Lent 37: the Emu nests.

26 03 2013

(Thursday, March 21st post) The emu nests again. A few years ago ago I did some research and learned that either the male or female emu will incubate the eggs, so we’re not sure which emu this is. Whichever it is, s/he has been very protective and faithful, even chasing away the other emu. The sacrifices this emu is making are impressive also–Lent 37: the emu nestsin the past couple of weeks we’ve had all sorts of weather including snow, sleet, and rain. And, sadly, three years ago when the older emus were nesting, the mother made the ultimate sacrifice–death. She was killed by a wild animal (fox or coyote, we were told) while protecting the eggs. Neither she nor the eggs made it.

Last week as I took this photo, I was thinking about God’s faithfulness and loyalty to us humans. The animal kingdom never ceases to amaze me. But what amazes me even more is our great, creative God who made it all.

That, and the ultimate sacrifice of God’s Son, Jesus, for each one of us as well.

(Note: if you are local, and you decide to check this emu out, please please please don’t approach the fence right by the emu. We have been asked to be very cautious, and only approach from an angle… keep the dog away, and not get too close…. We’re all hoping for better success this year with the emu eggs, and want to do whatever we can to enable that.)





Lent 36: trash or recycling?

20 03 2013

In Philippians 3:4-14, the Apostle Paul states that the former gains in his life he now considers garbage–that he may gain Christ. Lent 36: trash or recycling? In The Message (paraphrase of the Bible), Eugene Peterson translates part of the passage this way:

“Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him.”

It’s a great image…. dumping the former stuff in the trash, the garbage, the rubbish… and considering it dog dung. Yet I can’t help thinking about how often we humans still hold on to the former stuff. It’s almost as though we consider the former stuff recycling, rather than trash.. something we can re-use, upcycle, whatever… whatever is most useful, when we need to rehash stuff. Trash. Maybe it’s time we stopped recycling some of these things, and throwing them out instead, so our lives can be free from trash, and more useful for God. Maybe it’s time we lay our burdens down at the foot of the cross.





Lent 35: Extravagance

19 03 2013

Still reflecting on John 12:1-8. Mary poured expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet, and, in a move that likely made everyone else tense up with awkwardness, she then wiped his feet with her hair. Lent 35: ExtravaganceHer actions were extravagant. One of the definitions of extravagance is “exceeding reasonable bounds; unrestrained; extremely abundant…” (from The American Heritage Dictionary, Copyright 1982.) I am not sure how extravagant I ever have been with my adoration of Jesus. And, I think, one of the most abundant, unreasonable, extravagant gifts I could and should give to God these days is my time.





Lent 34: Anointing

18 03 2013

Today’s photo, yesterday’s thoughts..

After our worship service yesterday, I stayed up in the front of the sanctuary–in a corner, of sorts. Jim had announced that, for those who wanted it, I’d be available to pray for them, and to anoint them with oil. (Yesterday’s text being the one where Mary anointed Jesus.)

What a privilege and a blessing for me.





Lent 33: Barbie’s balance

18 03 2013

Yesterday, Kajsa had her Barbies packing into this Barbie jeep. Two of them are in the seats, seat belts on. She asked me how to get a third one in the jeep, since there were only two seats. I put it in the back, and told her

In real life, we don’t do this… you have to have a seat belt on, and if there’s not a belt in the back, there’s no place to sit in the back.

She kept playing, while I did something else in the other room. Lent 33: Barbie's balance

Then she called me in to look. “Look at Mommy Cathy” she said.. (“Mommy Cathy” would be the Barbie on the jeep’s hood). “In real life, she can’t do this, because there’s no seat belt.”

I laughed, and said, “I hope she doesn’t fall off!

Oh she won’t“, Kajsa said, “Mommy Cathy has a great sense of balance!

A few seconds later, thanks to to some rugged driving, perhaps, the Barbie fell off.

