Monday, May 31, 2010

Gold Star Sister Graduates Last (tissue alert)

Memorial Day should be a "happy" day, the same as Easter. We remember the sacrifice, and the cost, yet we rejoice in the promise... (found on another good blog)

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Vacation and a Big Surprise

On Tuesday, I carefully finished packing the car, going over the last minute list, and doing up the last bit of laundry. Using up that last bit out of the liquid laundry jug caused an overflow, but I just let it flow onto the dirty towels on the floor and draped them on stuff in the garage with a literal note to myself: dirty towels.

By 3pm, I was on the road, with the door locked, kitty food set out, and AC set at 80 degrees. I was so proud of the fact that we might come home to an old dozen eggs, but the milk was all gone, and the frig quite bare. Even if we had a power outage, we would not lose much.

I picked up Bob after work, after a quick stop at the chiropractor, and Bob tried to find the way out of town a different direction: south to Austin. For we were on our way to see the granddaughter who was staying with her maternal grandparents whilst her folks celebrated their fifth in Hawaii. (more later---Bob has to use the printer)

We made it to Austin, found our newish Best Western (supposedly supporting Arizona) and were given a third floor room even though we requested a first floor. We no more got in our room, set our bags down, and set the AC going for about ten minutes when the power went out. We lay down on the bed to wait. And started sweating, but Bob promised if we lay real still...(the window had no screen) and we fell asleep. The power came back on about midnight, with AC and lights, thankfully. But, the tub was so slippery, I was afraid to use it. And the pool was nasty.

We so enjoyed visiting our daughter-in-law's parents and seeing our granddaughter. At three and a half, she has grown so tall, and changed so much since Christmas. She has a vivid imagination, and needs no toys as she pretends to set a bowl in an imaginary washer and punch an imaginary button. Imitating all she has seen, and even with just a rolled up blanket, pretended it was a baby. She had plenty of toys, and she had relationships with all of them. "You are the doll in the book," she told the Barbie dressed as the character in the book her grandmother wrote.

Our son and his wife flew back and told us all about Hawaii. Did not quite sell me on wanting to go, but it looks pretty. I am so glad they got to see the places they planned.

On Friday morning, after kissing everyone goodbye, we motored home from Austin up 35 and I talked Bob into stopping at the new Collin Street Bakery in Waco, and the Czech kolache place in West, Texas. (we pronounce it West coma Texas). Once we got onto I-30, fifteen minutes from the house, I start making the want list in my we are outa milk, orange juice, etc. Remember I had left the frig empty and the cupboards bare...and we pull up in the drive, grab stuff for a first load, and as Bob unlocks the front door, we hear the phone ringing. Bob grabs the phone and hands it to me as the first smell of fresh paint hits our noses. It was Ben calling, and we had made plans to eat supper at Cracker Barrel with him, as he likes their Friday night special catfish. Wow---the walls are freshly painted, but the furniture has been all put back, and yet pictures are off the walls...we were amazed! And Ben admitted he was the one who so blessed us. wow. We took him out to supper, and he told us the tale. And Bob found the note he'd left, "from the paint fairy---Bob has blogged about that already---but he laughed and laughed out loud when he found the fancy note which we will frame.

Twenty hours. Three coats. And the kilz musta changed their formula, as Ben said it took three coats, and he was starting to panic, as he was running out of time. He went to work one day with only one hour sleep. And his adventure of packing all the trash in his car, and making a U turn on Division street when he realized he'd left the AC on and it would be right in front of Arlington's finest. She let him off with a warning despite it being 4am, and he is covered in paint, and a car full of trash bags...

It is like I now have a fresh canvas. Freshly painted walls. What to hang up, and what to put away in the closet. My walls used to be so cluttered, because I knew we'd paint someday, so I had gone overboard with pictures of the kids.

Come to find out Ben did tell James and Amber, as he was wondering what color. I don't know if they advised white, or what, but I went ahead and let James and Amber know that next time---if the tile fairy asks, how I'd like the floor, or if the stove fairy comes---just four electric burners.

Thank you, Ben !

Saturday, May 22, 2010

One plus two on the way !!! Yippeee !!!

How do we say it?? Grandparents times three !

My husband, Bob is the math man. Math degreed.

He would be GrandDad X three !

a three year old, and the three year old is going to get a brother or sister come the middle of October. Then there is the newest...the newlyweds of 301 days...they are SO excited to be parents. They link their blog on facebook even.

