Friday, July 31, 2009

Child-like Silliness

The Friday Five from RevGalBlogPals:

Today’s Friday Five celebrates the spontaneous child in all of us… or at least the one that we admire in someone else:

  1. On a scale of 1-5, with 5 being I can’t do this now; I am about to jump into a pit of plastic balls at the mini-mall and 1 being I can’t do this now until I can get all of the fonts on my blog to match – where are you?I'm not sure I understand or agree with the question. Is the question asking how child-like I am? I still like to play, but I don't play in the same way that I did when I was a child. I don't play with dolls anymore; I play with color and light. I do think I still have a sense of play, of having fun. I think it's fun and playful to make the font match on my blog! I probably never liked jumping into a pit of plastic balls.
  2. What is the silliest/most childlike thing you have done as an adult? I remember meeting Steve, his brother, our boys and his boys in the park one Saturday a few years ago. We stayed a long time and played on the swings. I still love swings!
  3. Any regrets? About what? Swinging? No. In life? Sure. Growing up? No, I like my age now. I wouldn't want to be a child or a teenager again.
  4. What is the silliest thing you have ever seen another adult do on purpose? I thought this would be an easy question. I'm trying to think of something silly that an adult has done on purpose. Hmmm. I do have a picture of a friend wearing a very strange rubber head covering at Starbucks. That looks kind of silly. I have a husband and friends with pretty intense senses of silliness, and we laugh all the time - maybe that is the silliest thing I see adults do on a regular basis -- make each other laugh.
  5. What is something you wish you had done when you had the chance? I've sat here 2 or 3 minutes trying to think of something. If I can't think of something, does it mean I don't have child-like impulses, and don't regret that, or does it mean that I've followed through with my impulses, so I haven't missed anything? Or does it mean I have a bad memory? Probably the latter. Oh, wait. We went ice skating with the church a few years ago. Steve skated, and I watched. I kind of wish I had tried it.
BONUS: For our ‘I told you so’ sides – what thing did you skip doing and you’re really glad you did!I didn't ride the Drop Zone at Kings Island because I was sick. I didn't like being sick, but I don't regret not riding it!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chiming in

Our office is designed with an outer office having a door to the hallway. Off of the outer office are three other offices, a copy room and conference room.

Whenever someone comes in, the door chimes. No one can sneak into our offices!

The three of us who work in the attached offices can't see the doorway to the hallway from our desks. If the administrative assistant who works in the outer office is not at her desk, then the other three of us have a habit of saying , "It's me" when we come in. It's a courtesy which allows the rest of us to not worry that someone has come in who needs help from us. (It's also bad grammar, but we'll ignore that.)

Today, as I went in and out, saying, "It's me," it occurred to me that our relationship with God is in some ways mirrored by this action.
  • We all recognize each others' voices. I don't need to say, "It's Kim." I'm known enough by the other three in the office that they know who "me" is. God knows who "me" is.
  • There is a moment of gladness when someone comes back in. We're welcome in the office. God, too, is glad when we come in.
  • As I mentioned, no one can sneak into the office. We can't sneak into God's presence. Whether we announce ourselves or not, he knows where we are.
  • The instinct when we hear the chime is to be available to help. God wants to help. He is available to all of us.
What reminds you of God? Where do you see him in the world? What chimes of his presence to you?

Image: Sunset through the window outside the restaurant in Wilmington.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009


I was reading a blog post on Enter the Rainbow about Faith and Doubt.

Consider the situation of a person who is ill who prays for healing. If the person is healed, he give praise to God. Faith. If he is not healed, what happens? Is there doubt?

To me this is a nagging question. On 9/11, when there were some who survived, there were comments that people were saved because God had a purpose for their lives. He didn't have a purpose for the ones who died? That doesn't make sense to me.

I think we have to be careful with what we say.

