• April 27, 2016 /  Uncategorized

    SAFF

    I was thrilled when my eldest son Seth found an apartment so close to my home. Ten minutes away to be precise. Not bad considering that he was offered a job in Seattle Wahington, which would require him to relocate far, far away.
    Too far in my estimation.

    Being a bachelor with minimal needs the move was relatively simple.
    He settled in nicely to his new quiet surroundings and enjoyed fast efficient internet service… an online workers dream come true.

    The funeral home Seth lives above is settled in a small town with a population of about 2,ooo. Folks die slowly in this town requiring about one funeral every couple of months. Perfect statistics for my funeral living boy. But then you have to add family to that funeral living equation.

    The first week my eldest moved into the funeral home just happened to be the week that a townsfolk decided to die. It just so happened that the family of the deceased wanted to grieve locally, and you guessed it, a funeral was birthed right under my son’s floorboards. Which wouldn’t be so bad but then you have to add family to that funeral living equation.

    The day of the funeral, during calling hours, it just so happened that two of Seth’s brothers were passing through town. Missing their big brother and also hungry for food these boys made a stop at the funeral home apartment.  What a pleasant surprise for them that when they climbed the front porch steps and reached for the knob of the large door, someone from the inside, kindly opened it for them, then welcomed them in.
    Impressed that Seth would have his own doorman, the boys entered a room full of nicely-dressed-in-black people, who stopped for a moment to gape at my two teenagers clad in sweaty hoodies and shorts. One son who was wearing his hoody pulled awkwardly above his head covering everything but eyes, entered with basketball in hand. Once the brothers realized that they had strode right into the midst of a funeral, they headed straight up the stairs to knock on Seth’s apartment door.

    “What are you guys doing here?” Seth stammered as he opened the door. “There is a funeral going on downstairs.”

    “Yeah, we know that now,” the boys piped up, “Holy crap, you should have seen how the people looked at us!”

    “What did you do?” Seth quipped, “Go up and knock on the front door?”

    “Oh, no, we didn’t have to do that! As soon as we got up to the door, an old gray-haired fella opened the door and let us right in!”

    “That would be my landlord guys…you know the one I just told that all I was looking for was a quiet lonely place to do my on-line work…and in walk you two…in the middle of my first funeral!”

    “That’s okay,” Ben pipes up, “We will just stay here till the funeral is over.”

    “Ah, oh no you won’t,” replies Seth, “It’s going on for a few more hours, and I have a ton of work to do.”

    Unmoved by their older brother’s despair the younger siblings headed to check out the contents of the fridge. After exploring the boring empty of a bachelor’s refrigerator, they begin to discuss an escape plan. Seth had mentally checked out at this point and was pacing the floor thinking about all the work he had to do and concerned what his new landlord was gonna think of him.

    Things suddenly grew quiet in Seth’s apartment which alerted Seth to danger.
    He had lived with these guys long enough to equate quiet with trouble.
    As long as there was banging and dribbling and arguing and laughing things were okay. But the absence of noise means red flags are flying at the Waterman’s house.

    Seth, being the oldest and the wisest of his nine siblings, headed to the last place he had seen the boys then followed their clues around which led him to the back-screened-in-second-floor-balcony porch.
    He pursed his lips in disapproval as he viewed his two younger brothers unscrewing the screens from the windows and heard Josiah explaining how they could jump from the porch onto the cement drive below. The younger more foolish brothers had rationed that it was only a 15-foot drop, and there was a good chance that grieving people inside would not notice.

    “You are not jumping out my window.”

    “Seth we can do this. It’s not that hard. We will jump out and go around the back, through the hedges, into the neighbors lawn and backtrack to our car.
    No harm, no foul. The end. Over and out.”

    “You are not jumping out my window.”

    Seth then grabbed the screens out of his brother’s hands and led them to his door. “Go down. Walk through. Get out.”

    Closing the door behind his younger siblings, Seth returned to his interrupted work, in his quiet funeral home, with his good internet. Which wouldn’t be so bad but then you have to add family to that funeral living equation.

