Well, as we know, it was recently Easter. His mom & dad took him to his first Easter musical. He was very well behaved as always thanks to some delightful treats and treasures provided by Mom. They sat close enough for him to see everything.
As Jesus was carrying the cross across the stage portraying assuming the load of all our sins with the full magnitude of the Passion of Christ....our little guy inquired of those in the closest seven rows, "Hey! What happened?! What did they do to Jesus?!?"
Somehow I think God smiled, too.
The rules require me to post a six word description of myself and then to tag five co-bloggers to join the fun. So....let's see.....here we go:
O.k., the rules are to tag five, but I'm stopping at four. Amy tagged way too many. My lawyer is calling her lawyer right at this moment. If you've been tagged, here are your official guidelines:
- Write your own six word memoir
- Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like
- Link to the person that tagged you in your post
- Tag five more blogs with links
- Remember to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play.
Hope you're set for a great week-end with way too much fun planned. If you're going to be enjoying the lovely task of sending in your taxes as we are, well, raise your glass of sweet tea and say, "Oh, Bless the Lord." That always helps.
I've just received my first bloggy award, "The Royal Banana" for blog yumminess. Thank you to Beloved MaMa for bestowing this special honor. I do not share her talent for making monkey noises at will; however, I often draw monkey faces on the side of my hand to create a little puppet when needed. I tend to keep small finger puppets in my car or purse just for fun. You never know when you may need to entertain friends....
And now, please let me announce the next recipient of this bloggy award.
Please tap your laps together and let's have a drum roll for: The Leaking Window who is way too crafty, honest and sweet. These are delightful attributes, eh!
Once again, thank you most sincerely, Beloved Mama. You made my day.
We won't have to worry about getting somewhere to find a seat --- there will be lots of room. We won't have to worry about sitting by someone we like, because we will be family with everyone we see. There won't be a rush to the schedule as time will not exist. (I can't begin to process that, so I just say to myself, "I'll think about that later.") We may have to take a turn at doing the dishes, but it seems like even that will be fun. Perhaps a bit like when you're washing the car on a hot day and you turn the hose on everyone in the yard....
I also got to see a personal hero yesterday. He's in his 90's and had a very difficult childhood. Life was not fair. But he made it! For many years, he and his wife were stationed overseas while he served as a chaplain. He needs a cane now just a little bit and it required a lot of planning for someone to stay with his wife so he could attend. He said, "I can't wait to tell Ruthie how wonderful this has been to see everyone today!" Rarely do you see someone with such total joy! He is such an incredible treasure.
I realized as I looked around the meeting room, the majority of people there had similar stories. They'd lost dear people they loved through all sorts of circumstances, had major 'things' in their lives, who knows how much sadness...but overwhelmingly, they share present Joy.
We had a nice dinner after the luncheon....how funny is that! And I realized --- I am always at 'the fun table.' Is it a goal? Is it planned? Nope - I've just been blessed by going through life with friends who make the most of things. And that was a huge part of our dinnertime discussion --- overcoming. It is amazing what some people make it through. Instead of letting their horribleness conquer them, they conquer it. In the midst of hard situations, my motto has become: "You might as well laugh." Not in a jolly-go-lively silliness, but living with the Joy of the Lord. There is a huge difference.
I realized that when we were choosing our meals, we'd all asked: "Would you like to share?" We were speaking of food. But we had shared so very much more.
Luke 24 (from The Message):
1-3At the crack of dawn on Sunday, the women came to the tomb carrying the burial spices they had prepared. They found the entrance stone rolled back from the tomb, so they walked in. But once inside, they couldn't find the body of the Master Jesus.
4-8They were puzzled, wondering what to make of this. Then, out of nowhere it seemed, two men, light cascading over them, stood there. The women were awestruck and bowed down in worship. The men said, "Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?" Then they remembered Jesus' words.
9-11They left the tomb and broke the news of all this to the Eleven and the rest. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them kept telling these things to the apostles, but the apostles didn't believe a word of it, thought they were making it all up.
