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Friday
Aug302013

A Perfect Fit

 

Almost a year ago we put in a pool.

This project was the final decision wrought out of no less than a 12 year tussle with my husband over what to do with the back yard.  My Midwestern sensibilities said a garage would be more prudent and add to our property value. I had several pools at various houses growing up in Wisconsin, (where you could swim for all of 3 weeks in July) and so I didn’t have good associations with pool ownership. My father concurred. Pools were lots of work, and added virtually nothing to your house value. They could in fact be a liability.  Chad’s decision was based on the fact that well… he wanted a pool.  About 2 years ago he finally conscripted the neighbors to join the pool-garage debate and formed a sort of pool conspiracy. Thus, we have a pool.

I will say, it’s a gorgeous, in-ground, saltwater pool. We did not skimp on the design or materials.  Our architect guided us to a classic roman shape and planned landscaping to compliment it. One side of the deck area is enclosed by a 6 foot high, 30+ foot long, stacked granite wall. If the pool were not there to give it context, you would think we had built some sort of temple in our back yard.

When we chose the stone for the “great wall”, we decided we liked the look of random stacked, multi-colored rocks.  Like the pool decking, I assumed those rocks would have been pre-cut and ready to stack. I had no idea the craftsmanship that actually goes into building a castle wall.

It took a crew of 4 men about two weeks to hand chip and shape each rock individually, before fitting the wall together.  Every morning at about 8a, the loud and incessant tink- tink -tinking of rock hammers would start. Two weeks later, we had part of the coliseum in our back yard.

This past week the daily lectionary has been taking us through 1 Kings. King Solomon is annointed King, takes his throne, and begins to build the temple.  God had “given him rest on every side” and now it was time for the days of wisdom and building a house for “The NAME of the Lord.”   This morning as I sat out on my back porch, looking out on the peaceful pool deck, I was struck by this verse:

“In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel, or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built.” (I Kings 6:7)

What’s amazing to me about scripture is that seemingly insignificant details like this are written down for us.  Why do we need to know that at the construction site of the great temple, there were no sounds of hammering?  That the rocks were already fit and fashioned before they were even brought to the site of the temple??

Two scriptures immediately came to mind:

And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” (Revelation 21: 2-4)

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2: 19-22)

When I think of the time that I will be fit into that Holy City, the works-righteousness part of me wonders if I will really belong? Or will there first need to be a painful judgement or some sort of final blow, before I can be fit in and partake in the presence of the Lord?

But the Word this morning is clear. The stones that laid the foundation for Solomon’s temple had been fitted BEFORE they got to the temple site. The stones were already perfect. 

In the New City, there is “no more death…or pain”.  That process has already taken place, IS already taking place NOW in the quarry of the life we have here.

Christ had to suffer as He did, because he was to be the “chief cornerstone.”  He is the Rock that holds the whole building together.  His life too, had to be fashioned and fit first, before the temple could be assembled. 

Should I then complain when my life is being hacked at and chiselled? 

There are no sounds of work at the temple site! Thanks be to God!

 

Friday
Apr262013

Hidden

I am a knitter, of sorts. Most people think knitters are patient, resourceful people, who like to pay attention to detail and have good hand-eye coordination.  But I think the reality is that people who knit have issues with control and OCD. Knitting gives them that one thing to do, over and over and over again. I think most of my knitting friends wouldn’t balk at the statement that we’re a quirky set of folks.

I for example, like to knit socks.  And not just plain socks with ribbed patterns. I love socks with intricate cables and lace. Socks that you knit with toothpicks. They take weeks of careful scrutiny, and then, you get to make the other one. When you’re done they get hidden behind knee-high boots and under slacks, and never see the light of day.  It’s OK. I know they are there, and they’re BEAUTIFUL! (And you don’t have to tell me you could buy them at Target for $5.)

All this to say, I am a knitter and an iPhone user and I check Facebook quite often. I don’t usually post more than once a day, but I do check in on my friends all the time.

