Spring Cleaning

Here’s a sure sign of spring.

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Flip-flops and capri shorts and hanging out on the deck.

So that means it’s time for some spring cleaning.

Luckily, I had a little help this weekend.

We polished the mirrors.

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We dusted the end tables.

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We vacuumed the carpets.

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Evie pointed out where I missed a spot.

She’s helpful like that.

Then we organized the cupboards.

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With all the extra help, the chores were done in no time.

Maybe I worked her too hard.

9:30 a.m. is a little early for an afternoon nap.

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Half A Cup

coffee cupWhen I was seven years old, our family went to New York City.  One of my memories from that trip was having breakfast at a small diner in Manhattan.  My wide-eyes had never seen anything like it.  The waitress was yelling out orders, the cook was yelling right back, people were yelling for more coffee…it was New York City mayhem at it’s finest.  There was more noise and chaos in that little place than I had seen in all my seven years on the farm.  At one point, the waitress was moving so fast that she knocked over a tray of empty coffee cups.  She picked up one cup that was broken clean in half down the middle, held it up in the air and shouted, “Who wants half a cup?!”  The customers broke out in laughter and cheers, so we did too.  When in New York……

I thought of that story the other day when I was reading Philippians 3.  This is such a great chapter that I’m putting some of it to memory, starting with verse 10. “I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection…”  Coming off of Easter and a fresh sense of wonder and awe at Christ’s resurrection, this verse sends goose bumps up my spine.  What would it be like to really know the kind of power that could take a dead, beaten, bloody body and breath life back into it?  Wow.  Count me in — I want to have that Very. Same. Power.

Verse 10 isn’t done, though.

“….and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings…”

Wait.  What?

Hold on just a second.

Power?  Yes, please!

 Suffering?  *crickets*

Who wants half a verse?

Like the shattered cup, half holds nothing.

True power rises up out of true suffering.

And actually, our hurts and disappointments are just a share of what Christ suffered….

and honestly, fellowship thrives when brothers and sisters carry each other’s burdens.

Jesus took the whole cup.

I should, too.

Farther Along

 

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I borrowed a line from my son on Easter Sunday:

“The resurrection was the greatest fourth quarter comeback in history.”

If that’s the case, then the 50 days between the resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was the longest post-game wrap-up ever.

Those poor disciples.

They spent most of their three year internship with Jesus a few steps behind.

“Jesus said to them, ‘Don’t you understand?'” (Mark 4:13)

“Do you still not understand?” (Mark 8:21)

“But they did not understand what He meant and were afraid to ask Him.” (Mark 9:32)

“They kept asking, ‘What does He mean?  We don’t understand what He is saying.'” (John 16:18)

For three days they hid out, fearing for their lives after the crucifixion of their Teacher.

For forty days, the resurrected Jesus popped in and out of their gatherings, alive and well and….unexplainable.

For another ten days they waited for……something.  Jesus said, “wait” so they hunkered down in Jerusalem not even knowing what they were waiting for.

Ten days.

That’s a long time for eleven men to sit around.

I hope one of them remembered Jesus’ words from their last meal with Him:

“You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.” (John 13:7)

I often feel like I’m two (or twenty) steps behind Jesus.  I wonder why He makes me wait so much.  I wish there were more explanations for the crazy things that happen in my life and in the world.

The disciples obeyed and waited and, before long, they “got” it.  That’s what it looks like to be a follower of the Risen Christ.  When I get a little farther along, more understanding will come to me, too.  I just need to keep moving along, to get a little farther than yesterday —

don’t stop, keep walking.

This week, this is my story, this is my song.

“Farther along we’ll know all about it.  Farther along we’ll understand why.  So cheer up, my brothers, live in the sunshine.  We’ll understand this, all by and by.”

“Farther Along” by Josh Garrels

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Play Ball

baseball

As a kid I wasn’t much of an athlete, although I tried.

In fifth grade I joined the girl’s summer softball team.  The coach put me in when we were getting creamed and there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth and it was getting late and he needed a sure out.  Thus ended my softball career.

In junior high, I went out for basketball.  I made a basket once.  For the other team.  I cried my eyes out in the locker room, even though we lost by twenty points.  So I hung up my sneakers for good.

