Go West

PB and I took a little jaunt to the west, logging about 3,000 miles. We drove 80 mph through Minnesota and North Dakota (yawn) before hitting the Big Sky of Montana, where we slowed down to take in the stunning views.

If I wasn’t a Wisconsin girl, I’d want to be a Montana girl. Why?

Mountains.

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Mountains are my new favorite thing.

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I have 5,000 pictures to prove it.

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I also have 1,000 pictures of buffalos. (Or is it buffaloes? Or buffalo?)

Don’t get me wrong. I love the bluffs and rolling hills of Wisconsin.

But….

…mountains.

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“I lift my eyes up unto the mountains…” Psalm 121:1

May Lit List

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Pathetic.

One measly book read in May.

Measly: contemptibly small, meager, or slight;
wretchedly bad or unsatisfactory.

Here’s the deal — I started to read six other books last month
and abandoned them all.

Some were ditched by page four, but I hung in there with one book until page 150.

Just couldn’t take it.

These things happen.

“There comes a time
when you have to choose between
turning the page

and closing the book.”
(Josh Jameson)

I closed six books and added the titles to my
“Tried and Found Wanting” list.

So, in my despair, I did what any dedicated reader would do —

I picked up Wendell Berry to restore my soul,

and my faith in a good story.

10 Things I Learned in May

1. Things grow when it’s time. Even though May was colder than usual, wetter than usual and not spring-time-y as usual, the leaves still came, the grass still got green and the flowers still bloomed. It was time, and poor conditions couldn’t stop them.

2. Of all the spring flowers, I like the wild ones best. I don’t know their names, but I say “thank you” every time I drive by a ditch full of these beauties. I know from experience that they last about 15 minutes once they are picked. It’s best to just admire them and let them thrive on the side of the road.

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3. Quote of the month: “When God wants you, He knows where to find you. You need not go and push yourself to the front; the Lord will bring you to the front when He wants you. Oh, for grace to work on unobserved….and only to be noticed when the hour suggests the need, and the need makes a loud call for you.” Charles H. Spurgeon

4. This Spurgeon quote has caused me to do some deep pondering this month. The same theme keeps popping up, so I know I need to sit up and pay attention. As a true “T” (Thinker — Myers Briggs) I will continue to process this and talk about it when I’ve got it all figured out. It may be awhile.

5. The Bradley family (my mother’s side) hasn’t had a reunion for 45 years. That means a couple of generations of ancestors have passed on since the last gathering.  That also means a couple generations of descendants have never met each other. That’s all going to change in July.

6. If there are ten swear words in the first four pages of a book, I close it and add the title to my “Books Tried and Found Wanting” list. Call me a prude, but cussing turns me off. I think it’s possible to write good literature without stooping to gutter language.

7. That being said, I had an interesting conversation with my son about the Apostle Paul’s use of Greek swear words in his letters. Evidently, even Paul wasn’t above using language with some shock value to make a point.

8. I’m envious of my almost 2 year old granddaughter’s hair. Soft, wavy and the prettiest color red.

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9. PB is the most generous person I know. I’m so glad I get a front row seat to his unselfish giving. Sometimes it seems like he gives and gives for no return. But then there are other times when his kindness boomerangs back in big blessings. I’ve been on the receiving end of his kindness and generosity for 38 years. He’s my biggest blessing.

10. I’ve been writing here at “a small drop” since February 2010. That’s a long time in blog-years. I don’t have hundreds of followers and I haven’t made a cent. That was never my intention. I just wanted a place to hone some skills and, hopefully, encourage a few people. I’m not sure what the next step in my writing life will be, but I feel the winds of change blowing. “a small drop of ink” may become smaller over the summer as I pray and discern where the Lord is leading. Thanks for reading!

hello summer

Kentucky Wonder

My grandpa, Elmer G Biddick, spent a lot of time in cornfields. When he was 11 years old (1905) he sold his first bushel of seed corn from his father’s fields to his neighbors. By the time he was in high school, he had gone into business for himself. He was the first to grow his own hybrid seed corn in Wisconsin. He was quite a man with a long list of accomplishments.

But I remember Grandpa, especially at this time of year, for something else.

When I see packs of seeds at the garden center, I look for this one:

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Grandpa had a garden in his back yard and he always planted Kentucky Wonder Beans. I don’t know why. They must have been top quality and dependable, just like him.

When he was approaching 90 years of age,
I asked him what kind of birthday cake he wanted.
His answer: “Kentucky Wonder Cake”.

Those beans must have been really good.

God bless all the seed-planters and garden-growers this spring.

May all the gardens be wonder-filled.

“Now the Lord God had planted a garden…” Genesis 2:8

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Cryin’ Out Loud

“Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ ‘I tell you,’ he replied, ‘if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.'” Luke 19:39-40

I’ve never heard a rock say anything. They are usually pretty quiet.

As Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey, people became caught up in the moment. They cheered for Jesus, waved palm branches, laid a red carpet. As usual, the Pharisees were tsk-tsk-ing. The church leaders were repulsed by this jubilant show and told Jesus to rebuke his followers. Instead, Jesus rebuked them. He said, “If the people kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!”

