Thursday, June 29, 2017

Weekend Wit 18

Rebellion and Stupidity (the Siamese twins) 
Most of us have the freedom to play life out any way that we choose, but I have seen enough to know that there are built in consequences in the universe.  Those consequences encompass the physical, the spiritual, the relational and the emotional realm.  Part of the common human experience is that we are  rebellious to our core.  Our rebellion blinds us to the point that we think that we can do it our way and the results will be to our liking.  If that perspective is not altered, the results will be an empty soul and a wasted life. The saddest consequence of a life lived out of rebellion is the wake of destruction in the lives of those who looked to us for sustenance and support.  Unfortunately the wake may continue to impact even our future generations.

Do you want to see a truly liberated woman or for that matter a truly liberated man?  It comes only from being liberated from our self centered ways.  When we learn to love those in our care by sacrificially serving, then we become truly liberated.

Humor is the wheels under the difficult and heavy situations of life.

Never argue with someone who has dementia.  Just smile and nod your head.  I refer to the law of the lowest common denominator as a justification for my belief.

Bank of Truth
If we want to be have something of substance from which to draw from then we have to put truth into our hearts and our minds.  Our whole lives should be an exercise to imbibe truth and make it part of our very make up.

Growing Up
If you are still alive there is always more opportunity to grow up.

Realities of Life
Life has a way of pressing us all into the corner.  We can look down in despair or look up in faith.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sunflowers in a Lowly Place

I planted sunflowers this year probably because they are just so incredibly cheerful. I just couldn't wait for them to open up. I love the big bright petals and their big sturdy presence.

The thing about sunflowers is the beauty of the blossom does not last very long at all.  They bloom and raise their big beautiful heads majestically to the sky and then in a few short days it is over.

Their heads drop and the petals droop like an old woman with saggy clothes. The sunflower just looks washed out and spent. I have a real temptation to cut them down when they have finished blooming.

The heavy seed head cannot hold itself upright because fruit is being produced.  It takes weeks for the sunflower seeds to become mature and all the while the sunflower grows more and more unattractive.  The leaves wilt and the head bends low as the seeds grow ripe and fat.

In my world I want to be like the beautiful and cheerful sunflower while it is in its full glory, but the  sunflowers real purpose it to produce fruit and that is our real purpose as well.    Life has the ability to press as though placed under a heavy load.  Very few of us desire any kind of hardship especially if the hardship lasts a long time.  Most of us are pretty uncomfortable with the idea of enduring in a lowly place. We don't want to be humbled like the sunflower with our heads bowed down.  In this place there are very few accolades and no one finds us winsome or attractive.

Most of us will find ourselves smack dab in these special seasons of life where we do feel dull and drab, just out of sorts and overwhelmed.  Maybe part of the reason is that we are carrying a load that one day will produce something worthwhile.  All of the sunflowers energy goes toward making those little seeds. I think it is the same for us.  All of our energy is going to produce a harvest as well.  Hopefully it will be a harvest of righteousness where we produce fruit to sustain those around us.  Often this is a place of confinement, drudgery and even pain where we actually become something of substance that we can share with the generations who are coming behind us.  Don't give up my friends.

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening--it's painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

By your endurance you will gain your lives.

Monday, June 19, 2017

June the Month of Birds, Butterflies and Flowers

I woke up this Monday morning feeling as though I had lost control of my house and yard.  It rained last night and the weeds have grown like they were on steroids.  My front porch was damp and all of the wind blown debris was stuck to it.  I started cleaning the porch and as I was doing that I decided to water the window boxes and I unfortunately watered this little guy's nest at the same time.  His siblings immediately flew out and this one tried to climb the window screen.  Mom and Dad came back and were rather upset with me.  I looked and looked for the two that flew out but decided that "One in the nest was better than two lost in the yard."  Later on I went and peeked in the nest from inside the house and all of the little birdies were back safe in the nest.  I haven't a clue how the bird parents managed that.  I was trying to help but Mom and Dad had it under control.

 I got a free promotional packet of flower seed from the Kellogg company that was an effort to draw awareness to the plight of the disappearing honeybees.  I planted them under my sunflowers and so it like a surprise package to see what is coming up and blooming.

I planted sunflowers in a six foot circle this year.  We had used the area as an outdoor fire pit and so all I had to do rake it and dig it up a bit. I think the ashes from the fire have enriched the soil.  I planted the tallest sunflowers in the center.  All the sunflowers are almost in bloom from the tallest to the smallest. 

A swallowtail butterfly was out hanging out on one of the tallest sunflowers.  The butterfly was totally distracted by the big sunflower, which gave me quite the opportunity to take a few pictures.   