12But Peter jumped to his feet and ran to the tomb. He stooped to look in and saw a few grave clothes, that's all. He walked away puzzled, shaking his head.
The Road to Emmaus 13-16That same day two of them were walking to the village Emmaus, about seven miles out of Jerusalem. They were deep in conversation, going over all these things that had happened. In the middle of their talk and questions, Jesus came up and walked along with them. But they were not able to recognize who he was.
17-18He asked, "What's this you're discussing so intently as you walk along?"
They just stood there, long-faced, like they had lost their best friend. Then one of them, his name was Cleopas, said, "Are you the only one in Jerusalem who hasn't heard what's happened during the last few days?"
19-24He said, "What has happened?"
They said, "The things that happened to Jesus the Nazarene. He was a man of God, a prophet, dynamic in work and word, blessed by both God and all the people. Then our high priests and leaders betrayed him, got him sentenced to death, and crucified him. And we had our hopes up that he was the One, the One about to deliver Israel. And it is now the third day since it happened. But now some of our women have completely confused us. Early this morning they were at the tomb and couldn't find his body. They came back with the story that they had seen a vision of angels who said he was alive. Some of our friends went off to the tomb to check and found it empty just as the women said, but they didn't see Jesus."
25-27Then he said to them, "So thick-headed! So slow-hearted! Why can't you simply believe all that the prophets said? Don't you see that these things had to happen, that the Messiah had to suffer and only then enter into his glory?" Then he started at the beginning, with the Books of Moses, and went on through all the Prophets, pointing out everything in the Scriptures that referred to him.
28-31They came to the edge of the village where they were headed. He acted as if he were going on but they pressed him: "Stay and have supper with us. It's nearly evening; the day is done." So he went in with them. And here is what happened: He sat down at the table with them. Taking the bread, he blessed and broke and gave it to them. At that moment, open-eyed, wide-eyed, they recognized him. And then he disappeared.
32Back and forth they talked. "Didn't we feel on fire as he conversed with us on the road, as he opened up the Scriptures for us?"
A Ghost Doesn't Have Muscle and Bone 33-34They didn't waste a minute. They were up and on their way back to Jerusalem. They found the Eleven and their friends gathered together, talking away: "It's really happened! The Master has been raised up—Simon saw him!"
35Then the two went over everything that happened on the road and how they recognized him when he broke the bread.
36-41While they were saying all this, Jesus appeared to them and said, "Peace be with you." They thought they were seeing a ghost and were scared half to death. He continued with them, "Don't be upset, and don't let all these doubting questions take over. Look at my hands; look at my feet—it's really me. Touch me. Look me over from head to toe. A ghost doesn't have muscle and bone like this." As he said this, he showed them his hands and feet. They still couldn't believe what they were seeing. It was too much; it seemed too good to be true.
41-43He asked, "Do you have any food here?" They gave him a piece of leftover fish they had cooked. He took it and ate it right before their eyes.
You're the Witnesses 44Then he said, "Everything I told you while I was with you comes to this: All the things written about me in the Law of Moses, in the Prophets, and in the Psalms have to be fulfilled."
45-49He went on to open their understanding of the Word of God, showing them how to read their Bibles this way. He said, "You can see now how it is written that the Messiah suffers, rises from the dead on the third day, and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nations—starting from here, from Jerusalem! You're the first to hear and see it. You're the witnesses. What comes next is very important: I am sending what my Father promised to you, so stay here in the city until he arrives, until you're equipped with power from on high."
50-51He then led them out of the city over to Bethany. Raising his hands he blessed them, and while blessing them, took his leave, being carried up to heaven.
52-53And they were on their knees, worshiping him. They returned to Jerusalem bursting with joy. They spent all their time in the Temple praising God. Yes.
If you want to see a most joyous reunion --- it doesn't get much better than this! OK, if you're not especially an 'animal' person, you might not agree. But if you're not an 'animal' person; I can't imagine why you're still checking in here! GRINS!
Wishing you the best Easter ever!
I'm off to find this story on the news somewhere...better find a kleenex first, eh!