Unfortunately the most common thing I find myself doing on Facebook these days is “hiding” stuff.  Not the posts that actually relate anything about my friends' lives.  I’m talking about all the stuff that people like, or share. This morning as I scrolled down the news feed, I found that I had hidden almost all the posts and there were maybe 3 things that I kept on the feed.


“This story is now hidden from your News Feed” is  now plastered from here to eternity. 

I have often heard the comment by Christians about FB…”what if Jesus were your friend,” “what would he like?” etc… and I’m loath to join the social commentary about what social media means and how is it shaping our culture. Like anything, I think it’s a tool. People will be used and use it for what they think they need it for, good and bad.  The danger really lies in where we think “reality” and our "identity" is.

For me, when I interact with Facebook I try to remember the words of the late greats Crosby, Stills & Nash--

”If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with…” Everything else is what people want you to see, not necessarily what is.

This morning however, Facebook (I can’t believe I’m saying this) gave me an insight into something I read in scripture.

Colossians 3:1-3 If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God…” 

I suddenly got this mental image of Jesus scrolling down the trash bin of my wall, seeing all the irrelevant and derivative garbage and clicking it as “hidden.”  Yes, my life is hidden! Thanks be to God!  I have always loved that image, of being hidden in Christ. But it takes on a new meaning for me as I now wield the power to "hide" stuff. The difference is what I hide is somehow still there and can be "unhid." With Christ, it's real, and is hidden in Him forever.

Colossians 3:4: When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

 

 

Saturday
Aug232008

Stuck

Yes, I live. Real life is so real, that I don’t have the time to step aside and take note of it. We are dust, and these days my existence seems like a big pile of construction dirt that’s quickly being swept away by the breeze of how fast my life is running. Oh well, the Father is keeping track; and that’s probably more than I want recalled anyway. My hubby begged me to write up this little gem, however, and seeing as I have ten minutes before speeding out the door to the next thing, I figure why not?--

I was in the checkout line at Whole Foods this morning, when an intelligent young cashier-man began “checking me out.” As I finished unloading my cart I approached the swipe thingy and began searching my bag for my wallet. I looked up to find that the checker was looking at my chest—

“M’am,” (all the young men call me ‘M’am” these days. Sigh.) “uhhh, there’s uhhh-“

He was now pointing to my chest, seemingly at a loss for words. What he wanted to say was, “there’s a sticker on your boob” but all that came out was a sheepish “uhhhh M’am.”

So I look down at my chest, and there was indeed a large round sticker stuck to the middle of my breast, apparently placed there by the honey dew melon I had spent five minutes fondling before making my final decision. On it was a boldly printed crown with the slogan “The King of melons!” in the center.

That my friends, is cheap irony.

Will I write the summer? Possibly…I guess I’m just a tease.

Wednesday
Jul022008

Forty, Fit & Fishin'

160201-880916-thumbnail.jpgWhere's Martha again? 

I'm "sporty-fit-n-forty" & fishn' at the lake. 

This is me 30-odd years ago...

While I'm away, here are some tales from last summer... 

Wedding Rocks

A Good Gift

Lake Lessons

The Bug House 


Wednesday
Jun042008

And then there was one...

Winding down the day with a cup of decaf I opened up my silverware drawer in search of the lone teaspoon. I actually have 12 place settings of flatware; twelve dinner & salad forks, twelve knives, twelve soup spoons… but for whatever reason, these past 6 months, my household has been functioning with only one teaspoon.

The lone spoon is of course never in the silverware drawer. It’s usually in the dishwasher. This has never dissuaded me from hopefully looking in the silverware drawer first, however. Like playing a slot machine, I expectantly pull open the drawer hoping that maybe, just maybe I’ll hit the jack pot. And every 100 drawer pulls or so I get lucky, and the lone spoon will be expectantly lying there, looking up at me with a demitasse, melancholy smile. “I once had friends,” it whimpers. Somewhere in my house, there are in fact, eleven teaspoons. Please tell me, they are somewhere!? I mean, where else would they be?