I believe in miracles, but I think the dramatic kind are much more rare than we think they are. I think God is active in our lives more than we think, but the big things -- perhaps less often in the dramatic way we envision. More than that, though, I think we have to be very careful assuming that we understand the motivation of God, and sometimes we need to accept that the laws of nature are at work, without divine intervention.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Storm on the horizon

I was reading a post by Songbird. She was talking about seeing a dog that reminded her of a dog who is no longer with her. A sentence she wrote caught my attention:

It's a sort of thundershine, the remembering of something lost, the recognition that some times and people and loves in our lives cannot come back yet have the power to appear as sharply as the little storm on the horizon, summoned by the senses.
That rang with reality for me. Haven't you had that happen? Haven't you been surprised by the memory of a time in your life, a project you had a part in, or even the spirit of a loved one? The thought come unprompted and as a surprise, and bloom in your mind at superspeed, bringing longing and grief?

I've never thought of it as thundershine, whatever that is, but the phrase, "a little storm on the horizon, summoned by the senses" makes sense. Summoned by the senses, or a memory, or an unrelated conversation.

Like a storm, the memory drifts away in time, and the remembrance of it is not as sharp once again.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Perfect Shells?

I've collected shells at the beach before; probably everyone who has walked on a beach has taken home memories in the shape of shells. In past years, I've collected ones that looked perfect -- whole and complete. I remember picking up what I thought was an interesting shell and then putting it back on the sand with regret, because it was broken.

This year, I changed what I did. I collected shells that were caught my eye because of shape or color. I didn't return any that were broken -- and almost all of them were.

So, for instance, in the image to the left, the circular pattern of the shell, which caught my attention, is only the top of a spiral shell -- the rest is missing.

As I was collecting the shells, I was thinking of it as a reminder of imperfection. God doesn't require us to be whole, complete, perfect. He loves us for our interesting colors and shape, and keeps us, regardless, or in spite of, or maybe because of our brokenness.

The shells are in a glass jar in my office as a reminder.

God goes a step beyond what I can do with seashells. He loves us into wholeness, so maybe the shells will remind me of that, too.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Year of Jubilee

I taught Sunday school today. It was based on the Adult Bible Studies lesson for the day -- Leviticus 25. We spent some time talking about the Year of Jubilee. This chapter describes the instructions God gave the Israelites to allow the land to lie fallow each seventh year (Sabbath year) and each 50th year, to allow slaves to go free and land to return to the original owner.

The idea is foreign to us, and actually, there is no evidence that the instructions were ever put into action. To do this, we must accept that all that we have been "given" belongs to God; not to us.

I linked the idea of a Year of Jubilee to stewardship and freedom. Not a very big leap, and in fact, part of what the lesson book discusses.

At the end of the time, I talked about how the year of Jubilee relates to forgiveness. We had already gotten into the idea of forgiveness of debt and how the scripture discusses the Day of Atonement.

I presented the idea of God's salvation through Christ as Jubilee. We live in the Year of Jubilee every day -- giving all of our gifts to the service of God.

Is that a strange leap? Does that make any sense?


Saturday, July 25, 2009



Friday, July 24, 2009

Growing up

I just read a post on Fallible that talks about her journey with her daughter as she has grown up. It struck a chord with me.

I remember when G was born (of course I do -- silly statement). Steve and I were in the NICU with him, changing his clothes. We were so afraid we were going to break him! And as the time came to bring him home (he stayed a week in the hospital), I remember thinking that we had NO idea how to take care of a baby -- what in the world were we doing?

We took it one day at a time, and amid the fear and worry, he kept growing. We didn't break him (so far). Each day goes by, and we don't usually notice that he is getting older as he stands in front of us.

The fear of dropping him on his head has receded, just to be replaced by other worries.

Now he's driving. He's going out without us. How did this happen?