35-36Going a little ahead, he fell to the ground and prayed for a way out: "Papa, Father, you can—can't you?—get me out of this. Take this cup away from me. But please, not what I want—what do you want?"
37-38He came back and found them sound asleep. He said to Peter, "Simon, you went to sleep on me? Can't you stick it out with me a single hour? Stay alert, be in prayer, so you don't enter the danger zone without even knowing it. Don't be naive. Part of you is eager, ready for anything in God; but another part is as lazy as an old dog sleeping by the fire."
39-40He then went back and prayed the same prayer. Returning, he again found them sound asleep. They simply couldn't keep their eyes open, and they didn't have a plausible excuse.
41-42He came back a third time and said, "Are you going to sleep all night? No—you've slept long enough. Time's up. The Son of Man is about to be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Get up. Let's get going. My betrayer has arrived."
This passage of Scripture impacts me more than just about any --- every single time I read or hear it. We Americans so often see Christianity as a nice hobby; worrying about what to wear, what to sing, where to park, what service fits our schedule best.... Going to church, Bibles are somewhat optional as the Words will be on the screen over the lovely images of the waterfalls or gentle breezes of the trees as we want to be seeker-friendly and up-to-date. Of course, "Seeker-Friendly" is a valid concept for our churches. But sometimes I do wonder....how seeker-friendly were things that amazing weekend of our Lord's betrayal and crucifixion?
My father was an amazing artist. I found this pastel piece a few years ago in a box. He'd had a box of artwork he did in school (middle school, high school and later) that I had never ever seen. Now, I was a 'late' baby, so these drawings and paintings stood the test of time. My estimate is this piece was done in 1932. Wow! Mother thought I was being most silly, in the truest since of silliness, when I told her I was framing this "Ham." But it just suits us.
When we have good friends over for dinner, I can sit at our table and just imagine my dad smiling. I see him smiling that I've invited friends over to eat food that I've cooked (yes another soon-to-come post certainly), smiling that DJ has done such a great job building our home and most of all, smiling that I put that silly old drawing of a ham in a frame with a beautiful mat around it. And yes, Mom thought it was just a perfect addition to our home, too. But she's definitely far too busy in heaven to be checking in on us.....
We had a fun adventure of our own on Sunday morning this week. We're sort of 'in between' things. In between churches, I'm in between jobs... DJ is however, far busier than ever and Sundays are mostly peaceful. We went to visit a different church and got there about ten minutes before the service was to start. Folks were so nice --- they had special guest parking and everyone was very friendly. (We did not see donuts, but that's all right. Maybe they're in another spot.)
So as we walked up to the building, we saw there were lots and lots of black doors. Each one we had a sign that said, "Please use side doors while the service is in progress." Service was at 9:30, it was 9:20. So...happily as ever, looking for more hands to shake and happy smiles, DJ opened the center door. It was right in the middle of the sound booth, right behind the tv camera and smack-dab (good Southern term) in front of the pastor! OOPS! He backed up, gingerly closed the door, and gasped, "There is a service and it is still going on!" We found our way down the sidewalk to the end past all the big, dark windows.
Just a few minutes later, looking for seats as we were safely inside, DJ noticed those big dark windows are dark on the outside yet every single person inside the auditorium can see who is walking on the sidewalks.... at least he was wearing his fun Hawaiian shirt with palm leaves on it in honor of Palm Sunday...
Absolutely the best rendition you will ever find by my favorite singers - the Muppets. This is what my brain does with music when I need an escape....
Max just does not understand why Mama is laughing so hysterically!
Here's a big thank you to my good friend over at the University for sending me this link today! You're the best friend EVER!
We recently received one of our college alumni magazines. Of course, being the snoopy person that I am, I was reading the fine print with all the information on who is who, doing what where and with whom and then drifted over to the baby announcements.