    A half hour later Seth steps outside his second-story apartment door for a moment only to find his two visiting brothers perched at the top of the dark winding stairway.

    “What are you two still doing here!?”

    “Ahhhh, were kinda not wanting to walk through… let’s say… a FUNERAL again!”

    This dramatic climax is interrupted by the ringing of Seth’s phone.
    Seth’s last words to his brothers as he reaches to answer his cell were as follows…
    “Well figure it out and get out of here…just walk through and don’t make eye contact with anyone…and if anyone asks you what you were doing up here…tell them you were visiting the guy across the hall.”

    “Hi, Seth it’s mama! Guess what Bekah and I just found at the Salvo? A curtain perfect for your bathroom and a living room lamp!! We are coming through now, can we stop and drop them off?”

    Now my son Seth is a gentle giant. I can’t recall the last time I heard him raise his voice.
    He is calm.
    He is cool.
    He is collected.
    Even under stress.
    So I was quite surprised at the edgy sound of his voice after I ceased my cheery greeting in which I had eagerly disclosed my new found discoveries for his apartment.
    And I quote…..

    “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD…. DO NOT…. AND I REPEAT DO NOT….. STOP AT MY APARTMENT RIGHT NOW!”

    I turned to Bekah and said, “Eh, I’m pretty sure this isn’t a good time.”

    Then out came the story, the whole torrid story about brothers and dead people and screens and stairways. I listened and sympathized with my biggest kid.

    When we hung up the phone, I turned to his sister who was my designated chauffeur for the day and said, “Seth forgot to add family to that funeral living equation.”

    Well…. we had to go through Clyde anyways.
    It wouldn’t be out of the way.
    His funeral home apartment was right around the corner.
    I cracked a smile and glanced at Bekah.
    “Drive by his house real slow,” I chuckled.
    Then I sent a short little text to my son which read….
    “Seth, we could see the funeral is still going on.
    We will visit another time.
    We dropped the lamp, curtain and toilet brush on the front porch.
    It’s to the side so it shouldn’t bother anyone. Grab it when you get a chance.
    Love, Mama.”

     

     

     

     

     

  • April 26, 2016 /  Uncategorized

    distribution utility poles

    We are a big, busy family. Not only are we many, we are a noisy many.
    We are a noisy many living in the middle of the country off grid.
    Well, as off grid as it gets for me.
    New York State musta felt sorry for us country folk and decided to plow through installing power poles 4 times the size of their ancestors. Humongous giants now line our country roads every few yard whispering the promise of less frequent power outages, better phone lines and upgraded internet systems.
    ‘Tis a sight to behold for sure. After recovering from the initial annoyance of large-white-work-truck-traffic on my country road, I began to watch expectantly as those massive poles were rising…first to the North, then to the East, on to the West and finally to the South of my little country homestead.
    After a year, I began to see a pattern in these giants and wondered aloud to anyone in listening range, “Why  aren’t coming down our road????”
    I eventually learned the answer…they didn’t wanna.
    The planners of this project didn’t think it a necessity to run upgraded power lines down to 2 little houses perched on one end of Reed Rd.
    The supervisors in charge of this venture  decided they would install the new power lines 1/2 mile from us on each directional side and leave us alone.
    So our 2 little country houses continue to  have solitary electrical lines (about the size of a shoelace) strung from tiny tipping poles to each of the 2 houses that myself and my kids live in.
    My electric company was here this past winter and had to “cut the lines” so we could repair the electric in our house.  The worker turned off the electrical current in my line then asked me for a pair of scissors.

    Now this corporate decision wasn’t all bad.  I am okay with off grid.
    I have learned to store water, wood and candles for my country living.
    And I certainly can do without massive power lines trashing up my landscape.
    I feel very blessed that when I stroll down my section of country living that I am not walking under massive poles and lines, that resemble mama giants and their babies.  Really, they do.
    The company assigned to fulfill this order wasn’t required to remove the original poles…they just added “bigger and better” ones around them!
    Most sections of my country life look like playgrounds full of mammoth mamas and their babies attached by those child leashes that keep the kid going they way you want.