Dropping him on his head seems alot less worrisome that these present day concerns.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Grace through anger

In a comment yesterday, Bob mentioned how anger can separate us from God. I can see that. I also think, though, that our assumptions are often wrong when it comes to our relationship with God.
When we are angry with someone, we do feel apart from him/her. Because of that, we assume that our anger removes God from us -- that it creates a wall in our relationship.
Hang with me for a moment. The picture above is of the beach as it rained one morning. Usually, the sand under the umbrellas is darker than the rest of the sand -- in shadow. That morning, it was the opposite -- the sand under the umbrellas was dry and lighter than the wet sand in the rain. With God, there are many times when his reality is the opposite of ours.
There are times when anger is a response to our efforts to work through something that brings us pain. We might be angry with someone else or with God. It's a dark valley through which we walk and is necessary to reach the other side. There have been times in my life when anger has proceeded forgiveness and healing. I wasn't angry with God, but he was certainly present in the walk I was traveling.
While we might assume that anger separates us from God because it does create a wall between people, I think that if we allow it, even in times of anger with God, he can use that to move us through to recovery -- to the other side of anger. God never give up on us. His love is stronger than whatever emotion we might throw at him.


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Cup of Grace

A phrase in a recent sermon by Jeremiah caught my attention. He said that sometimes our cup of grace is low.

I'm familiar with the idea of a cup which overflows, but I've never thought of the metaphor of a cup of grace which is low. As he said it, though, I knew it can be true at times.

What depletes your cup of grace? Fear. Failure. Fear of failure. Feelings of inadequacy, loneliness, or insecurity. Grief. Tiredness. Boredom. What else?

Perhaps the solution to this reality is found in the Greatest Commandment -- to love God and to love each other. In building our relationship with God, we find grace. In experiencing the love of others, we find grace. In serving God, in serving each other, we find grace. Words of encouragement, acts of service, SEEING and HEARING each other; in these ways we find grace.

And the cup overflows.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The Internet connection at the beach was very unreliable. I haven't been able to post for a couple days. We're home now, and I've backposted a couple of images.

The one today is of a sunset on the beach. Steve and I were enjoying an evening after dinner, sitting on the beach. The sun was setting. I hadn't brought my camera down with us. I just kept ignoring the sunset, but glancing at it, making up excuses to not go get my camera.

Steve, noticing what I was doing, handed me his, and I walked down the beach, taking pictures. I'm so glad I did. It was a beautiful sunset.


Monday, July 20, 2009



Sunday, July 19, 2009



Saturday, July 18, 2009


Great things about vacation:

  • Family time
  • Converation with my son about how he sees sketches in his head.
  • Time with my husband, walking on the beach.
  • Miniature golf, with G critiquing its creativity.
  • The beach, especially in the evening.
  • Lots of pictures, waiting to be taken
  • Sitting in a chaise lounge by the pool in the evening.
  • Ocean
  • Someone makes the beds

Happy 22nd Anniversary, Steve!

Image: Seagull, taken from the balcony


Friday, July 17, 2009

Watching or taking part?

This afternoon, the waves on the beach were rough. There must have been a storm somewhere, because the surf "had more energy" than it had had earlier days this week. The guys and I went out to play. We must have looked kind of funny, yelling and laughing. My hair was a wreck, we all almost kept falling over. We had a great time.

As I was thinking about it, I decided that there is a similarity between that and worship. Worship should be participatory. To someone watching it, the worshippers might look kind of funny or odd. Worship is not something to be watched; it is something in which you need to take part.

People ask what the line is between worship and entertainment. When does worship become a performance? I think it is a performance when you just watch it, and you fail to either bring or be inspired to a response.

That response might be a silent one, or one that other people can notice, but you'll know that you are no longer watching, but are a part of the worship.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Tuesday's Image

Image for Tuesday's post.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Hey! Got a picture loaded. Sunrise this morning from our balcony.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009


We're at the beach. We have internet access in our room, but it is horrible. I have a picture which inspired this post, but I'm not sure I'll be able to upload it. I'm not even sure I'll be able to post the words, but we'll see.