It hadn’t really started gnawing at me until about a week ago, when we closed on the construction loan for our house renovation project. Yes, it’s true, more than a year later, we are going ahead with the second story addition. And while I haven’t packed one iota, the demo crew is coming in a few weeks, and all the piles of stuff that I had long ago given up finding proper places for, have started screaming at me…

“Where-are-THE-SPOONS?!”

The other day I decided to take an earnest stab at finding them. I mean, certainly the smallest search might produce at least one extra spoon, if not two or three. I began by quizzing my 8-year-old son, a.k.a. “Boy Scientist” who is always concocting various potions, mixtures and solutions in his bedroom.

“Jack? Honey, when you mix up your experiments, what are you doing with the spoons?”

“I dunno mom, I can’t remember.”

“Well, can you think hard, because mommy seems to be missing about eleven of them.”

“Well, umm, I guess I put them in the sink.”

“Are you sure? I mean, because if you put them in the sink, they might have found their way into the dishwasher. Right?”

“I dunno mom, I think that I put the spoons in the sink.”

The next day I began rifling through the many collections & piles in Jack’s room. It had been I while since I had last excavated my way into his room. Aside from the containers of mystery liquids, there were rock piles, stick piles, piles of shredded paper with cryptic Pokémon scenes scrawled on them, paper airplane piles, dismembered captain underpants books, misc. metal objects dug up from the back yard, soccer trophies beheaded by his younger brother, torsos and limbs from various action figures…but nary a single teaspoon.

I was vexed, to say the least. When did the number of spoons in my drawer elude me? Certainly I might have taken note of a 6 spoon deficit? I can’t remember even having two. But there it is. Eleven spoons gone. They are not in the couch or the mini-van or in my yarn stash. They are not in the Lego piles or the Hot wheels baskets. They are not under my bed or in the sand box or shoved down the HVAC vents.

The only thing I can hardly allow myself to believe, is that perhaps, perhaps my independent five year old; who likes to help himself to yogurts and do everything himself, and can’t quite reach the sink yet, has thrown away the spoons with his yogurt cups... all eleven of them? No, I just can’t accept it…

Sporty-fit-and forty is now only 35 days away! I may not be as sporty and fit as I hoped for, but I will certainly be forty. Where my thirties went, I can’t recall, but I bet my children could tell me.

The boys, now 8 & 5, drive me crazy, and somehow love me to death. We do need a bigger house. Jack, who must now weigh 80+lbs still jumps and flaps at any exciting thought; and when both boys start tearing through the house it sounds like a pack of charging elephants. They remain completely sweet, however. This was the dialogue in the car yesterday morning--

“Hey Jack, when we grow up, will we still be friends?”

“Yeah Joey we’ll be friends. We’ll just be grown-ups.”

“Yeah and the second best thing about being a grownup is that you get your own house.”

“Well Joe, first we go to college,”

“Yeah, that’s right, college!”

“and then, we find ourselves some wives.”

“Are wives girls?”

“Yeah, girls, that we, you know, that we love. And then they have babies.”

“Yeah, and then the girls are mommies, and we’re daddies.”

“Yeah Joe, then we’re parents, and then our kids grow up and they have kids.”

“What!? No they don’t!”

“Yes Joe! That’s what happens when you get married, you have kids, then they have kids, and then we’re grandpa’s, and then…we DIE!”

At which point, both boys erupted in hysterical laughter. Obviously, the angst of their mortality hasn't come to fruition.

"Boys, you know that you won't really die."

"I know mom, we'll go to heaven. And that's where we'll have the biggest family and the biggest house!" 

How did my eight year old get to be so wise? Yes, the home front is on the move, and I’ve barely been able to stop and take note of it. My “part-time” job working for the church has become an all consuming way of life. Not that I feel like I’ve lost anything. I will cautiously say that I’m beginning to understand Christ’s words, “he who loses his life, finds it,” as piece by piece, the spoons of self service are being displaced. I’m not sure my life could be fuller. Ministry can be a wrecking ball, of sorts.  By God’s grace, I may live to praise Him for it.