    So there is some good in the midst of one big problem. Those encroaching poles were the only hope my worker-at-home-on-the-computer-eldest-son had of getting some good, reliable internet connection, which would enable him to continue living here. Those hopes vanished with the revelation and my son set out to find himself a place where the coffee flows, the internet it abundant and the noise level is decreased.  And find it he did….at a funeral home.

    When Seth began writing and posting weekly “Whose Annoying Me the Most” lists on our family chats I should have seen the signs.  It had to be EXTREAMLY hard for Seth to keep up with his demanding online work while renting  a room in this house where…
    the busy never ends,
    the noise never stops,
    and the brothers never quit.
    Looking back I wonder if Seth slipped the supervisor of this “Power Pole Project” a Ben Franklin.

    The extremes in Seth’s living arrangements were drastic. I mean from us to a funeral home. We chat about it sometimes when he is not here and how our busy drove him to the edge. How our noisy pushed him to the outer limits.
    How he found it necessary to take such a huge leap to find refuge and solitude above a funeral home.  From the land of the living to the land of the dead.

    Look for my next blog post which will detail why Seth maybe shoulda looked for a funeral home in another state. 🙂

     

     

     

     

     

  • April 25, 2016 /  Uncategorized

    jesus-washes-feet_000

    It’s getting worse. I’ve had the 3rd major blow to my head since my original fall on March 21, 2015. My fears have quickly turned into realities as I hear myself stumble over words and phrases.  My kids say I sound like the clean version of a nasty song. My speech is broken and stalled. I leave a lot out. I hesitate and stop, groping to get my thoughts from my brain out of my mouth intelligently.
    I don’t like any part of my brain injury…this part I dislike most of all.
    I am a speaker and a writer. It takes some brain cells to connect written words on a page and make them interesting enough that someone else wants to take their valuable time and read. It takes a few more brain cells to stand in front of folks and preach the Word of God in a real and engaging way.

    I am a prayer and a praiser.  My ability to stand and sing, clap and dance, lift my hands and twirl, have all been hindered since my accident. I am well aware that with each subsequent blow I am being inhibited even more.
    I pray alone and together. I pray long. I pray hard. I speak out loud the Word of God in my many prayers.  Fumbling for words. Long breaks and pauses. Stuttering. Repeating words. Slicing the final syllables off of my words.
    Making up words. Slurring. All constant reminders that something has drastically changed in me.

    I am a mama of many children that need me. And I’ve become a disability.

    I don’t think I have ever asked “Why”…. though not a bad question.
    But I have said, “Lord, I just don’t get this. I’m not accident prone or stupid. These freak split second accidents, what’s up with this?  How in the world have I accumulated about a dozen concussions in such a short time period?”

    The answer I received can be found in the book of John. In chapter 13 Jesus is partaking in His last supper before heading out to His Cross. He lingers at the dinner table and rises to gird Himself as a servant and begins to wash each of His disciple’s feet. When Jesus comes to wash Peter’s feet, Peter turns aside, “No, Lord, this doesn’t make any sense?!” And Jesus answered His confused disciple with this… “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”

    Essentially Jesus was saying, “Peter, even if I tried to explain this to you, you wouldn’t get it.  You can’t realize now what I am up to but one day you will.
    You will understand it all. It will all eventually make sense.”

    I like the fact that Jesus so often talks to Peter and me the in same way.
    The answer to Peter’s confusion was the answer to my question.
    My “What’s up with this Lord” question was answered with a verse out of the Bible spoken to a disciple at the last supper.
    “What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter.”

    I wonder if my hereafter will be in this lifetime or in Heavens time.
    I ponder the severity of my case and I compare it to the glory of God.
    I lift my face to Heaven and let the Lord see my eyes because He likes it when I look right at Him.
    The I lay my aching head back on my pillow content to know the love of God that is found in Jesus Christ. Thankful that He answers me when I call.  Glad that He has a plan. Joying in the fact that nothing in my life is wasted. And looking forward to the day when I will have all the answers laid out in front of me.