This week’s Lenten “Signs Along the Way” theme is “Dangerous Intersection”. The gospel text for yesterday was John 12:1-8: where Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with oil… her extravagant gift, compared with Judas’ response. Judas was “concerned” about the poor, though, the text says, he wasn’t really. When faith and life intersect, we are frequently faced with tough choices, challenges, and frustrations. We seek balance, but often are misguided, or over-guess/under-guess… balance is hard to come by.

Sometimes I think I am balanced–much like the “Mommy Cathy Barbie”. Or, much like her owner, rather… I perceive balance when, in reality, I’m not at all balanced, and I fall off the hood of the jeep.





Lent 32: not happening

18 03 2013

Well, frankly, there’s not much I can think of to say about this photo, spiritually-thinking… Lent 32: not happeningI took it for some reason. But, as has happened before, I’m blanking on why that was. So, for now, it’s just a photo of Kajsa dressed in a princess/dance outfit, trying to get Abby to come up the ramp instead of barking for me to go lift her up onto the porch.

It wasn’t happening.





Lent 31: the Rocking Chair

18 03 2013

Rocking chairs have always held a certain appeal for me. Even the ones that are too high for me to rock in comfortably. When we bought this rocking chair at a garage sale many years ago, I expected many nights of rocking Kajsa to sleep.  Lent 31: the Rocking ChairWhat I didn’t expect was how much she and I would both long for the rocking chair at other times.

It started a couple of years ago when, after a particularly hard day, I carried her to the rocking chair, and simply rocked. I think she was still a little frustrated with me at that point, and wasn’t eager to be rocked. But before long she calmed down. I sang one of our favorite songs (Skidda-ma-rink-a-dink-a-dink, skidda-ma-rink-a-do), and pretty soon she was asleep. The story repeated itself a few times.

Then the story changed. She began asking if I would rock her. And so we rocked. And rocked. We have rocked ourselves calm (that sounds strange) too many times to count. When my five year old or I are having a difficult day, she is often the one to ask to be rocked. The rocking chair has become one of the many methods we use to quiet ourselves, to hug each other, to adjust attitudes and frustrations, and to move on. I love this time.

Reflecting back to last week (!) and the Prodigal Son story, I imagine that God loves the times with us, when we have quieted down, when we allow God to hold and comfort us, and to welcome us back into God’s arms.





Lent 30: Happy Pi Day

14 03 2013

Happy Pi Day





Lent 29: new creation

14 03 2013

A new creation. Of sorts. It’s no longer new to us, because we finished this DIY project many months ago. But it is a project that created something new out of some things old. It took months to complete.  Lent 29: new creationIt involved washing out coconut milk cans after a homemade Thai meal; painting the cans inside and out; picking out an old cookie sheet to use for the project and collecting magnets to hold the cans to the old cookie sheet. Then, gathering some of the multitude of crayons and colored pencils we have to fill the cans with their respective colors.

For the artistic types in our house, the project was fun to create, and continues to inspire creativity. We love colors here (again, the artistic types at least), and we love the multitude of colored pencils and crayons. And I love creating something new out of something old.

I wonder if God finds similar joy in creating something new out of us, when we allow him to do so?





Lent 28: hiding place

12 03 2013

Kajsa loves to hide. And maybe even more than hiding, she loves the creation of hiding spots. Sometime in the past two days, she developed this new hiding spot by the coffee table. I think she calls it my secret spot.  She hides back there and does her “work”: writing, reading, drawing and talking to her stuffed animals. Lent 28: hiding place

Today’s Scripture reading from the Lenten bulletin insert for this week, is Psalm 32. One of my favorite verses is verse 7: You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I have often felt like hiding. Hiding from the many icks of life–painful and difficult detours. Sorrow, illness, death, tragedies, brokenness, loss, poor decisions, prodigal behavior, injustices, trauma, disappointing news…. lots of tears, lots of questions, not many good answers.. The icks of life that create pain.

But hiding places don’t remove pain. Sometimes we need a break, a reprieve from the detours… that’s different. And more often, what we do need is to rest and trust–in God. That kind of hiding, that doesn’t take us away from the pain as much as it does help us through it. That kind of hiding place helps us remember that even in the midst of all the pain, God is still present. God is still loving. And God is still faithful. This much I know.