So, I hope it is okay to link it here. I woke up my husband early this Saturday morning, and he laughed and laughed at their post. Such joy. Such happiness. We are so excited for them.

Our cups runneth over. Halelujah !

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

John the Baptizer: the greatest ever lived

First, go hear Pastor Mark Driscoll teach about John the Baptizer in his Luke series.

I'll wait. It is awesome. I listened to it three times yesterday, and I am not guaranteeing I got it all. I got something more each time.

The Bible spends a lot of time on John the Baptizer's miraculous birth---born to elderly parents as an answer to prayer complete with the angel Gabriel chastizing John's dad, and pronouncing him mute for nine months. I have always chuckled at that part because it means John's dad had to go home from his once-in-a lifetime priestly duties, home to Elizabeth, John's mom, and woo her without words. Audible words, anyway---hopefully she knew how to read, because she is given the content of whatall Gabriel said. God names her baby. And God says: John will be filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb. Her baby will leap when Mary, the Mother of Jesus comes to visit. And John's dad will speak again, as promised, as soon as John is circumsized on the eighth day, and put the nosy neighbors to silence when he backs up Elizabeth with, Yes, his name is John.

John the Baptizer is like Elijah the promised prophet, and forerunner or herald of the King. Except, this King of Kings has to go to the cross first.

And so all of John's life, all of John's ministry is spent preaching, teaching, and warning of the coming of the Messiah. Repent. Get ready! He gets to proclaim Jesus as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world---but didn't John know all the lambs up until now, died? Did John think Jesus's throat would be cut? And then He would rise again?

What did John know from Isaiah and Jeremiah? What did John know about the Messiah from the Old Testament Scriptures?

When John is thrown in prison for his preaching about God's righteousness---a message the current rulers don't like as they were guilty of adultery, John sends his disciples to ask specific questions. And they do. Remember the part where John was filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb? I have to believe now that John is asking questions the Holy Spirit directed him. And they must have seemed strange.

Jesus answers--go tell John that the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, the lepers are healed...and not to be offended.

Jesus quotes Isaiah--the very verses and sermons John has been preaching?

But, in context, what else did John see? What else in the contest of the Isaiah verses comforted John? Did John see Jesus' first and second coming? Did John understand that the Savior must die on the cross? Did John take comfort from the fact that Jesus is coming back to set everything right? And did John see that to rescue from prison, some must be IN prison? to rescue those trapped in caves, some must be trapped in caves?

Here is a list of the verses Jesus quotes from Isaiah. read them alone, and then read them in context:

Isaiah 8:14, 15
Isaiah 26:19
Isaiah 29:18
Isaiah 35:5,6
Isaiah 42:7, 18, 19
Isaiah 61:1

Was the mystery of what Jesus came to do hidden from John? Was John sitting in prison expecting to be rescued?

Pastor Mark Driscoll points out that the Christian life for us means:

You should do ______________________.
You cannot do ____________ (because we are sinners, flawed and in need of Jesus).
Jesus did. He will send the HS, so by the HS's power, you can __________________.

John the Baptizer was told to trust. Trust in Jesus who was in control and knew what He was doing. In Isaiah 29:22 John was promised that in a future day it will all make sense. Did that comfort John? Isaiah also mentions unfulfilled dreams---dreams so real you wake up tasting the food and having your thirst quenched, only to wake up and realize it was a dream. Was John comforted when these verses told him that he would be blind, he would stagger, but wait. Even though the eyes of the seer are shut... for a time.

In Isaiah 35, verses 5 and 6, the eyes of the blind are opened, the lame leap like deer, and the tongue of the mute speak...but the rest of the verse: the "waters break forth" is future! Marsh land appearing from this water, and a special highway, a Highway of Holiness: future!

What did John think of Isaiah 42:2 where Jesus will not cry out nor even break a "bruised reed" compared to the majesty of Jesus as Creator in verse 5 and following? How can that be the same person unless it is two different advents, two different times, two different missions?

Isaiah 42:5 also reminds us why we should reject abortion: God gives breath to people. breath and spirit.

And what does a true warrior look like? See Isaiah 42:13 and following.

Good warriors are zealous, shouting, prevailing against enemies. His enemies.

I tremble for Israel because it does not look good for them right before Jesus comes back. Jesus will rescue them at the last minute. But, the seven years of the tribulation will reduce their numbers, and many will be killed for their faith, and Isaiah 42:22 says the remnant is plundered, despoiled, trapped in caves, hidden away in prisons. prey and spoil. They are hopeless and helpless, and only God can rescue them. And He will.

