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I’m not the Bible scholar I should be. I know some verses; not as many as I ought. Still, I find most of my experiences can be framed or underscored, explained or illuminated, by Scripture. Or maybe a hymn or a worship song, a devotional or a testimony. Frequently, I have those “Oh, yeah” moments when I see God clearly in an event. Or realized that I should have seen Him.
These are the moments of “The Bible tells me.”
These essays reflect that. Do know that I can proof-text as well as anyone. I have a concordance, and I know how to use it. Well, truthfully, I do all of that online now, where I can quickly find a passage, see it in many versions, and choose the one I like best. I try not to be narrow, but instead broad, as I apply Bible words to my experiences. I know that your interpretations and understanding may be different than mine. But I also know that our God is big enough for all of us.
I have a friend who, in her prayer time, likes to tell jokes to God. “I know He knows the punch line,” she says. “But I tell them anyway. He likes it when I laugh.”
He likes it when I laugh. I’m going to hang on to that. It’s Biblical. The Bible tells me.
Our mouths were filled with laughter then,
and our tongues with shouts of joy.
Then they said among the nations,
“The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord had done great things for us;
we were joyful.
Psalm 126: 2,3 (HCSB)
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I know the mechanics of putting up a toilet paper holder and a towel rack. It’s just not something that I do all that often. Or, actually, ever. But when our house got painted, at the suggestion of the guy who wrote up the contract, I did remove all the door and drawer knobs and handles and took down the wall-mounted towel racks, hooks, and toilet paper holders. My doing that (and replacing them when the job was done), saved lots of time for the painters. So I very much understand about how those racks go up. There’s a metal plate that gets attached to the wall. Then, the arms of the racks are slipped over those plates. There’s a tiny little set screw that gets tightened up against the bottom of that plate, and that holds the ends in place.
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I guess that, when I was growing up, there were thunderstorms at all times of the day. But, I don’t particularly recall any daytime or afternoon showers. I do remember those that occurred in the dead of night, the crashing, house-quaking thunder, and the giant jolts of light at my windows. Those were scary, scary things. And I was not about to live through them all by myself. Nothing sent me scurrying faster to my parents’ bed than a middle-of-the-night storm.
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JoAnne says that one of the most influential books she’s read, and she read it as a child, was Cheaper by the Dozen (not anything like the movie with Steve Martin). It’s about Frank and Lillian Gilbreth and their family of twelve kids. The Gilbreths were Motion Study experts, pioneers in the field of being efficient at work and creating a work environment that eased physical stress. Books about being well organized have been popular best sellers for years. And still, lots of us struggle to reach that elusive goal.
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I’ve mentioned before how much I love my Roomba. I still do. But it’s just the most recent vacuuming device I’ve used over the years.
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I thought that Kevin and April (and PETER!) weren’t coming for Easter. But, then, they decided to!!! Which made a good weekend even more anticipated, more delightful, more satisfying.
I had Peter all by myself on Friday. There was a little shopping. A little napping. And a surprise! April’s birthday is coming up soon, and I thought we could make a surprise for her. I planned to make treats to serve on Sunday. However, when a three-year-old prepares a surprise on a Friday, you just have to have that surprise on a Friday. I asked what kind of cupcakes he thought Mommy would like. White. And what kind of frosting? White. With sprinkles. So that’s what we did.
Saturday was a beautiful day.
Sunday morning–We have a large cross that stays in the Worship Center all the time.
We have a tradition of putting fresh flowers on it on Easter Sunday morning.
I handed Peter over to David when I arrived at church. Then I went on along to my Sunday School room to prepare for preschoolers’ arrival. As I was rushing around the room, suddenly, something seemed a little odd.
Of all the things we do at my church, and maybe ever have done, my most favorite is how we do baptisms these days. Instead of sitting in our pews and watching from afar (well, it’s not that far), we gather forward. Kids in front, so they can see well. The rest of us packed behind them, on the platform, on the steps, pressed together.
Welcome, young lady. Welcome into your faith family.
“Now, get on your way quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He is risen from the dead. He is going on ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there.’ That’s the message.”
Matthew 28:7 (The Message)
Christ is risen. Christós Anésti, or Χριστός Ανέστη. (We have Greek relatives.)
Let’s face it, for people who love Jesus, every weekend is a happy Easter weekend.
It seems to me, and I understand that I don’t visit several churches on Easter Sunday morning, that Easter Sunday finery has ramped down somewhat since I was growing up. We always got a new dress, and when I was really young, there was a hat involved. And there were gloves.
The preschool kids in my Sunday School class do come pretty dressed up on Easter Sunday, which is why we do NOT paint on that day. But there hasn’t been a hat or a glove in years. Really different from my Easter Outfit experience.
