I keep a blessings/thanksgiving journal, the holy experience joy dare, 3 things to give thanks for per day - at the end of a year you have over 1000 things you've thanked God for.  And I have no problem finding the 3 things - we have a God Who loves to bless us personally, with things that may not delight others, but set our hearts afire with it..

But the flies in my ointment of life seem to burst forth from my heart (thru my mouth and out into the cosmos) just as easily - murmur, murmur, murmur.  I hate it. This is not me.

Yet all of a sudden, I find myself acting as if it is.

That soapbox somehow slithers over and under my feet and there I am again.


Why are they even a blip on my radar? Why can't I just shut up about it?   If I look at the tiniest thing that Jesus went thru - or Paul - or John - my goodness! How do I dare to murmur?? I wonder how God keeps from saying "Enough!  These humans take the cake!  Game over!" And clap His hands, roll the universe up like a scroll, then tuck it under His arm and walk off without a backward glance -- and be done with us!.  He's been enduring our murmuring and sinning and complaining and ungrateful hearts for thousands of years!


It must feel like having a faucet dripping for every single second of every one of those years.

Just think of it - somewhere in the world, every second of every everlasting day, someone is complaining about something.  It's too hot.  It's too cold. They hurt my feelings. He's a brat,  She's nasty. I have a sore finger. My head hurts. My cat threw up. My dog pooped in the house. And on and on and on and on, never stopping.

How wonderful that some day the earth will be filled - FILLED the Word says - with the knowledge of  the Lord.  The whole world will be full of people praising and loving God!

And then...

Then, somehow even with the living Christ ruling and reigning and loving in Person, a generation arises that doesn't want Him telling them what to do, and it begins again:  I don't want to be good anymore, He is too strict, He doesn't understand me, what I did isn't so bad...

Then, egged on by satan, they decide to stage a revolt. Hundreds - make that thousands - assemble to make war with Jesus.

In their orgy of resentment, satan somehow gets them to forget: this is God they are dealing with.  He is ALL powerful - unlike their leader, who is severely limited in his power.

And with a single breath - a SINGLE breath - they are dead.  The war is over. The evil one is locked up, never to be released again.

And God reigns a people who will never ever ever complain again.

I can't imagine the joy that would bring to my heart! To be free of this groaning in my soul!  Instead of the greyness, only light - brilliant, dazzling light - would fill my spirit, my soul, my every cell, and I would only be capable of praise and blessing. We would be free, totally free from the knowledge of good and evil and would only and ever know good.  Period.

Because, thru all my murmuring and falling and getting back up, I really do love my King and Lord.  I really do want to live pleasing to Him.  And I so often fail,

Correction: the Holy Spirit just bonked me on the head, reminding me that I can never fail to be pleasing to God - He only sees me in Christ, washed clean by His blood, pleasing to Him in every way. Every failing has been paid for.  He only wants me to get up, dust off, and start again on the narrow path. Somehow, all my murmuring gets wiped away.


What is there to complain about?

Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Remembering Randy

A whole week has gone by since the last post.

I'm a bit meditative, thinking about a friend who committed suicide.

He'd been in great physical pain with the sister to my own illness for 10+ years. His life was ruled by pain, like so many of us chronically ill folks.  Sometimes pain meds work, but they have their cost. He felt a burden to everyone.  He wanted to set them free.

So he did.

I'm sure nobody told him that, altho it's true his pain would end, his family and the wife who found him would always wonder: could I have done something? Said something?  When did he change from thinking about it to doing it?

Questions that can never be answered.

He was a talented artisan.  He made some whirligigs, for lack of a better word - apparitions? mechanical devices? Moving color? -  that looked so sublime your mouth fell open and you watched his design-rich delicate spinning beauties with your mouth open.

For me, he made 4+feet long elegant wind chimes - but oh, they are so much more.

It is filled with hand shaped stones and crosses and stained glass and delectable sounding chimes.

I would never ever put it where the wind could even touch it tho - the hot desert sun would wreak havoc on the delicate construction and metals - and the thought of bird poop on my chimes makes me shiver!

No.  It claims pride-of-place in the entryway, and stuns everyone with its quiet presence - until....until the daily path of the sun intersects with the beads and brass and stained glass and suddenly, it is alive with wonder and joy!  From the moment his wife presented it to me, I have treasured every stone, every piece of glass, every chime.

As I will all the days of my life.

Thank you, Randy, for the gift of a lifetime.

Like the chimes you made when sunlight dazzles, you are now pain free and sparkling and filled with wonder. All of the gold and silver parts of your loving heart are flashing with light and glory, and  you are face down before a God Who has loved you from eternity past, so filled with joy you could not hold another drop. You will never ever ever be forgotten.