    So for today my hurting head, blurry vision and messy speech can rest in an answer with a promise. I know that one day this difficult time in my life will make perfect sense to me. The veil of mystery will be removed and I will see clearly. And I will speak aloud the words that I have been practicing in my dizzy head “Perfect Lord, You were so spot in! That was a genius work! You couldn’t be any right-er in Your choices. You are so wise in Your ways. Marvelous are Your works…and my souls knows it, right well.”

  • April 23, 2016 /  Uncategorized

     

    An athlete resting on a bench in the stands of a stadium

    I live in a house full of athletes. They like to play their games.
    They train and practice and workout so that when it’s game time they are ready for the fight. They arrive mentally and physically prepared to play hard, pay long, and win.

    It’s hard for them when they end up sitting the bench. Maybe they fouled out. Maybe they got injured. Maybe their teammates needed game time. Whatever the reason, the end result is the same, and it’s never any easier.

    Sitting the bench. Out of the game.  Watching from the sidelines. Being a part of the team but not on the court. Names on the roster but doesn’t get announced.

    As a mama, I know that bench sitting is character building.
    I understand the valuable life lessons in warming the seats. I quote to my kids Bible verses about perseverance and patience and endurance and steadfastness and contentment.

    As a bench sitter, I squirm in the midst of character building.
    I struggle through valuable life lessons while warming the seat. I quote to myself Bible verses about perseverance and patience and endurance and steadfastness and contentment.

    Being a part of the team but rarely in the game is a big blah place to be. I marvel as I watch basketball games on the T.V with my kids and I think aloud to anyone caring to listen, “Most of the guys on that team are sitting the bench! Week after week they go to these games and sit and watch while the starters run the court. They are plopped down on the sidelines while the game is played out in front of them!”

    Me and those bench sitters…we gots a connection.

    I have been a sideliner for about 13 months now. A brain injury will do that to you. It will pull you out of the game and sit you down. It will stop or severely limit your ability to play the game. And it will not answer you when you ask it “How long do I have to sit the bench?”
    I don’t think it can answer.
    I don’t think it knows.

    Sitting the bench has allowed me plenty of time to think of other bench sitters;
    Elderly folks, shut-ins, people with chronic pain or terminal illness.
    Those with debilitating mental disorders.
    The kid that is bullied.
    The person in a wheelchair.
    The homeless addict on the street.
    Those in prison.
    The lonely all alone one.
    Bench sitters.
    Following is a list of Biblical bench sitters.
    And also, instruction for the  able-bodied game players.
    “I was hungry, and you fed me.
    I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink.
    I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.
    I was naked, and you gave me clothing.
    I was sick, and you cared for me.
    I was in prison, and you visited me.

    Father God cares deeply and intimately for the bench sitter.
    If you yourself are on the side-lines take heart!
    His watchful eye is upon you.
    If you are still a starter in the game be encouraged by the very words of Jesus,
    “I tell you the truth when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

     

     

     

     

