Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Be Better than Our Culture

Can we be better than our culture?

Should we be better than our culture?

Is it arrogant to think about being better than our culture?

When I was thinking about this today it occurred to me that perhaps I grew up in a more traditional, settled society.  But wait!!

I grew up in the 60's when everything was challenged,
Everything was changing.  It was tumultuous.
Nothing was right about our society, according to some
Everything was rejected.  Rearranged
Don't trust anyone over 30, Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll, the Vietnam War, Civil Rights, freedom
It was chaotic.

Be better than our culture.  I think we should.  I think we can.

It's the gospel

Jesus gave us the means...himself.

Be light and salt, we're told in scriptures.  Two completely different things.  Different applications and purposes.

In so many areas, the church, and specifically we Christians, have assimilated the values and ideas of our current culture.   Values and ideas that are the opposite of what Jesus taught us and modeled.

We live, everyday, dominated by self-esteem, self sufficiency, self-advancement, self awareness, materialism, devaluing of life (old and young), individual rights,

Self, self, self, self.......... could we really just get over "self"?

Philippians 2:3  "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves."

I love Rick Warren's first sentence in Purpose Driven Life.  "It's not about you"

It applies to so many areas of our culture today.  Let's just try it??

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Bright sun streaming over the neighboring roof top
Down, in through my window.
Dancing shadows painted on the pages of my book
lain open on the kitchen table.
Pulling me,
pulling me
 Look out.
Out to the glistening water droplets clinging and
sparkling off the juniper branches.
The gentle breeze making the green feathers sway
with diamond crystals
in the movement of the hidden wind.
Patterns of life
 changing seasons.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz

We're book people in this house.

There are books and shelves to house those books in every room in our house.

The old fashioned kind.  With ink and pages.  Bindings and covers.

I came upon this book in one or our small bedrooms, casting about one evening for the next book I would read.  I can't say that I had ever considered reading it, or had actually seen it before, and wasn't hopeful that it would be one of my more interesting "reads" of the year.

But it was and is.....

And almost unbelievable!

It is the true story of a Polish soldier and a small group of fellow prisoners who escape from a Russian labor camp in Siberia in 1941, and walk out to freedom through Russia, Mongolia, Tibet, the Himalayas and the Gobi Desert.

The journey takes a year and 4 of the original 7 make it to India and freedom.

I noticed some vocabulary words written on some of the blank back pages in Jon's handwriting.  When speaking with him later I asked him about the book.  Yes, he had read it.  No it wasn't in connection with his mission trip to Mongolia when he was in Vet school.  It was a book he had read for college at Wheaton.

Similar to Unbroken, it is a picture of incredible courage and strength of will to survive amid the  cruelest of environments with little or no resources.  It tells of the cruelty of people to others.   And the love and humanity and sharing of meager supplies of others.  The hospitality and generosity of the Mongolian and Tibetan people continue today, as experienced by Jon at every little enclave of settlers they encountered.

And the memoirs speak of the mercy of God, the resourcefulness and tenacity of  man, and the fullness of life after an unimaginable trial.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Funeral

I've never been to a funeral that has lasted two hours.

There was the usual worship, slide show, and sharing from family and friends.  There was a lot of laughter.  There was crying. There were funny stories, typical Rick memories, and realizations that he was more than the surface person we interacted with each day.

Everyone had given him a ride.

But the greatest moment was shared by his brother-in-law.

On his last trip to Walmart he asked Rick why he always said "my place", referring to where he lived and didn't just say, "home".

Rick replied, "Because it's not my home, it's where I live right now."  My home is heaven.

A revelation for all of us.

And as I remember him in future days, I want that to echo in my consciousness continually.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

January 2,2015

It was just the second day into January.

And we had a birth.

The little guy who we have all been waiting for came a week late.  His mom had been patiently living life.  Taking care of her other two.  Celebrating Christmas with us, celebrating her other child's birthday, doing puzzles, being uncomfortable, and waiting.  But he was born the second day of the year....perfect, healthy, chubby pink cheeks and alive.  Full of promise, hope, love and purpose.

We had a death.

And I cried.

I wept.  For a long time..

Not because lack of hope for him, he was strong in his faith, strong in his commitment to the Lord, and I know the Word tells us we will see him again, and he will enjoy the company of the one in whom he believed.

