Grace and Truth

I like the concept of blending grace and truth. Favour you can’t do anything to receive, it just is — and the reality at the bottom of everything. I like it, but I’m not sure I’m very good at it, or maybe I should say I’m not sure I even understand how to keep them both at work. I think I may lean hard toward grace, and let truth go begging. That’s probably because I shrink back from assuming I know the truth sometimes, and I shrink back from the possibility of it hurting someone’s feelings other times.

girl and woman sitting on brown rock

Photo by Nicholas Githiri on Pexels.com

Sooo, I also suspect that my novels may be developing a pattern of exploring concepts I’m not quite sure about when I start them. The last one played around with fear. Whew! That sounded like an oxymoron if I ever heard one. The next one is going to dabble in grace and truth.

Now, if you’ve read this far, I’d like to ask a favor. What do you think about grace and truth? Do you have insights or experiences that have clarified the whole thing for you? If so, please share them in the comments.  I’d love to hear them, and thank you very much.

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Planning

I love planning things–trips, parties, what I’m going to say. The other day, I said to Bake (my hubs) that I hope I don’t die suddenly, because I’d rather have a chance to plan it well. OK, you get the picture.

red roses close up photography

Photo by picjumbo.com on Pexels.com

So — our 50th anniversary is coming up in January. Let me digress momentarily. That fact is a miracle all on its own. I’m from a divorced couple, Bake grew up with beatings that kept him from going to school some days–broken folks. I never expected, ever, to make it past our 14th year, but God. So, here we are, anticipating our Golden Wedding Anniversary.

The kids did us a bang up party for our 40th, so I’m thinking I can plan this one. Hipdewoops. We’re going to dance. And dance some more, to songs that put the lyrics to our life. We’re going to renew our vows. (Over that I am sweating blood because Bake can say some of the sweetest things to me, and I so want to do the same for him.) And we’re going to eat cake, and toast every good thing we can think of in life and marriage. People we love have already agreed to help us put this shindig together and now I am purusing (incredibly expensive) invitations.

Back in the day, 1969 to be exact, I planned my wedding on a shoestring. Bake was headed for Vietnam, so we had two weeks to get ready. I used the leftover of what my dad had paid for my dorm room to fund the wedding, since we would be moving into our $75 a month apartment, the second floor of these old people’s house (criminy, they must have been about our age now). Their only stipulation was that we take our shoes off when we came in at night.

Back then, we had a dorm friend who agreed to take photos. Tuesday, my buddy Leslee, graphic artist turned prize-winning photographer, will take our anniversary photo.

My mom made my dress, knee length. The dress I wear to our 50th will be floor length. I made my cake. Our pastor’s wife, Heather, is going to make us a cake on the theme of a rose garden, and it will be a doozy because she’s talented beyond belief.

At our wedding, sisters who sang well rendered One Hand One Heart. At our 50th party, my buddy of years will sing a beautiful song about soul mates, and her voice is honey.

My grandmother played the piano at our wedding, and my dad flipped the lights off because he thought candlelight would be nice. Good thing my grandmother could play by ear. At our 50th, there’ll be a sound guy.

Bake’s dad, pastor and heroic POW, officated at our wedding. He’s gone on to live with Jesus. Our pastor, Jim, who explains the Gospel better than anyone in the world, will introduce our vows at our 50th.

There were no written invitations to our wedding. The guy who ran the dorm cafeteria stood on a chair and invited everyone, and the little mission where I first understood the Gospel overflowed with folks. They were even looking in the windows on a snowy day. There may be no invitations to our 50th if I don’t find some that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

We decorated my wedding with pine trees, silk ribbon and a set of candlelabras. My family lived in the Sierras then. My bff, Georgia, who can make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, will head the decorating team for our 50th.

The love Bake and I shared back in the day has blossomed and deepened, and I sure didn’t plan that. But I’m glad God did.

