Monday, December 24, 2012

The End of The World??? Not!

December 21, 2012 has come and gone and we're still here.  The Mayan calendar was wrong.  History is full of episodes such as this when people have given away or sold their belongings to go wait for the expected end of this world as we know it.  My insurance agent told me that she had people come into her office to change the billing on their policies so they could pay monthly.  The people hoped to spend less money, expecting the world to end... like spending less on insurance this month is going to be helpful.  I feel sorry for these people because of the anxieties and insecurities they must live with.  

So, for the time being, it's life as usual.  There are wells to dig around the world to provide people clean water.  There are people in need of jobs that will allow them to break the cycle of poverty.  There is sickness to heal.  There are births to celebrate and good-bys to be said to those whose time has come.  Life goes on.

The snow will fall this winter and spring will be here in a few months.  Some day, there will be an end of this world as we know it but we were told that we wouldn't know the time but that we should be ready.  So life goes on. 

May we all live each day as the gift that it is.  May we appreciate those around us that we share our journey with.  May we all have an attitude of blessing others instead of cursing. 

I've read a quote attributed to Martin Luther which goes something like this, "if the world was to end tomorrow, I would plant a tree today". 

The New Year comes.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Lesson From A Strawberry Plant

Summer started out for us with our usual wet weather and like a lot of other summers, when July rolled around, the weather changed and we went from wet to very dry with no rain at all for week after week.  We don't have to do a lot of watering, we don't have a garden because there's too much rock in the ground.  Our grass dries up and is ugly but bounces back with the rain.  Our strawberry plants are in tubs in front of the house and slightly under a top level of the house that juts out over the lower level so even when it rains, they need to be watered.

The plants have sent out runners, in search of soil to start new plants but good soil under the pots is almost nonexistent, it's where cement was spilled during the pouring of the foundation walls over thirty years ago and also has a layer of gravel.  Over the summer, as I walked by the plants and felt sorry for all the runners in search of good soil, it finally occurred to me that the runners drew the water and nutrients from the plants in the pots, not the bad soil.  The life was in the vine, sound familiar?

As summer has turned to fall and now we're in the midst of a hot election, I'm reminded to abide in the vine, to draw my needs from the Source.  I can look around at the economy, listen to the forcasts of what the world will be like if we don't elect the right candidate and I can worry OR I can abide in the vine.  I can be like the stawberry runners, I might find myself on top of a rocky, hard spot but I can draw from the Source.  And my Source doesn't depend on a human supply of water during dry times, my Source is never ending.  Check out John 15:1-8,

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

To Kill A Mockingbird

Books are like threads on the floor of my sewing room, one thread leads to another and another.  I like to read history when it sheds light on my own being and interests.  When I started researching Welsh quilts, I started reading about everything I could find related to Wales, the quiltmakers and the whole social fabric of Wales during the quiltmaking.  Welsh quilts led me to study the decorative patterns that people have used across history and that resulted in a collection of Dover books and some really awesome books published by British libraries.  When my dad was doing a family geneology, I got interested in Wiltshire, England where his forefathers seemed to have settled near a local landmark after crossing the channel in 1066 with a well-known Norman.  Anyway, when I get interested in something, I turn to books and so I have hundreds of them.  I have books about art, theology, jewelry, metalworking, design, history and so on and on but the one thing they all have in common is that they are all non-fiction. 

I haven't read a novel in years but that all changed when we were looking for something to watch on Netflix Instant one night and came across a documentary about Harper Lee and the only book she ever wrote, To Kill A Mockingbird.  My fascination with people and history took over as I watched the program and by the time it was over, Harper Lee was my new hero and I really needed to get  a copy of the book to read. 

Barnes and Noble was quick to meet my latest book fix but due to a busy life at the time, I wasn't able to start the book until this past Sunday evening.  I have had a very hard time putting it down, it's now Tuesday morning and there are now only five chapters left to read.  I know how the book turns out (because of the documentary) but that hasn't been a problem, the story is too spellbinding to let go.  All the characters have been introduced and have played their part in the story but it's not over yet.  The book is written from the perspective of a young girl nicknamed Scout and I really relate to her and how she  struggles to make sense of the world around her.

The part of the story that really touched me was the part leading up to the trial during which Scout's father, Atticus Finch, would defend a black man against an allegation from a white woman.  The ugliness of bigotry raises it's ugly head and Atticus is accused of being a 'nigger lover' by people in the community and his own family, some more discreetly than others.  It generally isn't said to his face but the purpose is clear, intimidation.  Atticus is expected to do the 'right thing' by the standards of a 1930's Southern town that generally sees black people as 'niggers', expected to stay in their 'place' and of course, the culture of bigotry has decided where that place is.  But Atticus puts together an awesome defense of the doomed Tom Robinson and cracks start appearing in the bigot culture but it won't be enough to help Tom, the change won't come soon enough to save him.

This book was written in 1960 about the 1930's but the book is timeless.  As I listen to the news, I hear verbal assaults on free speech by people with influence and power with the same purpose of calling Atticus a 'nigger lover' in the book, it's all about intimidation.  The message is the same "shut up and go along with the correct social agenda, do as you're told or you'll be called a bigot, a hate-monger".  The slurs are different but the message is the same.  Freedom to speak up and express ideas is so vital to the human community, without freedom of speech, we risk slipping into an intellectual dark ages.  (There is research showing that this has already started).

But a war of words won't solve the problem either and that's where I go back to the book.  Throughout the book, there are all sorts of characters who don't accept the racial status quo and abuse of the blacks and while they aren't the voice of the community, they stand firm and don't give up.  Scout's dad, Atticus has his hands full teaching his hot-headed little girl how to respond to the words and situation and it's an uphill battle, but Scout is experiencing new things along the way and building relationships with all sorts of people and even though I have five chapters to go, I can see that she's going to come out of this drama as a person I'd would want to know well. 

Thank you Harper Lee for writing this book.  I wish you had written more but I don't know how any book could follow To Kill A Mockingbird.

Monday, May 21, 2012

My 'Front'

My 'Front' is the the point where restoration faith meets the everyday brokeness of the world around us and my desire is to encourage.  The world is quick to spread bad news and hate but that isn't the way it was meant to be.  I want to spread good news and better yet, the Good News.

I'm on the verge of entering my 7the decade on this earth and I not only love history but I have a history that's all my own.  I see my life experience as a big jigsaw puzzle and while there's a lot of pieces still to be turned over, I still enjoy the moments in life when I read or hear something that turns over another piece and the big picture of life is revealed just a little more clearly.  These are often exciting and often challenging moments and I want to share them. 

So how is your 'hope' doing?  Do you have hope or do you feel like hope has been quenched by the circumstances of your life?

More to come.