Prisons are no barrier to God. Nor caves.

Isaiah 61

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted, He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the comfort all who mourn.

The poor you will have with you always, Jesus said. And right before He comes back, there will also be many broken hearted, captives, prisoners, people mourning loved ones. Jesus is the Light of the World. He calls us in righteousness. He insists on righteousness. He insists we speak out against unrighteousness, even if it lands us in prison, even if it means they cut off our head because they don't like our warnings... We do our job, be it housewife or warrior, as unto the Lord.

Isaiah 26---TRUST in the Lord! The steadfast of mind you will keep in perfect peace because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for in God the Lord we have an everlasting Rock. ...the was of the righteous is smooth... vs 8 we have waited for you eagerly, your name, even your memory is the desire of our souls. vs 11, 12 O Lord your hand is lifted up yet they do not see it. They see your zeal for the people and are put to shame; indeed fire will devour your enemies. Lord you will establish peace for us, since you have performed for us all oru works.

When, like John, you are sitting in prison and your mission seems to be fading, and you feel like you have been through labor pains only to give birth to the wind, that is when John is told in Isaiah 26:19 your dead will live, their corpses will rise, you who lie in the dust, awake and shout for joy, for your dew is as the dew of the dawn and the earth will give birth to the departed spirits... Isaiah 29:18 speaks of a sudden deliverance with an earthquake, thunder, and loud noise. Is Jesus telling John through the context in Isaiah: be patient. wait. Is it not yet just a little while? The "deaf and blind" are sandwiched into a second advent passage where even more good things are promised---but where afflicted and needy are waiting verse 20 for the ruthless will come to an end and the scorner will be finished indeed all who are intent on doing evil will be cut off. Had this been John's sermon to the adulterers?? the very sermon that got him thrown in prison?

Isaiah 29---in the future...they will sanctify My Name, and stand in awe of the God of Israel. Those who err in mind will know the truth and those who criticize will accept instruction. Someday, maybe not here, but in heaven, it will all make sense.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Reading Ahead

I Samule 12:25 ...if you do wickedly both you and your king will be swept away.

I Samuel 18 Sure reminds me of someone else...jealous, rageful, angry, tormented by demons...

18:30 Even with all the plots, attempts on his life, David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul. Saul even told his own son, Jonathan, David's good friend, to put David to death.

All these times Saul tries to pin David to the wall with a spear, David slips away from Saul's presence---a picture of Jesus, a foreshadowing of when Jesus would slip away out of the crowds until His perfect time to go to the cross.

And what was Saul's daughter doing with a huge household idol? That was a Ten Commandment biggie no-no.

And the irrationality and insanity of Saul---not willing to obey orders and kill the enemy when Samuel told him to, but when chasing David, he is told about a town that helped David, so Saul slaughters 85 men plus the whole city of Nob, women, children, infants, oxen, donkeys, sheep when Doeg the Edomite betrays David. Saul had his own people murdered. And they were priests, too.

When David hears the sad news, he says: I have brought about the death of every person in your fathers household. David takes responsibility.

I Samuel 25 The Abigail Story. What a discerning woman. Not afraid to tell the truth, and right a wrong. A woman of wealth, resources. Bold. Humble.

I Samuel 26 Look at Saul--even when Saul "repents" and admits the "I have sinned" (see verse 21 and 22) and promises PROMISES not to harm David again and Saul says, "I have played the fool..and have committed a serious error..." David does NOT obey Saul. He loves and respects Saul from AFAR! David says: "let one of the young men come over and take it. (Saul's spear and jug)

verse 25 So David went on his way and Saul returned to his place.

I need to leave life and death in God's hands, even when loved ones are the poorest testamony ever.

The whole story, the big picture foreshadows Jesus' first coming where He comes to do the job of removing the sins of the world. Jesus will come back to rule. There is a gap. But, I see so many pointers on our daily life when someone fails to do the right thing. And I wonder why God does not take them out.

The Old Testament stories not only point to Christ, but tell us how to live, and what pleases God, and what does not.

Sometimes bad things happen. Sometimes God allows a whole town to be wiped out because one priest does the right thing, and helps a fugitive. Sometimes men die simply for being curious and peeking into the ark when they shouldn't. Sometimes battles are lost when God's objects (the ark of the covenant) are used as good luck charms. And sometimes God performs miracles to make a fancy teaching tool so repugnant to the enemy that they load it back on a cart, and sent it home pulled by oxen.

