Blassst!

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The wind it blows where e’er it will
And water flows how e’er may be

People move from here to there
Now how’d the geese know when to fly

Fog and mist rise to the sky
Or settle down to take a rest

Then comes a blast a howling screech
Now grab your hat or turn and flee

Hot words scorch frigid reactions steal
Friendship and compassion lie in dust

Now caught unaware, oh what was that
Grab for a tree or find a warm spring

Howl with the dogs to drown the screech
Throw down the salt to melt the ice

The wind it blows where e’er it will
And water flows how e’er may be

As sirens pass motors roar by
We settle and rest …and laughter returns

Look Up!

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“Listen! What’s that?!” The child that was me craned her neck and shielded her eyes as she searched the sky for a passing airplane or helicopter… If conditions were right, I could follow the trails of high-flying jets or passenger planes as they painted a pattern through the air. I sometimes felt a little dizzy as I focused on the world above me.

There were so many things to discover while looking up, elusive songbirds in the trees, majestic mountain ranges as we traveled for a weekend of camping, and ever-changing cloud formations to catch the imagination. Church steeples all around rose above the surrounding buildings… proclaiming the hour, chiming music, or directing our eyes and thoughts to heaven above.

The Bible uses a lot of images about “looking up” and “going up.” That makes a lot of sense doesn’t it, as we think of God on high?! A favorite verse from the Book of Psalms, (a “Song of Ascents” that was sung as people went up to worship) says, I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.*  Jesus looked up when praying to his Father, when blessing the loaves and fish, and when giving thanks.

When I look up into the sky by day or night or up into a majestic old tree, there is a sense of being a part of a great thing. As I look out and up at rolling mountain ranges, I am a small speck in God’s vastness. Think back or imagine yourself as a small child looking up at your parents, teachers, or others. The whole world takes on a different perspective!

I think too of how I can be focused on my own thoughts or schedule and I fail to look up and see others around me, to be aware of their needs, struggles, or celebrations. Sometimes I have allowed my self-focus to block out my awareness of others. In the book of Luke there is a story about a short man named Zacchaeus who had difficulty seeing too.* I think his difficulty involved more than his height! When Jesus came into into the town of Jericho, he looked up and saw Zacchaeus in a tree craning his neck to catch a glimpse of Jesus. Jesus saw more than the outside of Zacchaeus perched in that tree, didn’t he?! When Jesus offered him fellowship, Zacchaeus’ life took a dramatic turn. After he came down from that tree, he looked up and found Jesus who showed him a better way and who saw him as a person of value and worth.

My prayer for us is that we will look up and see God ever before us. May he open our eyes and widen our view so that we can see the worth and value of others, just as Jesus looked up and saw Zacchaeus. In so doing, perhaps we will begin to hear, above the roofs and the clamor of the world, the chiming of music… and to give and receive the gift of fellowship. Look up!

Psalm 121:1, Luke 19 

Reflections on Chairs

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• A good foundation lends strength to the outcome
• We need each other for support
• Sometimes we need a little help getting to our feet
• Adding a personal touch makes a positive difference
• Chairs can be a place of gathering
• Welcome others to a place of rest
• A secure lap brings much comfort
• Balance work and relaxation
• Reliability is an important feature
• The Chairmaker brings strength and encouragement

From “Reflections from the Everyday”

Above, Beneath, and Upon

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When I was a girl, I loved climbing up into trees. Sometimes I’d take a book with me to read, but often I would just sit… swaying gently in the breeze. I would look quietly around me and up into the sky and imagine what it might be like to experience the world like a bird. Darting from tree to tree or soaring through the air… their perspective must be so different from mine!

From the walkway in front of our small-town house, steps led down to the street sidewalk with a nice place to sit on either side. Beneath them, chipmunks made their home. It was a safe place away from the neighborhood cats! I had learned to sit very still, up toward the house, to watch them scampering back and forth. I wondered what they saw as they looked about at the world towering over them!

We people upon this earth come from such rich and varied backgrounds! Like the birds and the chipmunks which I watched, we each have our own unique perspectives. I’m reminded of the story in Acts 2 about the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles. People from all nations and speaking many different languages were in Jerusalem during the celebration of the harvest festival, known as the Feast of Weeks (Shavout). Can you imagine the crowds gathered and the diversity of the people?! Hear the shouts and voices of people making their way about the city. See the variety of clothing. Smell the aroma of foods cooking…

Then a great roaring rush of wind drew the crowds to where the apostles and followers of Jesus stood. Can you sense their amazement and confusion as they heard, from these uneducated men, the “wonders of God” in their own languages? … And thousands became followers of Christ from this one encounter.

One thing that I had never really thought about was that these very people, from all nations, then came together. They lived, ate, and worked together in their shared humanity. Their very differences were their strengths… Isn’t that so true for us as well?

I try so hard to consider the perspective of others and what might be influencing or affecting them. Some days are just more challenging than others, aren’t they?! It’s my prayer for us today that God will help us to better consider the perspectives of others and to acknowledge our common humanity. Can you see the people? Can you hear the sounds of life? Can you smell the rich aroma?

 

(Small) Treasures

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“Wow! Look at that!”

“Hey, let me see too!”

When my brothers and I were growing up, my parents always encouraged us to look, to explore, to see, and to learn about nature and things around us. I remember the fun times we had looking at things through a magnifying glass or my older brother’s microscope. Camping trips in our pop-up tent camper were memorable family times full of new sights and sounds.

That curiosity and appreciation for God’s creation continues with me today. I love the warm-weather months when I can be outside more …despite the allergies! Flowers, birds and other wildlife, vegetable and herb gardens, fruit trees, and more, bring me great pleasure. As I mow my yard, I often mow around the tiny wild flowers (aka weeds) and see my neighbor smile as I do so. That is what inspired the poem I wrote a few years ago, Just a Weed, and also led to the naming of this blog.

When God finished creating the world, he looked around at all that he had made, and it was very good! When I think of myself as the tiniest speck in a vast universe, I am in awe like the psalmist who, when he considered the heavens, wondered why God would notice us or care about us. I am overwhelmed that he sees my small self as His precious jewel!

Thinking from that perspective and considering the world around me helps me to notice others and to value each life. Whether struggling with self-image or frustrated with what life is throwing at me, I remember that we are God’s treasure and are wonderfully made! Just as we gaze through a magnifying glass or microscope and discover amazing worlds, God gazes into our deepest being, sees our imperfections, and loves us.

*Genesis 1:41, Psalm 8, Psalm 139:13-14

I Saw a Rock

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I saw a rock the other day
And tossed it to the side
It’s just a bit of gravel
Hindering my work

Ah hah, a child exclaimed
As he passed along and saw
It’s a treasure shining brightly
Bringing smiles and warm in hand

I saw a rock the other day
Dirty muddy in the way
A great boulder in my path
What a bother to go around

Ah hah, the builders said
As they spied that handsome stone
It’s just the thing we’re searching for
And fine addition to our new home

I saw a rock the other day
And tripped over it as I sped by
Why is that here and in my way
I have a lot to do

Ah hah, sighed another
Seeing the smooth worn slab

It’s just the help I need
A perfect fit to fix my steps

I saw a rock the other day
And took a second glance
A shining treasure
Firm foundation
Help along the way