Merry Christmas!

I can’t let Toenail Fungus be my last post for 2019, so I’m thinking about Jesus.

nativity scene christmas decor

He was God and with God until the Holy Spirit planted Him in Mary’s womb. I wonder if He knew in there. Did He know He was love? Did He remember the swimming around after He was born? Did He remember hearing the whispers as she walked about Nazareth? Did He remember coming from Heaven?

Or what about Joseph and Mary? They’re both your regular old garden variety people trying to live the lives God gave them. And then Gabriel appears. I slow down from wrapping presents and picture that. A glowing stranger standing in my house or inhabiting my dream. I wonder if Mary reached for a handy weapon or just sank to the floor, shaking. I wonder if she started thinking hard about what she’d learned of the Messiah. Could this really be happening, right now? In her town? To her? And then he was gone. Wait, did that just happen? Now what? Talk about walking with God. Did she hustle right down to the synagogue and ask the rabbi to haul out the scrolls?

I wonder what travelling from Nazareth to Bethlehem was like nearly nine months pregnant. Not by plane, but by donkey. I haven’t ridden a donkey, but I’ve ridden a horse, even pregnant. It’s okay, for a little while, but not for miles. Did she get off and walk just for a break, and then get back on when she got too tired? Was she thinking about how the Rabbi said He’d be born in the City of David, or by this time was she wondering if she’d eaten  the wrong thing for dinner, or whether Joseph and Elizabeth had joined her in some kind of insanity? Did God encourage her through those days?

Did she think, “I knew it couldn’t be me who’d mother the Savior,” when the innkeeper put them up in the stable? “Surely, God wouldn’t allow His Son to be born in a barn.”

Or what if I were one of those shepherds? I’m beating the bushes looking for a lamb who’s bleating his head off when the night sky lights up with singing angels. Dude, what is up? I crouch behind a tree. Just because they’re singing doesn’t mean I’m not in trouble. My buddies are caught in the open, and the angels tell them to find a newborn baby lying in a cow manger in a barn. Say what? But I heard it with my own ears. We drive the sheep up the road to Bethlehem, through the town, drawing people to their windows to shew us out. But we’re on a mission. There’s light in a cave just outside town. We stop the sheep just outside and hear a baby cry. Must be the right place. We creep up without words and look in. Look in … your turn.

 

Next Year

Nope, not resolutions. Seems like a bargain with failure. However, great ideas, you betcha!

I’m going to invite other authors to blog here. That’ll be fun.

I’m going to let my little dog take the therapy dog test, and then we’re headed for the library, hospital, and whereve else she can share love.20191203_142027

I’m going to train to be a CASA volunteer to help foster kids navigate this crazy world.

I’m going to a few weddings and birthdays and holidays and Neighborhood Watch stuff.

I’m going to get on down to love the homeless at the Shower Shuttle now and then, and take that dog I mentioned.

And I’m going to love my family despite the fact that we are cussed people, but made in the image of God. That is all, unless God has other ideas.

Money: a Treacherous God

I am an American, a capitalist by birth.  No problem, we’re all born somewhere under some system, in some culture. I lucked out and got the richest country on earth, or did I? Don’t get me worng, I love America, and I’m not packing to leave. I love the diversity of our people, the contributions from people who’ve come from everywhere. I love the geography that includes everything from scorching desert to high mountain monoliths to storm-split plains.20190528_104251 I love the sounds of folks from the south and the north, the east and the west. I love the history: Jamestown, Plymouth Rock, the Alamo, the trails and missions of Father Serra, Abe’s log cabin, George’s false teeth, the comeuppance at LIttle Big Horn, and the cave dwellers of Arizona. I love that my great grandfather fought in the Civil War,  my father and father-in-law fought in WWII, and my husband in Vietnam. I love that my son-in-law served in the Army and their sons in the Air Force. I love the pumpkins at Halloween, the turkey at Thanksgiving, the Christmas lights, and fireworks on New Year’s and the Fourth of July. It’s us, and it’s me.