Much to my surprise, "Grace" seems to be a popular name these days. I never knew another Grace when I was growing up. My parents had a wonderful friend who shared my name, but goodness(!); she was old! I knew lots of girls named Sherry, (one was ever so modern and spelled it 'Shari'), Kathy, Cindy, Denise, Karen, Christie (lots of those), Laurie, etc. Nice, good solid names. And the boys --- well, there were Rons, Dons, Johns, and Toms. Usually they went by Ronnie, Donny, Johnny, and Tommy until they reached college.
I saw a few Johns and Roberts in the announcements listed in the magazine. They usually were followed or preceded by something like Josiah, Isaac or Atticus. Ethans and Ians are right up there, too. Celtic and Biblical names seem very popular. I'm of Celtic descent. I don't have a drop of American Indian blood in me, despite the Oklahoma roots. Apparently my grandmother never believed that from her daughter-in-law --- but we'll save that story for later.
As to the little baby princess angel names --- I found a River Marie, Kylee Hope, some Anna Maries and lots of other Ann-somethings, Mackenzie Grace, Penelope Grace, Sophia Grace, Gabrielle Grace and an Isabella Grace. If you're reading this and have a baby girl named something-Grace or Grace-something; feel free to send me a photo. I'll make a Grace Gallery!
These little ones arriving here on our planet are going to live in amazing times. We probably can't imagine the things they will see and encounter or the struggles they may face. And maybe, just maybe, God wants people to hear "Grace" more often.
These photos are from our recent trip to Gramma & Grandpa's house. I'm not at all sure why Miss Mercedes was willing to miss out on this action. While the tiny moppette was resting, Miss Lexus had gone to find her mama, and Master Max was not going to miss a trip bounding up the stairs for anything. (We only have four steps at our house, so there's no challenge there at all.) After two trips up and down, these happy cousins decided to go see if Grandpa had any treats. That's the most fun they can find at Gramma & Grandpa's house --- that and annoying Miss Mercedes. I hear Miss Lexus has started throwing her across the room by her long white hair. That will show her for only growing to seven pounds, eh!
What fun! Isn't it sad when you meet people who don't enjoy either cats or dogs in their house? I know, I know, there are all sorts of reasons why some folk don't have pets, but it still makes me sad to hear about it.
Do you think we'll have pets in heaven? I think we'll eat, laugh and play there. So I'm guessing "Yes." Why would God make little (and large) critters for us to consider part of our families here and not have them there? Now, now, please don't give me your heavy theological thoughts in the "thoughtful remarks" box. I don't want heaviness - I want to dream about seeing Master Max, Miss Lexus, Miss Mercedes and all my previous snuggle pals chasing balls up some super heavenly high staircases. Maybe that's what Master Max is dreaming of too when his legs start going at top speed during his afternoon nap...
Dad was 19 years old and at home with his mother that afternoon. My grandmother was a bit emotional at times (she would faint if they received a long-distance phone call, because it had to be bad news...) so I can only imagine how hysterical she became when the earth started shaking! They did their best to hold the furniture in place (as in Mary Poppins) but finally they went outside where they felt the safest. Dad said he and his mother began praying and asked God to keep them safe. They both realized they had no assurance of salvation and became Christians that day, giving their hearts to the Lord and asking Him to forgive their sins. Yes, they'd attended church off and on, but on March the 10th, it became personal. When your city crumbles, you hear people screaming and see disaster all around, life looks a bit differently than on a normal perfect day in Sunny, CA.
I have a clock that was saved from their mantle. The time stopped at 5:55. It's in a bookcase with several family Bibles and a few other treasures. It's actually one of my most treasured keepsakes. My heritage changed when that clock was broken. And in those minutes, Dad and Nana were rescued for eternity.
This photo was taken last year of our Master Max and his little cousin. Last night we got together for a family birthday and Master Max was not at all sure if he wanted any of the cousins to pet him and we all knew his puppy cousin, Miss Mercedes, would have been far happier if Master Max had stayed home. What a hoot! (That's a good Oklahoma term.)
At one point during the evening, this little guy came into the living room sobbing his poor little heart out. I wondered if one of Gramma's teapots had fallen off the fridge and bumped him in the head, but he looked just fine. No obvious injuries....then he held up his hand. (Oh, for a camera!) He had black olives on four of his fingers and was just heart-sick that there weren't anymore olives to take care of the rest. Priceless!