For you have been etched into my heart with  the indelible ink of God.

Suicide survivors - those left behind - here is a link that is moving and purposeful

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The amazing Creator

The other day, I received news that someone I love very much is carrying a new life.

She and her husband have wanted a child since their wedding day.

And God agreed with them.  He joined them in the act of creation and breathed a living, eternal spirit into the joining of egg and sperm.

It takes my breath away.

for those of you who don't know, before my illness I was an RN.  For 20 years I worked in maternity, labor and delivery, with the really sick ones.  I was also a Perinatal grief counselor, so I worked with those who had a stillborn, or a child whose development was incompatible with life.  So I know a lot that can go wrong..

But the everyday miracle is that problems like that are rare.  And the system itself , the incredible design, always left me breathless with wonder. No less now, at this moment, while once again, the celestial dance of Creator and created begins,

From the moment of conception, the child develops his/her own circulation system, separate from the mom.  Their blood type is their own, not the mom's.  But mom's blood washes the baby's blood, pulling out what needs to be eliminated and filling the blood with oxygen mom breathes and passes on to the baby.  By the end of the first month, the cells that will become the heart - which beat independently, each cell throbbing alone - begin to pull together and the beat of the cells synchronize, forming the heart.


Each cell in this wee little person knows to find other cells with the same signature and they gather together to form the eye, the spinal cord, the fingers, the toes.  All by chance, of course - everything sort of evolved into these incredibly complex  features necessary for survival.

Even the placenta, which the body will dispose of when it is no longer needed, is amazingly complex.  When the baby is created, the placenta is formed along with it.  Think of how a carrot grows - that is how the placenta attaches.  The carrot-like parts are called "villi" and they imbed into the musculature of the uterus.

The thing is, as the baby grows, it needs more oxygen and creates more waste products.  So the covering of the villi begin to thin out. Mom's blood bathes the villi, and the thinner the layer of cells, the more easily the oxygen/waste product exchange takes place.  By the time of delivery, the covering is only one layer of cells thick.  And yet, mom's blood and baby's blood never mingle.

And because the villi covering is only one cell thick, at delivery the placenta can easily detach and be discarded.  The womb clamps down tightly so the blood vessels that washed the villi are squeezed shut and only a small amount of blood is lost.

And with the baby's first breath, the circulation changes direction.

Before birth, the blood doesn't need to all go thru the lungs, because the placenta works as the baby's lungs.  So there is a hole in the heart where most of the blood passes thru without going thru the lungs.  The first breath, however, closes the hole in the heart, and the blood changes direction, going thru the lungs with every heartbeat.

All by chance.

But that is what evolution would say.

On the other Hand, the Bible tells us that God knits the baby together.  It is His Hand that moves those cells into the correct groupings to form organs, to form the placenta, to develop the baby.  The Hebrew word used is "embroidery by a master".

And indeed, He is exactly that.

So inside my dearly loved one's tummy, right now at this moment, God is knitting and embroidering the traits He desires to be in this eternal soul He has designed.  He knows where each dimple will go, what eye color He wants, how delicate or rugged and sturdy this body will eventually be.  His/her heart is already beating, s/he is moving in the amniotic fluid, and by 12 weeks, this person will be perfectly formed, all that will remain is a period of growth and maturation - the eyelids will separate later in development and the eyes will open.  S/he will suck his or her thumb, kick, urinate, even have the hiccups.  S/he will have sleep periods - in spite of the noisy environment s/he floats in - mom's voice amplified in fluid, the sound of her heart, her laugh, her cough, the gases moving thru her bowels, her bones creaking as the ligaments soften to allow the bones to stretch and the baby to fit thru the pelvis.  S/he will learn to recognize dad's voice, to recognize music heard regularly, to nestle securely as the muscle of the uterus reaches its limit of stretching and becomes more snug.

And then, as s/he is squeezed thru the pelvis, the amniotic fluid s/he has been breathing in and out is squeezed out and suddenly cold air hits his/her face as the rest of his/her body swooshes forth - and the first separation from mom is completed.

Now baby has to learn how to deal with gravity, how to eat, how to poop, how to coordinate muscles and roll over, stand, walk, run - and how to find the One Who made him/her for His own joy and delight, and be connected with the great Father-Heart Who dreamt this person into being, putting that sparkle in papa's eye that answered the sparkle in mama's eye and were joined in the everlasting sparkle in God's eye.

All the years I worked in labor and delivery, it never got old, got boring - every baby made a miraculous entry.

And I can't wait to see this new one, percolating away safely in mom's tummy.  Godspeed, wee one.  May the Father's joy in you be made full as your mama's and daddy's joy explodes and their arms never tire of holding you close.

May you seek your Papa early, come to know His Son, and serve Him with joy, all the days of your life.