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Whose Really Frail and Hanging at the Old Folks Home

Years ago I worked in  a private facility that housed older folks. The care was not commensurate with nursing home care and the words "assisted living" were not coined yet so it was called the "Old Folks Home".  Folks who could no longer live alone lived at Parkers.  It had two big  social areas with couches, chairs and televisions, a dining room and an indoor courtyard that served mostly as the smoking grounds. I worked on the third shift from 11 at night until 7 in the morning.  There was one other woman and myself that made up the entire night staff.  My partner would be responsible for one half of the building and I the other side. I was only around 21 years old at the time.  Let that sink in that a 21 year old kid was responsible for 50 people that could not be responsible for themselves.

It wasn't a hard job. I folded leftover laundry. I checked rooms and walked the halls.  In the early hours I read the medical charts  and distributed the medicine into tiny little cups for when the next shift arrived.  I changed shriveled up and mean Mr. Arnold who wet himself and his bed every single night of his life probably because of orneriness.  There were a few other people who required things during the night shift but my main job though was drinking 16 cups of coffee, nibbling on cookies and reading.

 Some of the folks had dementia like Mr. Bob.  He had been a barber and he carried a razor and a comb in his pocket at all times and would pull out his razor and start shaving at the dinner table.  He also would carry on conversations with himself in the bathroom mirror in the middle of the night to find out which pair of shoes his reflection wanted to wear.  He was an exceeding sweet man but his mind was wobbly.  We had one lady who was truly schizophrenic that wore really heavy blue eye shadow and black eye liner.  I was always a little unnerved by her. She was probably only in her 40's or 50's.  One little old lady who was in her 90's was an escape artist.  She once hid in a ditch on a bitterly cold night wearing only a thin gown like she was escaping from the Gestapo.  One really young guy lived in the facility who had burned his mind out on drugs.  There were some super sweet folks like Mrs. Weast you kept a crocheted doll setting pretty on her bed or Mr. Louis who never had children.  He didn't have anywhere else to live even though he had been very successful financially in his life. He had invented something impressive for one of the car companies.  His mind was sharp but his body was failing.    One man we had was Mr. Carl.   He seemed pretty harmless but he loved to peer around the corner with just one eye to spy on you.  It was a little creepy to see that one eye right at the edge of a doorway tracking your every movement.

 The night staff was the responsible party for the drug cabinet, night time security, any clean up and any medical issues.   When folks wandered the halls in confusion or woke up their roommates, I had to  deal with it.  Anyone could walk out of the building at any time as the doors could not be locked in case of a fire or other hazard. I look back now and realize it was really overwhelmingly huge responsibility.  I was young though and I didn't really grasp what could have happened in the middle of the night with all of those folks and all of their individual issues.  Nothing really traumatic ever happened and I actually remember the job with fondness. I look back now and think it is miraculous that nothing ever really terrible happened while I worked those night shifts.    

Life can be a lot like Parkers.  There is great potential for disaster. Most of the time the disaster doesn't come but if you live long enough from time to time you will be thrust into situations where you will feel pretty alone and pretty overwhelmed. It can feel a lot like being plucked down in the middle of  a quagmire and you are unable to move forward or backwards.

I am old enough and have lived through enough to know that it really doesn't depend upon me.  I am not one making the world spin on its invisible axis.  I can't protect and provide for anyone, in fact I can't even keep myself breathing.  God is the One who is in control and we are a foolish ridiculous people who think that somehow "we have got this".  We don't, but God does.  We need to look to Him not just for our salvation, but we need to look with a humble dependence upon Him for our everyday everything.  It is hard balance because we are called to be responsible and to work hard and we should because He does use our efforts but He is really the One who is making all things work together for the good of those who love Him and who are the called....  He is the One who opens His hand and provides for every living creature... He is the One whose mercies are new every morning... He is the One who is able to do more than we can think or imagine...He is the One who can make streams in the desert and the crooked paths straight... He is the One who can make all things new...He is the One who can bring joy out of a dark night...

I am past my oh so innocence of being a naive 21 year old who doesn't grasp just how really frail I am, but thank you Jesus I know that there is not a single thing that is frail about You.

When I turned to see who was speaking to me, I saw seven gold lampstands. And standing in the middle of the lampstands was someone like the Son of Man. He was wearing a long robe with a gold sash across his chest. His head and his hair were white like wool, as white as snow. And his eyes were like flames of fire. His feet were like polished bronze refined in a furnace, and his voice thundered like mighty ocean waves. He held seven stars in his right hand, and a sharp two-edged sword came from his mouth. And his face was like the sun in all its brilliance.

There comes a time that we really do need to move past our pride and independence.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.