And I remember buying shoes. We’d go to a shoe store, look around, maybe find a pair or two that we liked. Then we’d sit down and wait for a shoe salesman to come help us. He (and it was always “he” when I was growing up) would ask us what we were looking for, and we’d point out the shoe(s) that we’d like to try. Or, we might just say, “white dress shoes, please.” Then he would sit down on his shoe salesman’s stool, and put his shoe measuring device on the slanted part of the stool. We’d take off our shoe and he would guide our foot onto the measurer, putting our heel tightly at the back. He would press our toes down and the lines would show him our shoe size
Then he would bring out shoes for us to try on. We’d walk around on the carpeted shoe area and try out each pair. We might buy a pair, or we might not. Maybe we would visit another shoe store, or a department store with a good shoe selection. We felt special and cared-about, and new shoes smelled so good. They were clean and perfect. And since they were Sunday shoes and only got worn once a week and to the occasional party, they stayed looking pretty good.
Every new year brought changes in footwear:
How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
Isaiah 52:7 (New Revised Standard Version)
This is one of my dad’s favorite verses. He taught Sunday School for more than 40 years, and I think he thought of himself as a messenger who announced peace, brought good news, announced salvation, and said, “Your God reigns.” In his black shoes.
I don’t know when my parents started measuring us on the pantry door. But, it could have been in 1959, when we moved into the house where David and I live now. There are marks for me and JoAnne, then, our husbands, and our children. For years, well, three years, we’ve been saying, “Hey, we need to put Peter on the door.” Last week, I finally did. I showed him marks from his parents and his cousins. I called Kevin and got Peter’s birth length, which we also put on the door. He’s grown 18 inches since he was born (from 19 1/2 to 37 1/2). And, you can see below, how much he’s grown in just the past year.
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When I was a first or second grader, Mother put me to bed one evening and said, “You probably won’t be able to go to school tomorrow.” At that age, I still really wanted to go to school, and I was not happy at all with this news. It was something about pink eye.
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Apparently, spring is here. I’ve checked the 10-day forecast. Not only does no really cold or freezing weather appear, but a couple of days are predicted to be in the 80’s. Our last average freeze day here in Central Texas is March 15. It’s hard to believe that some giant freeze will show up. It’s possible, of course, but unlikely.
I’ve mentioned before that the white oak in my front yard is the earliest to change color in the fall and the first to lose its leaves. It’s also usually the first to leaf out. However, many of the local trees have weighed in with the “spring is here!” attitude and begun to leaf out.
All that to say, I’ve been sucked in by the warm weather and begun to work in the yard. Last week, when I was in Fort Worth (for pretty much just a day), Peter and I did some shopping and went to Archie’s Gardenland, one of April’s favorite plant nurseries. I just planned for us to mostly walk around and look at the pretty flowers and interesting plants, but they had yellow pansies, which I needed, and that was the end of that. I bought a succulent with vicious spines on it, a geranium, some new plants to put in the front bed and a couple of things to put on the side and a couple of rosemary plants. I’ve spent most of Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday working outside.
I packed up my overalls before I went outside. I needed my iPhone, of course. I might need to take a call, and I would most likely want to take some photos. I also would probably need to set the timer for one reason or another. On Monday, I also needed the landline phone. I have an eye infection and had called the ophthalmologist earlier with some questions and was waiting for a return call. And that’s the number I had automatically given, instead of the iPhone number. I had a Playaway, with earbuds attached, to listen to a book while I worked. And, of course, a pair of glasses, because the new plants had information on them that I should read. And, it was harder to take this photo, as you might have figured out, because my iPhone was in my pocket. I do have a digital camera, and that’s what I used. But first, it needed fresh batteries. The battery box was a mess and I had a hard time locating 4 AA batteries. The last 4 AA batteries. Then there was the challenge of trying to take a selfie-type picture without the benefit of seeing what I was photographing or having a camera selfie stick (or selfie plank). It was just holding out my arms and trying to guess if the thing was tilted properly. Success in only 11 attempts.
Thursday, I went to Bonnie’s Greenhouse, where I still had credit from a gift certificate I won back in the fall. And I bought more stuff. I planted and weeded and trimmed. Both green bins are absolutely full, waiting for pickup on Monday. The overflow bin is full of holly trimmings, and there are buckets of old ferns. Usually, the fern fronds are all brown and crunchy from freezing weather. This year, I was pulling out green ones, to make room for the new ferns, whose cute little fiddleheads are beginning top poke up. After the recycle truck comes on Monday and empties the green bins, I’ll be able to fill them almost completely up again.
Nor should you worry about clothes. Consider the lilies of the field and how they grow. They do not work or weave or sew, and yet their garments are stunning. Even King Solomon, dressed in his most regal garb, was not as lovely as these lilies.
Matthew 6:28-29 (The Voice)
And daffodils, too.