We won't have to debate with ourselves now, whether we should pick him up anymore. and adjust our schedule.  We won't have to look in the backseat or trunk to make sure we have room for his huge bag that he carried everywhere.  And we won't have to alter our plans to take him to his various destinations. And some of us won't receive calls specific to our influence in his life, I've got a scratchy throat, my elbow hurt, my colonoscopy date, my laser surgery, what can I take for..., do you know this crossword puzzle word.

It was an accident.

Life is tenuous at best.  My family is not unfamiliar with untimely deaths and accidents.  Even our aged who lived full, wonderful lives struggled with debilitating long illnesses and difficult deaths.  Weeping does  endure for a night and joy does come in the morning.

But January 2 has reinforced to me that there is only one thing needful.

And we are given only today to do it.  And then in His mercy, we get to do it again.  Persistently, not haphazardly, in a sort of self absorbed haze.   Not engaged in the lifestyles of our culture and controlled by misinterpreted intentions and disharmonies.

This life we've been given is finite.  It's brief at best.

We must,.... I want to, greet each day in expectant hope, tenacious faith, delightful expectation, strength of purpose and exuberant obedience.  Living in the present moment and observing His everyday epiphanies and magnificent realities.  Everyday is new for me.  Each day has meaning, a destiny which individually, we only can fulfill.  They all add up to a life that must be face with incredible tenacity, resilience, fortitude and direction.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

January 1, 2015

It's 2015 starting today.

Life flies by more quickly than any of us imagines.  How could it be the beginning of a new year?

That's one thing about time, it's finite and can never be retrieved.  We can't put it on hold, or have a time out, pause it or engage a slow motion setting.

But we capture it in our hearts, in our memories, as we live it day by day.

I guess I'm looking at this coming year and again realizing I want my minutes and days to count for something eternal, something lasting.   To help someone else.   To make someone's life better.

To live more in the moment and experience everyday epiphanies.

To be quiet and listen.

To be still and see.

To hold life close, and friends and family closer.

And to be ready for all the adventures that 2015 will bring!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

December 2, 2014

It's our 42nd wedding anniversary today.

I've been married 2/3 of my entire life!

 And I think I can count on one hand the number of times we have spent our anniversary day together or really celebrated those milestones.

We have a different sort of life.

Today it was entertaining the Canton Study Club for our Christmas meeting at Litengard, then planning, shopping, preparing for church Christmas decorations which go up tomorrow, and Rob did his surgery cases, went to Cantata practice, and is back in the OR with a patient who has a ruptured appendix.

But the day doesn't really matter.

It's the years.

The years of sharing our lives with each other; the joys of starting a family and watching them grow, of moving to a totally different cultural area, of traveling the country and the world, of doing ministry together inside the church and the community, of studying the Word together and reading books and poetry to each other,  of starting businesses, planting gardens, teaching homeschool, vacationing, entertaining, attending meetings, decorating, painting, moving furniture, washing dishes and going to bed absolutely exhausted!.   It's the sharing of the pain of the losses we all face in the death of our parents and siblings, the loss of a beloved son in law, and the uncertainty of an unfavorable diagnosis, temporary discouragements and frustrations. projects gone wrong, failures in communication and misunderstood intentions and motivations.  We do it together.

And we can finish each others sentences.  And send each other the same cards!

Rob is everything I wanted in a man.  He's loyal and faithful and honest.  He's not flashy or arrogant.  And he thinks I'm beautiful and creative, even on my worse days.  He's smarter than I.  Actually, he's the smartest person I know and can speak with anyone on a multitude of subjects.  He knows baseball like the back of his hand, stats just start pouring out....just ask Tom and Colin, but football, hockey and basketball are not unfamiliar to him.   History, especially English and European are his specialties.  Music, he can keep up with the best of our Crane friends.  He can still do complicated math, science, and physics, and is a great teacher, just ask our boys.  He's a plumber, an electrician, a builder, a problem solver.  And he is a tremendous surgeon.  And most of all, he has followed the Lord for over 60 years now.  That's what I was looking for in a man.

I've been thinking about our 42 years together.  It's a long time, a lot of experiences, and we're still together, plodding onward and upward.   We have faith in each other.   We trust each other.  We trust each other with our time, our money, our activities, our lives, our commitments, our relationships.  I think that's a big factor.  It's freeing, liberating and restorative.

So, Happy Anniversary Rob.  We did say that to each other when we met briefly for soup tonight.  I'm excited to see what's in store for us, starting our 43rd year together.