Picture in your mind a man walking on the beach with a metal detecotr. He's also carrying a large handle scoop to be used to sift sand, hunting for his treasure. He just walks and sweeps the detector, looking for who knows what.

What kind of treasure does he hope to find? Why spend so much time hunting for what you don't even know exists, and probably won't find?

Do we do that? Do we hunt for that which isn't very valuable? Do we try to fill what is missing with what we don't need while ignoring the pearl without price?


Monday, July 13, 2009

Good Grief

I'm on an email list called "Sound Bites." Each day, I receive an email with a short thought to consider. Last week sometime, one arrives about grief and mourning. It was a quote from someone named Brenda Wilbee, published in Guideposts 2003. She talks about the idea that our Christian community will sometimes discourage us from mourning, but saying things like, "It was God's will," or that our loved one is in heaven -- why be sad?

Is it true that sometimes we are told that grief is unChristian? That lamentation "reveals a bankrupt faith?"

I get pretty angry when I hear phrases like, "God needed another flower in his garden" and "God had need of him in heaven."

I don't believe God takes our loved ones from us. I believe people die. I'm grateful they go to be with God, but that doesn't eliminate my grief.

Have your read the psalms? Have you noticed Job in the Bible or Lamentations? There is a time to cry. Blessed are those who mourn. In grief, we can find God, just as we can find God in joy, in laughter, and in every part of life, but I don't believe that God causes pain to make himself known.

I think that we are not safe in this life because we are Christian. I don't believe that we will escape sadness. I do believe that we will be comforted, that we will know God, that we will have strength we didn't realize we had.

Jesus cried. It's OK for Christians to cry, too.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Washed by the blood

I was listening to a Sunday school lesson today led by a young woman who had been a member of a Kairos team -- a Christian growth experience in prison.

She said that most of the prisoners she was around had been found guilty of drug related charges, but that a few were crimes like murder. She confessed that she had been able to overlook the former "sins" but not the latter ones, and that bothered her. She confessed that she was disappointed by her own judgmental nature.

She wanted to have the eyes of God, who didn't see any of the sins because of the blood of Jesus.

We are all sinful, but God doesn't see the sin. He sees the person. He sees the lovable child he created. He aches for the sin, and for the pain is causes, but the blood of Christ has washed away the guilt and removed the sin.

It was a moment of grace for me.

On an unrelated note, go check out this sermon by Songbird, Adopted by God.

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Saturday, July 11, 2009



Friday, July 10, 2009


I was listening to a sermon today focused on the idea of finding out what we don't know that we don't know.

Don't worry. I'll just leave it at that.

The minister -- let's call him Jay, since I didn't catch his name -- told a story about a friend of his. It seems that the Jay had a bad habit of interrupting -- "my story is better than your story" kind of habit. The friend, Frank, finally told Jay that he was a horrible listener, and that his listening habits reflected that Jay didn't care for anyone except himself.

I've said before, and I believe it to be true, that listening is a form of love. We listen when something or someone is important enough to motivate us.

This is an extension of that theory that I hadn't considered before. Perhaps there are times when no one is more important to us that us. I guess I've never verbalized the idea that not listening is a form of selfishness, but I can see Frank's point.

I've known people who are like that, and at times, I worry that I am like that. I hope I am a good listener. Sometimes, maybe, I am. Other times I get in the way of that kind of grace.

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Perspective and Joy

One of the lectionary readings this week is 2 Samuel 1-5; 12b-19. This reading contains the passage the describes David dancing as the Ark of the Covenant is brought to Jerusalem. David dances:

David and all the house of Israel were dancing before the LORD with all their might, with songs and lyres and harps and tambourines and castanets and cymbals.
I love the description -- the total joy and celebration of it. I love how the passage says, "David danced before the Lord with all his might..." It's total abandon, it's communion with God. It must have given God pleasure.