Has it ever happened? Have the people God created ever been so silent in their praise for Him that the rocks just have to step in and give a shout? It did happen, just five days after the Palm Sunday party. Skip ahead to Friday at about 3:00 p.m. The Lamb of God took away the sins of the world, and the Lion of Judah roared from Zion, “It is finished!”

Then it was quiet.

Aside from a few weeping women and some soldiers milling about,
it was deathly quiet.

There was no “Hosanna!” or “Halleluia!” from the disciples.
In fact, there were no disciples.

There was no “Blessed be the name of the Lord!” from the crowd.
The crowd had gone home.

So the stones cried out.

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Matthew put it this way: “The earth shook and the rocks split.” The Greek word for rocks is petra, which means BIG rocks or boulders; not pebbles or skipping stones. Rocks were the only part of creation that got it! They heard the victory shout from the cross and couldn’t bear the silence, so they cried out until they split.

May the people of God never be silent! For cryin’ out loud, we can’t be shown up by a pile of rocks when it comes to praising our Risen Savior!

April Lit List

Here is the stack of books I read in April. My grandpa made that little stool for me when I was little. It still makes me feel special as I imagine him hammering in all those tiny nails.

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  • The Memory of Old Jack, by Wendell Berry — Old Jack Beechum is a Port Williams pillar, the oldest one left of his generation. His story is told through his memories, which become more real as he gets closer to crossing over to Jordan. His crusty exterior is explained by the disappointments in his life, but his tender heart keeps breaking through, making him one of Berry’s most endearing characters.
  • The Art of Neighboring, by Jay Pathek and Dave Runyon — The authors are pastors in Denver, Colorado, who asked their mayor, “What can we do to help our city flourish?” He responded, “The majority of issues that our community is facing would be drastically reduced if we could just figure out a way to become a community of great neighbors.” Huh. Sounds kinda like Jesus. You know, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Sometimes you need to hear it from the mayor. What if Jesus meant to actually love the people who live right around us?
  • 40 Days of Decrease, by Alicia Britt Chole — This book was a Lent devotional that I picked up on a whim and, boy, am I ever glad I did. It was deep and profound and made Lent extra meaningful. I will pull this one out again next year.
  • A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman — I’ve seen this title on several recommended reading lists, so when I noticed the book on the “7 day checkout” shelf at my public library one Thursday, I decided to see if I could conquer the deadline. It was a hefty 337 pages; I finished it on Saturday. It was light and easy, but I didn’t stop once to copy out something worth remembering.
  • Unoffendable, by Brant Hansen — I had this on my Lit List in February, but I read it out loud to PB in March and April. Don’t be surprised if you see it again in May or June. It’s that kind of book.
  • 24/6, by Matthew Sleeth, M.D. — I started this book last fall, got derailed, and picked it back up in April. “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” is the only commandment that begins with “remember”, as if God knew we would forget. And it seems we have. Dr. Sleeth points out that stopping and resting are part of God’s design for people to live well. I needed that reminder.

Happy reading!

A good book on your shelf is a friend that turns its back on you and remains a friend.

10 Things I Learned in April

1. I’m easily fooled. PB got me twice on April 1st.
PB: Sitting on Broadway with a flat. I’ll try to get back by 11:00.
Me: Oh no! Want me to come down? Hey, aren’t they new tires?
PB: No, I got it. They are!
PB: April Fools.
Me: Got me. (mad face emoji)
PB: 2nd one today, honey. Be more careful.
Me: I just trust you completely to never lead me astray.

2. Butter Pecan Creamer is pretty darn good. I know, I know, those creamers are full of chemicals and preservatives and calories and artificial flavoring. But I don’t drink Pepsi or Spotted Cow or 5 Hour Energy. This is my one indulgence. I refuse the guilt.

3. Eric Thames. Hottest hitter in baseball in April. For the Milwaukee Brewers. Nobody saw that coming, which makes it all the sweeter.

4. This is more in the category of something I’m going to learn. I ordered 20 pounds of Alaskan salmon. I’m going to learn to like salmon. My daughter and son-in-law have a side business selling premium quality Alaskan sockeye salmon, so, of course, we bought some. You should too. Check it out here. My grandchildren thank you.

5. Maundy Thursday was my favorite day this month. I thought about the evening service all that day, anticipating the quiet hour. It’s the best part of Holy Week for me because we simply spend sixty minutes sitting in a quiet sanctuary. Few words are spoken, soft music plays, people pray hushed prayers. We come to the table. God is present.

6. Sometimes I need to read a book three times. I read “Unoffendable” by Brant Hansen in February because lots of people seemed to be offended by lots of stuff. Then I read it out loud to PB in March and April because it was such a good message. Now I guess I need to read it for me.

7. Newborn baby boys smell just as sweet as newborn baby girls.

8. Jesus enjoyed a party. He was invited to lots of them because he was not a party dud. He turned water into wine at a wedding reception and kept the celebration going. Although 120-180 gallons of wine might have been overdoing it a bit. (Six stone jars, each holding 20-30 gallons.)

9. Spending part of a weekend with young women in their 20s and 30s made it pretty clear that I’ve bumped up a category or two. It was an honor to watch them take hold of faith and desire to live it out.

10. Quote of the month: “You go where you’re sent and you stay where you’re put and you give what you’ve got.” Jill Briscoe

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