Adults Abused as Children

For about ten years, my husband, the marriage and family therapist, and I led Stepping Stones, a support group for adults abused as children. It was peculiar in that we didn’t sit around commiserating, but studied Scripture on how to climb out of that pit together. The topics are:

  • Face the Problem
  • Assess the Damage and Make the Commitment to Recover
  • Correct Your View of God
  • Set Healthy Boundaries
  • Improve Your Self-Image
  • Overcome Fear
  • Learn to Control Anger and Depression
  • Increase Your Capacity to Trust
  • Deal With Sexual Issues
  • Give and Accept Forgiveness
  • Determine Whether to Confront Your Abuser
  • Life Beyond Survival

So, we’re thinking about putting the material online for people who don’t live near us to use to recover. Anybody out there interested in something like this? If so, what do you think would be a fair price? If you’re out there feeling alone with your secret, I’m talking to you, and praying for you.

Lifelong Learning

Have you noticed that there are some things you learn over and over again? Instantly, your mind went to how to work the technological marvel that is now television, or the personal computer, right? That’s not exactly what I had in mind. It’s not how many times your spouse tells you the same thing they said they told you before, either. (Though it’s possible they never told you at all, just sayin’.)  It’s more about principles of living. Please apply this to wherever you get your principles of living from. I get mine from the Bible. It knocks me out how I can read a passage I’ve read before, and realize I don’t remember ever reading this. Some people say this is because I’m in a different stage of life when I read it today than I was when I read it the last time. The idea being that I’m applying what I’m reading differently. Perhaps. Some say I’ve read so much in the in between time, that it just slipped my mind. I guess. What sort of knocks me out, though, is that often, when I come to something again, it simplifies the complication of my life. For example, I tend to get all weirded out about whether I’m a rule follower, the kind of person who does stuff to get God’s approval instead of doing stuff based on following what He tells us to do. Then I come to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself.” Simple, if I’m loving, I’m good. It’s lifelong learning because I have to keep reminding myself. Could be worse, though, reminding myself to love is simple and grand.

Vegetable Garden Gospel

I have grown quite a few vegetable gardens since I started at about age nine. Stuff I’ve learned might be an interesting topic. For example:

  • It’s fun to sing “In the Garden” while you weed, water and tie up the tomato vines.
  • My father may have been right about cussing at the vegetables making them grow. I think I prefer cussing at the gophers, though.
  • Gophers really love bean roots.
  • Waiting until school is out to plant will make most of the vegetables ready after school has already started again.
  • Snails like everything.
  • Dogs and cats are messy.
  • Working in the early morning can’t really be called working.
  • A fresh anything is better than store-bought, or even farmer’s market bought.
  • Don’t grow corn unless you plan to use the stalks because you only get one or two cobs and then what do you do with the rest?
  • If you don’t water, it won’t grow.
  • If you water too much, it won’t grow.
  • You can plot stories in a vegetable garden.
  • You can squish tomato worms in a vegetable garden, especially when someone has pissed you off.
  • You can pray, with a lot of focus, in a vegetable garden, especially any time you want.
  • Owning a vegetable garden is playing God in a sense, because you get to determine everything, what vegetables grow, which way the rows go, whether to chemically fertilize or mulch or use pesticides or go for organic.
  • The knowledge of vegetable growing is transferable to younger generations.
  • Sunshine is good for your attitude.
  • Dirt between your toes builds character.
  • You can garden whether you’re young, middle or old, but if you’re old you might want to get a garden bench to weed from.
  • Wear gloves to till and rake.
  • Do not wear gloves to weed.
  • Weeds are fast.
  • Weed every week, or you’ll be sorry.
  • Tomato vines are kind of scratchy.
  • If you’re the impatient type, fried green tomatoes are really good.
  • Sometimes, vegetables won’t grow, no matter what.
  • Bees are your friends, but mosquitoes aren’t.
  • Plant the shade lovers in the shade, and the sun lovers in the sun.

Now I titled this Vegetable Garden Gospel, and you’re wondering where the gospel part is, aren’t you? Get ready, every single thing you do has Jesus at the center, from squishing tomato worms to cussing gophers to tieing up tomato vines. And that’s true, not just in the garden, but everywhere. So whatever you do, do all to His glory. I just kind of like hanging around with Him in the garden.