We spent a good deal of time looking at old family photos. I think God may have given us birthdays to take a day and remember. Remember the hard times you've come through, the good times you've shared and how much your family means to you.
Someday --- when he's all grown up and in love, we'll have a story to tell the littlest one's girlfriend. I'm sure there will be a big bowl of black olives on the table at his wedding reception.
So my post today will be brief (the sun is shining and we're playing today) and I trust you will take a few minutes and read through this wonderful summary of what Christianity should be all about (at least in my opinion). I especially noted the paragraph near the end where he mentions singing a hymn each week. "...We do not sing hymns to please the older generation. We sing hymns because the younger generation needs to value the power in those hymns. We need this diversity." So it's unifying, rather than being divisive! What a concept!
When JJ was two, we were facing very difficult times. We'd moved all over the place and finally it seemed the answer had come. After a very involved process, DJ was accepted into a challenging program for a new career. With all the changes in the construction industry in the 80's, this seemed a good way to go. After working and studying more than could ever be expected, it just didn't work out. We were so disappointed. Later, we discovered that this particular career choice has one of the highest rates for divorces, alcoholism and suicide. We had no idea it would have been so stressful for the long term. We made the move out to Sunny, CA and DJ's career took off immediately. Why? Why did we go through that time? We don't know. But we do know that God knows. We still don't understand, but one day we will.
My mother passed away in 2004. Her illness was heartbreaking. Guillain-Barre Syndrome. It is devastating, but most people who have it attack them recover almost fully. We were certain with her determined spirit and trust in God, there was no option but one of recovery, no matter how long it might take. She was healed --- but by running into the arms of Jesus, rather than recovering in a bed at our home as we hoped. Why? Why did we go through that time? We don't know. But we do know that God knows. We still don't understand, but one day we will.
My grandmother (whom I never met) had leukemia in the 1950's. She fought it hard and was actually a test case for some wonderful research in fighting the disease. This probably extended her life for about two years longer than expected. In the course of her illness, she went blind. Someone prayed for her and her sight was restored. But she still went to heaven due to the leukemia. Why? Why did she go through that time? We don't know. But we do know that God knows. We still don't understand, but one day we will.
This we do know: 1 Corinthians 2:7 (The Message)
We, of course, have plenty of wisdom to pass on to you once you get your feet on firm spiritual ground, but it's not popular wisdom, the fashionable wisdom of high-priced experts that will be out-of-date in a year or so. God's wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don't find it lying around on the surface. It's not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven't a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn't have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That's why we have this Scripture text: No one's ever seen or heard anything like this, Never so much as imagined anything quite like it— What God has arranged for those who love him...
So...sometimes we have to say, "O.K., I don't get it." But I know God has a plan and when I'm overwhelmed with tears He captures them in a bottle. And we can always, always, always, know He listens.
He drove about two hours to a nearby airport for his return flight. We inquired if everything had gone smoothly out there in the Midwest with all the travel issues. "I got right to the airport an hour and a half early. I pulled in to the short-term parking by mistake, so I just asked the first lady I saw where long-term parking was located." "Do you want the $10 a day or the $6 a day?" "Well....Well...I guess the $6 a day would be good." "Just turn left right there Son and you're right at it." JJ had a most delightful grin on his face as he told us the story!
"The planes were big this time. And on both flights I was lucky enough to get right in front of the Emergency Exit rows. It is against federal law to recline your seats in front of the Emergency Exit rows...." Oh, my! Not too fun when you're 6'2" and traveling for several hours. But then again, we all learned something new.
I think when I'm old and need something to do; I'll just go to the closest airport and sit for a while. Reunions are the coolest thing. Departures are hard, but if you stay on the bench in the baggage claim area, it just makes you happy to see all the hugs watching the Grammas loving the little ones after a long time apart.
I wonder if there's a special reception area in heaven for our arrival. We certainly won't have to wait for our baggage.