  • April 12, 2016 /  Uncategorized

    scott
    This is the fourth in a series of short blogs
    about the authenticity of the Bible. Today’s topic
    deals with the appropriateness of the books that
    made it into the Bible. That list of books, 27 in
    the New Testament and 39 in the Old, is called the
    “canon.” Today we’ll look just at the Old
    Testament, the Jewish “Torah.”
    The Old Testament as we know it has existed since
    about 400 years before Jesus. That’s when the last
    book was written by the prophet Malachi during the
    reign of the Persian King Artaxerxes. The Jews
    count 22 books instead of 39 because they combine
    many books together but, 22 or 39, the content is
    still the same. There undoubtedly existed
    religious Jewish works that did not make it into
    the Torah, but by the time of Jesus, it’s clear
    that the OT canon had been well established.
    Jesus, Paul and Peter and the gospel writers all
    refer to “sacred scriptures” and quote extensively
    from the OT as we know it. Jesus gives a clear
    testimony to that effect in Lk 11:51:
    from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah
    who perished between the altar and the temple.
    Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this
    generation.
    Abel was the first martyr (Genesis) and Zechariah
    the last. His death is told of in 2nd Chronicles,
    which in the Hebrew order is the last book of the
    Old Testament, so Jesus was neatly book-ending the
    accepted canon of Hebrew scripture. Jesus also
    spoke of “the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms,”
    referring to the three Hebrew divisions of the OT.
    The accepted content at that time is exactly the
    content we have today.
    There is a group of 15 books called The Apocrypha
    that some church traditions have added to the Old
    Testament, but protestant and evangelical churches
    largely have not. As an evangelical pastor, I would
    concur with their exclusion for a host of reasons,
    but two are most prominent:
    1. They were not part of the accepted canon in
    Jesus’ day and, as we’ve seen, he excludes them in
    his summary of the Torah.
    2. Josephus, a 1st-century Jewish historian,
    specifically denounced the Apocryphal books:
    Our books, those which are justly accredited, are
    only twenty-two, and contain the record of all
    time. From King Artaxerxes [the days of the last
    prophet, Malachi] to our own time [Jesus day] a
    complete history has been written, but those books
    have not been deemed worthy of equal credit with
    the earlier records, because of the failure of the
    exact succession of the prophets.
    You can be confident that the Old Testament you
    read today contains the same books that Jesus
    read.
    Next month, the New Testament Canon.

  • April 1, 2016 /  Uncategorized

    mom-combing-hair-little-cute-blond-daughter-long-nature-51757187

    When I was a little girl growing up in the 70’s, I loved to run and play outside. The smell of wet leaves still reminds me of my childhood. I loved summer vacation from school. I would roll out of bed early and throw on my bell bottoms and tank top, rolling up my right pant leg so that my bell bottoms would not get stuck in the chain of my bike. I had super long and baby fine red hair so my mom would part my hair down the middle and twist it into two long braids that ran down my back.  My chores complete, I would head outside for the day along with my brothers and sisters with my mom reminding us not to come back in the house until we heard the noon whistle from the fire hall in town. After a quick lunch at noontime, we were back outside.  I was a tomboy who loved to climb trees, build forts out of scraps from the barn, ride bikes and play in the woods.

    After the mosquitoes and lighting bugs came out, the evening ritual began. Baths and bedtime. Even after all my mother’s attempts to tame my hair, I would come inside at the end of the day with my hair a tangled mess full of burdocks. As I sat cross-legged on the living room floor in front of my mom, I would brace myself. I knew it was coming. I started to whine before the pain even began. She would begin at the bottom, slowly unwinding my twisted tangled hair, pulling out the burrs as she went.  The more I wiggled and pulled away, the more Mom would hang tight, pull me down and ask me to sit still. The more I fought, the more it hurt. After the braids were untwisted and my hair free, my hair needed cleansing. My mom would use Faberge Wheat Germ and Honey shampoo and cream rinse to wash the day’s dirt away. Wheat Germ and Honey shampoo is another unforgettable childhood scent! When the ritual was completed, my hair was sleek, smooth and tangle free. I would love to run my fingers through my hair! My mom would smile at me and ask, “Why do you fight me? You know that it will only hurt more.  All  you need to do is sit still and allow me to do the work. And don’t you love the result?”

         Our Heavenly Father just wants to run His fingers through our lives, detangling our messes and pulling out the burdocks and weeds. He wishes to anoint us with His sweet Spirit, washing us clean and making us smooth, pliable and shining with His presence. The more we fight, the more tangled we become.  Luke 3:5 “Every valley shall be filled in, every mountain and hill made low. The crooked roads shall become straight, the rough ways smooth. Luke 13:13 “Then He put His hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.” Lord Jesus, I thank You for making our ways straight. Forgive us for fighting Your plans and for fighting Your ways. You just want to wash us and detangle our messes. Help us to sit before Your throne and lay our messes at Your feet. It is awesome that You expect nothing from us but stillness. You do ALL the rest. Please wash me today. Make my ways smooth. Take my burdens. Thank You Jesus! Amen!