And then there is Michal. She is Saul's daughter and David's wife. She watches him dancing, and she despises him. Pretty strong words. (I'll sneak in the comment that she might have felt differently if she had been dancing, too).

I've always thought that passage made Michal sound petty and like a wet blanket -- mean and hateful, as well. I read a blog post today about this passage.
David and Michal had such a complicated history. Imagine the torture of being married to someone you love, realizing your father hated him, realizing your father GAVE you to someone he hated, losing him, getting him back again sort of, and then watching him dance into town exposed to the world?
Read the entire post by Songbird here.
The post reminds me to remember that there is always more than one viewpoint in a situation. I may not always agree with someone else's perspective, but it is important to remember that it is valid, and it exists.

I still love the joy!

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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Fire and Deadlines

There are several species of plants in Australia that have seed cases so hard that only a bush fire will provide the necessary heat to open them.

I knew about plants like that, or had heard rumors about them. As I was driving home today, I was listening to a podcast that compared this kind of seed release to the pressure of a deadline.

Sometimes I'm like that. Sometimes I put things off longer and longer until only the fire and heat of a deadline will make me get to work. Are you ever like that?

Sometimes God is like that. I have knitted two prayer shawls -- ever -- and both times it was like the heat of a fire, pushing me to complete them. Now now now.

I'm glad God's not always like that. He would wear me out!

Image: Flower and bee from today.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Have you ever read a passage of scripture, in a casual sort of way, and have a phrase just jump out at you and say something it has never said before?

One of the lectionary readings for last week was Mark 6:1-13. Verse 10 caught my attention:
He said to them, "Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place.
When I read that phrase last week, it said to me, "Focus." Stay with something until you finish it. Listen. Focus on what is being said to you, blocking out distractions. Give what is in front of you your attention.

Do I do that? Not nearly as often as I should. I'm sure people notice when my attention wanders, because I notice it when other people's attention wanders. I know how it feels, and I need to remember to give other people the grace of my focus.

Stay until you are finished.


Monday, July 06, 2009

Exude Grace

A year or two ago I was team-teaching a book study. I don't remember which book we were studying at the time, but we started talking about grace (maybe it was Yancey's What's so Amazing about Grace). There were some in the class that believed that grace only came from God -- that we could not experience God's grace through someone else.

I think part of this opinion is the the idea that forgiveness = grace. To me, forgiveness is a part of grace, but grace is bigger. For me, grace is the love of God.

In the sermon on Sunday, Jeremiah used the phrase "exudes grace" to describe someone. To exude is to ooze or to display abundantly. I like the image of oozing grace. To ooze something is to overflow, to be unable to contain something.

I think the grace of God can come to us in so many different ways that it would be impossible to count them. I definitely think God's grace can ooze onto us through other people.

I think that might be a goal: to exude grace.


Sunday, July 05, 2009


We took at look at the Ten Commandments today in Sunday school. The lesson looked briefly at each one.

The class seemed to get stuck on the idea of not taking the name of the Lord in vain. We touched briefly on the idea of using the name of the Lord to support actions which are all our own, and not in line with God's will. The conversation then turned abruptly to the idea of speaking God's name in vain. The class spent a large amount of time lamenting this reality in society and how we don't speak out against it.

We finally moved on, and made it to the idea of keeping the Sabbath. The discussion turned to Blue laws, and how awful it is that stores are open on Sundays.

I was bothered by the whole conversation. Where is the self-examination? Why do we spend so much time talking about the faults of society and not claiming any responsibility? Why is it that we don't look at the Ten Commandments and seek to discover how we can align ourselves more to the laws of God? Why don't we speak of grace? Why would we spend the 45 minutes of Sunday school talking about everybody else?