In high school, I ran in the 440 relay.  My real reason for going out for track was because my voice teacher told me running would be good for my singing.  It was.  I lost every race but got the lead in the musical.

When I had kids of my own who showed an interest in sports,

I finally found my true calling.

I was a great fan.

That’s why today is such a great day.

In fact, today is a doubly great day.

This afternoon, I will tune in to watch the Milwaukee Brewers’ Opening Day of Major League Baseball.

Tonight, I will cheer on the Wisconsin Badgers as they play in the NCAA National Championship game.

I have never been so excited to spend hours in front of the television,

but then,

that’s my calling.

So Long, March

March is so long.

And full of madness.

I tend to slink through late winter by hibernating with a stack of books. I’m always happy to have made it through this stretch of days while waiting for real spring to show itself after some false starts.

But this year, March has been surprising.

First off, these guys came back to the Western Hemisphere, the North American continent, the US of A, the Midwest!

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Oh, and so did their parents!

For the first time in years, our kids are all within a few hours drive of each other.

Then, there are these guys.

777fd134-4456-3690-8268-c7d631510876Frank the Tank and the Wisconsin Badgers have made it to the Final Four.

March Madness is so much more fun when your team is winning.

Then there was this.

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PB and I got in the car one Friday morning and drove to St. Louis.  We saw our niece perform in a musical, ate some BBQ, and drove home the next day.  I love road tripping with PB.  He lets me pick out all the podcasts and music we listen to.  He lets me read out loud to him.  And sometimes he lets me drive.  While he sleeps, I put on the earphones and listen to the audio version of “Pride and Prejudice” because that’s where he draws the line.  

We were ready for a pit stop around Springfield, Illinois, so we stopped in at the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.  What a great place!

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We celebrated birthdays, our church gathered in small groups for Lent, I went without sugar for three weeks, I read six books.

Thank you, March.

You weren’t so bad.

Yes To ____

There’s something in my shower that has changed everything.

It’s not a gadget or a beauty product or a cleaning solution.

It’s a sticker.

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I’m not too particular about which lotions and soaps I use.

Awhile back, I picked up a cleanser called “Yes to Blueberries” because the label said,

“helps improve skin firmness, protect skin, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, and nourish age-damaged skin.”

I’m all for firmness and diminishing wrinkles.

I tried not to be too offended by the “age-damaged” part.

Plus, it was on sale.

Plus, I like blueberries.

Grapefruit and carrots are also on my “like” list, so I tried these.

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I can’t say for sure that I’m firmer or less wrinkly,

but there is a feature of these products that has had a huge impact on me.

The soap comes with a sticker that keeps the lid from opening.  So the other day, I grabbed my new bottle of Grapefruit Rejuvenating Body Wash that promises “soft skin with a natural glow” and pulled the sticker off.

Huh.

Some of my most meaningful prayers have come from reading labels in the shower.

This little two word sticker rejuvenated my spirit.

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This is the prayer of faith I’ve been trying to articulate!

God, today I say “Yes to ____

and You fill in the blank.”

Before I step out of the shower and begin the day,

before I know what the next twelve hours will bring,

before I have the chance to rethink and say “no” —

here’s my prayer:

“Yes to ______.”

Help me stand firm in the truth,

protect me from evil,

diminish my desire to sin,

and nourish my soul.

Keep my heart soft

and help me glow with the Spirit.

Amen.

Aha! Moment

stack-of-books

Hi.

I’ve been on a reading binge and it’s taking me awhile to come out of the stupor.

Since February 1, I’ve devoured 10 books.  My “Books Read in 2015″ list has gone wild.  This has got to stop.

With my nose in a book, February flew by, which was exactly what I hoped.  But today the sun is shining, the snow is melting, the windows are open and it’s time to get my nose back into real life.

I need to reintroduce myself to my kitchen, my laundry basket and my writing desk.  They miss me.

I’ve experienced it before: a God-ordained “Aha!” moment.

My thought: “Should I write in my journal tonight or read another book?”

Immediate impression: “Do you want to leave your grandchildren a list of books you read or a book of words you wrote?”

Ok then.

So I will slow my gallop through books to a trot and see if I can find a few words of my own.

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