But there’s something bothering me. Our need for money has become our love of money. Too often I hear decisions made by how much money they will make. I don’t think that’s about capitalism. I thought capitalism just gave every person the right to work how they want, where they want, making whatever amount of money they’re able to – the freedom thing. But now I hear money used as a divider. “I’m not hiring that … ” or an environment destroyer, “It doesn’t matter, look how many jobs it’ll create.” We need to make a choice. Are we still one nation under God, who cares most about us loving Him and loving each other , or are we one nation scraping for the most money?

It isn’t too late to turn back. I start with myself, and you start with yourself. I don’t make money at the expense of time with my family and friends, I don’t buy things that cause me to have to make more money, I vote for government officials whose first priority is the good of the entity they serve, I share my wealth with those less fortunate. That’s a good start. That puts my behavior to the truth that God is God.

The Jewel of California’s Central Valley

filled drinking glasses in tray

It’s going to be one of those over 100 degree weeks in Modesto – where we are known for water, wealth, contentment and health. I bet you’re wondering why I stay here, aren’t you? (Truth is: when I have to get out in this heat, I wonder why I stay here.) However, Modesto is a good town, mostly. We still smile at you on the street, most of the time. We still have an A&W. Our movie drive ins have given way to theatres with recliners. I wonder if that’s a response to the graying of the nation. We have a Costco and a Winco, and what else do you need? Gallo Winery is here and we’re in a valley that grows a good deal of the food consumed in the whole world. We have a junior college and the four-year is right down the road a bit. You can get frozen yogurt to beat the heat or you can swim in one a bazillion pools. And we’ve got a whole bunch of churches, I mean lots. All good.

But why I like Modsto the most, past that most of my kids, my friends, and my doctor are here, is that we look out for each other. I think that has to do a lot with there being a whole bunch of peope who love God in Modesto. We’ve got Love Modesto in April when thousands get together and do projects all over town. But that’s once a year. We also help relocate refugees through World Relief, care for the poor through a bunch of agencies. Lately, we’ve set up MOES, a tent city for the homeless, and people all over town support that, too. The Shower Shuttle folks, who offer free showers to the homeless in these really cool, decked out vans, have just added a laundry van, so the homeless can get their clothes clean. Imagine if you were on the street, how much those two blessings would mean to you. I like this part of us most because Jesus said to look out for the little guy, the one who can’t help himself. The one who, when you do something kind for him, can’t pay you back. We don’t need organizations to help us do that, by the way, or government. We can pull on our boots and do it on our own. Just a thought.

 

Spring, ah Spring

So yesterday we bought vegetable plants and flowers. It’s spring all right. We bought red and blue flowers for the blue pots – I don’t recall the names, but I’ll put a picture in here. We bought a pink rose tree to replace one that died last summer. And we bought tomatoes of all kinds, peppers of two kinds (I have to keep the hubs under control) and summer and zucchini squash. Then God rained on it all last night. Some were pretty dry, so this morning their arms are reached to heaven in thank you. Will throw in some Swiss Chard and green bean seeds for good measure. A radish or two if there’s room, green onions. My garden has gotten smaller as I’ve gotten “up there.” So there is a stopping place.20190329_065026

Here’s a thought. Before I put any of this in the ground, I have to prepare the ground. If you plant in weedy ground, those picker weeds strangle the good stuff. Makes me wonder about things Jesus said. He pointed out that weeds choke out good plants, but when the disciples asked Him if He wanted them to tear out the weeds, He said no, because it would tear out the good stuff too. Hmm, get the weeds first. Rocks, too. Though we don’t have much trouble with rocks. However, those weeds are prolific. Even if you thought you had every last one, just give it a week, and you’ll see you didn’t. Then I guess you gotta get them while they’re babies to avoid pulling the good stuff. But I’ve noticed they seem to mimic baby good plants. Is there a sinister force behind that? Could be.

So, what’s the point? For me, it’s about thoughts and who I am. Yeah, pretty fur stretch. But think about it. If we take a little time to converse with God before the day gets going (before we plant, so to speak) clean out the weeds, we’re going to have a better day. Then as the day goes on we stay mindful of what we’re thinking. Pick the baby dumb thoughts and toss them. What will God do with a mind garden so carefully tended?