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Saturday, July 04, 2009


Friday Five from RevGalBlogPals:

What state is my closet in? Much too crowded, much too small, but here are the questions:

  1. Are you a hoarder, or are you good at sorting and clearing? Once I set my mind to it, I am good at sorting and clearing, and I love the result once I do. My problem is finding the time, and finding the motivation to do it. One of my problems with keeping everything neat is that I have too much stuff. Once I get rid of things, everything becomes easier. Until then, I am overwhelmed.
  2. What is the oddest garment you possess and why? I own gloves with no mates, because I always hope to find the other one. I think I have a coat liner with no coat; it just seems odd to get rid of it. Surely it belongs to something. Other than that? I don't know.
  3. Do you have a favourite look/ color? Favorite look? That presupposes that I had some kind of "style," which I don't. I like black with bright colors. My favorite color all around is blue, but I probably wear more black than blue.
  4. Thrift/ Charity shops, love them or hate them? No idea. I've never tried one.
  5. Money is no object, what one item would you buy? Can women buy custom made suits? I love suits, but don't seem to be able to buy them "off the rack."

Image: House wren from backyard. I love the expression on his "face." (Edited -- house finch, not wren)


Friday, July 03, 2009

Bird Watching

Click image to see close-up. I spent some time this morning in our backyard with our camera, swinging and snapping pictures.


Thursday, July 02, 2009


The following is a devotional I just wrote for our church's devotional ministry.

Fourth of July weekend. Fireworks. Stars and stripes. Independence Day. Flag flying high. Freedom. It all paints a picture in our minds, doesn’t it? You have freedom as our society defines it. You are free to speak your mind, to worship as you believe, to travel as you wish. All of that is precious and wonderful.

Picture something else for just a moment.

When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written:
‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
(Luke 4:16-19)
What holds you captive? Is it fear of failure? Is it the heaviness of sin? Is it worry about rejection? Do you think you do not have the gifts you need to do what God is calling you to do? Are you trapped in a relationship that isn’t healthy? Does loneliness weigh upon your heart? Is anger your companion? What keeps you from the freedom of life in Christ?

Perhaps it is time to declare your dependence upon God. Could it be that you need to hear his proclamation of release?

Hear the good news. You are free from sin, from anger, from fear. You are no longer captive to those burdens that threaten to overwhelm you. You are loved and set free by grace. God has set you free.

You're free to dance
Forget about your two left feet
And you're free to sing
Even joyful noise is music to Me
You're free to love
'Cause I've given you My love
And it's made you free
I have set you free!
(Chorus from Free by Ginny Owens)


Wednesday, July 01, 2009


So, we now have a super majority in the Senate. No filibusters. Perhaps less difficulty for the president when he wants to pass legislation. Is that a good thing? I wonder sometimes if the best product will arise when there is tension -- when there is a necessity for compromise.

When I worked in a lab, I was responsible for making sure that the work we did in the lab complied with all legal regulations as well as departmental rules. That meant that I often had to complete long and complicated forms, explained what we planned to do, proving that we had done the research necessary to support our hypothesis, and demonstrating that we either had the training we needed to conduct the research or that we had a way to obtain it. One form, uncompleted, was 17 pages long. When I began to fill it in, it expanded to over 20 pages. Awful. These were terrible forms to complete. One thing I could say about them, though. They meant that we had to think through what we planned to do -- if you have to prove that you can support the hypothesis with previous research, then you have to do it. Each year more rules and questions were added, but I suppose, in the end, because of the tension of the work being reviewed by a committee for approval, the end project was better.

In the 2 Corinthians passage that is part of the lectionary this week, includes the following (Verse 12:7b):

Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated.
Something I read today suggested that for some of us, that thorn can be another person. Have you ever thought of your thorn as being another person? We are placed in proximity to people we might not choose to be in ministry with, but can we sometimes see that there are benefits to that? Is the end product of ministry better because of the tension of working with someone with whom you do not agree?

Could be....(doesn't mean I have to like it)

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