If you were a kid living in Nob---things would not look fair. Only in heaven someday will it all make sense. Sometimes God intervenes, sometimes He choses to let things play out. Who are we to judge.

We must do what is right because each of us answer to the Lord. Daily, and in the future at the Judgement Seat of Jesus Christ. Everything will make sense. Then.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Trying to Remember

Last year this time I wrote:

"I am learning more about Army son's day from his fiancee than from him. What happened to that guy that would phone us for a five to ten minute chat each evening? He hath droppeth us like a hot rock. Oh, well. As it should be. I guess. I don't have to like it. So there. I think I will order extra starch for his shorts...I mean shirts."

And now, a year later, that married son is indeed headed out on a deployment, and we are learning more from his dear wife and we are so thankful she shares with us.

I was trying to remember what we did for Mother's Day last year, and Ben said, surely, I was not going to cook like I did last year? I remember cooking because the eating establishments are all so busy on Mother's Day....well, Wendy's wasn't that year we visited A&M right before Andy's freshman year on Mother's Day. And sometimes we can visit better at home where it is somewhat quieter than a busy restaurant. But, since James is headed out in a few months, and our visits with him are getting close to the last few, I'd like to let him chose. Whatever he is hungry for. Because next Mother's Day, he will probably still be in Afghanistan.

Food is food. That is what Bob's says. And I am starting to agree. Since it is just the two of us most evenings, we try to keep it simple. light. And save Friday nights for Ben. Last night, Bob ate some pizza we had frozen from our pizza craving last week. And I ate yogurt with all sorts of nuts and raisins.

Since Bob drove in today (instead of taking the train) he was going to recycle some old laptops, and maybe pick up tamales. Thataway we will have tamales for our guests as they come and go this weekend. We like to stay flexible. I have discovered a way to steam the tamales back to perfection using my broiler pan and foil in the oven, putting water in the bottom of the broiler pain, and sealing the tamales on the top in foil. But, I don't think it is something I could leave going in the oven whilst we were at church. Best to keep an eye on them in case they need more water added.

Sometimes food does not taste very good these days. And I can't blog about it...yet...if ever. Gotta respect the privacy of certain relatives. I couldn't even mention it at church when they asked for prayer requests, which is kinda sad, and made me wonder how many other folks were dealing with heavy stuff they were not at liberty to share? Especially, at church! Church is like a hospital where we get together to heal, and encourage each other. Church is like a hospital for our souls. emotions. spirit. minds. relationships. right? As well, as a place to learn about God, and worship and serve Him.

I cornered our preacher last Sunday and confirmed he would not be proceeding on to the next verse in Acts 23:23 for Mother's Day, which means we will be getting a syrupy Mother's Day message on Sunday morning. yuck. My own Mother is working Sunday. And while I don't begrudge those that like to celebrate Mother's Day, I think it is overrated. I don't need gifts. I enjoy my sons and daughters-in-law and granddaughter---visits in person, and by phone. But, I don't want them to feel obligated. Sorry, but I was needing to dump my angst. Wish I could say more.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

How we sin by failing to pray

I Samuel 12:20-25

Do not be afraid, you have done all this evil, yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart. Do not turn away after useless idols. They can do you no good, nor can they recue you, because they are useless...the Lord was pleased to make you His own...far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right. Fear the Lord...

It just make me feel a part of the Army experience...

Oh, goody. I got one of those calls today:

Left a message on our answering machine (and what must he thought of my Grannie message??)

"Hello, this is Seargant Rangle...Colonel so-and-so said to contact you about t-shirt design. My number is, xxx xxx xxxx."

So, I called the startled seargant back, and he confessed he was driving---could not write another number down, so he asked me to call his number back and leave a message. so I did.

I just feel such a small part of my son's Army experience when I get calls like this. Maybe every other month---someone looking for my son from an old, old call list. This guy found my son's number back at the "company" but I explained that my son was in the field this week, so call him Monday to talk about the t-shirts design. I am sure jobs get passed on, and it is easier to contact the last guy that dwealt with the problem.

My son hates for me to get these calls, as he has gone to much effort to find every calling list and correct his phone number. But, I just feel so needed. Useful. A true Army mom. Hoohah !

Too funny. Now I wonder if the tee shirt design is for a fun run or challenge or something. And I hope James knows where the logos are kept, and which tee shirt design company they used last time.

Army Mom, reporting for duty.