Serendipity

Pilot and I were in the living room recently, when I glanced at the ceiling.

“Wilma Flintstone’s on the ceiling,” I said. Pilot put down his book, and looked at me.

“What?”

“Wilma Flintstone’s on the ceiling.”

Okay. I was not eating weird mushrooms. Honestly. I avoid fungi. Pilot moved next to me and held my hand. He looked in my eyes.

“Don’t worry. I’m not crazy. Look.” I pointed to the ceiling. Sure enough. Wilma was staring back.

Wilma Flintstone

Wilma Flintstone

Our ceiling is textured. While I am sure the person who applied the plaster did not intentionally put Wilma there, there she was, nonetheless.

Once Pilot was convinced I had not crossed over into a land far, far away, we searched our ceiling for other identifiable shapes. Just like you might look for formations in cloud banks. We found a whale. Yogi Bear’s bud, Boo-Boo. Mickey’s friend, Goofy. I saw Barbra Streisand in her permed hair days, but Pilot couldn’t see it, so it didn’t count.

Those swirls and curly-qs have been on our ceiling for decades, but we had never noticed them before. We had to be intentional about finding things we could identify. We had to look for them. How many times does God place things, people, situations, in our path, but we walk right passed them? Oblivious?

courtesyWikimedia

courtesy
Wikimedia

It could be someone God wants us to interact with. It could be something He wants us to benefit from being a part of. It could simply be a joy He intends to bless us with. But if we don’t have our eyes open, aren’t looking, watching, expecting, we’ll miss it.

We’ll only see the dust on the ceiling fan, and miss Wilma.

Sometimes we find God’s magnificence unexpectedly. Serendipitously. Like the evening

Photo Pilot

Photo Courtesy Pilot

last month, when I looked up, for no particular reason, and discovered Jupiter cozying up to the Moon. Conjunction, astronomers call it. Serendipity, I call it. We’ll have to wait until 2026 for these two heavenly bodies to be so close again.

While searching for a Rich Mullins video for a past blog post, I stumbled upon this video of him doing the cup game to Screen Door. Way cool. But if I hadn’t had my eyes open, I would have missed it.

Faith without works is like a song you can’t sing. It’s about as useless as a screen door on a submarine.

Keep your eyes open. You never know when serendipity, a happy accident or pleasant surprise; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful while not specifically searching for it, will happen.

What serendipitous joys have you stumbled upon lately?

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Ever on the Level

Among the variety of things that bug me, are un-level wall hangings. Pictures. Mirrors. Plaques. Whatevers. I can’t help it. I notice them everywhere I go.

When I see pictures in our house that need straightened, I must straighten them. Do you have any idea how much restraint it takes not to reach out and straighten things in others’ homes or offices? Especially all those crooked posters in doctor’s offices. Sigh. Although, I will admit, if I’m staying in your guest room, and something is crooked, I will straighten it.

There is an incident, from my teen years, that I doubt I’ll forget. Like many families, our family had a large painting on the wall behind the couch. When I walked into the living room one day, I told my father the picture was crooked.

He looked at the painting, and replied, “No, it isn’t.”

“Yes, it is.”

“No. It. Is. Not.”

“It is to-oo.”

I know…Bad, Sandy. You do not argue with your parents.

My dad left the room, and returned with his large, metal level. He placed the level on top of the picture frame. Dad looked at the level. He looked at me. Dad shook his head. Then he straightened the painting.

It was off by some miniscule amount, but I noticed. It was crooked. It needed to be fixed.

Cute story, but where am I going with this, right?

Well, just like it bothers me to see things hanging on a wall that are not level, I am sure it must bug God to look at our lives, and see them deviate, even by a miniscule amount, from his “level”. His truth.

We might look at ourselves and think we aren’t that bad. We’re only a little off-kilter. It isn’t that big a deal. No one will notice.

But God notices. It’s a big deal to him. So much so, he went to great extremes to make sure we had a way to get level. To get straight. To be pleasing to him, through our acceptance of His son, Jesus, as our Savior and Lord.

Maybe we’re un-level because our foundation’s cracked. Maybe we’re un-level because we’re lining ourselves up with those on the wall beside us. Maybe we’re un-level because we’ve been jarred by knocks we’ve taken, or because our frame is warped. Whatever the reason, the solution is to pull out God’s level – the Bible – read the directions, and measure ourselves against it. Then, and only then, will we be able to do what I often heard my dad say, “Straighten up, and fly right!”

So what bugs you? What’s that one irritating thing you have trouble looking passed? I’d love to hear what it is.

I wish you well,

Sandy

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New Jerusalem

Recently, one of my dear friends and I were discussing a subject that often weaves its way into our conversations. Heaven.

Like many other folk, Girlfriend and I both deal with significant health concerns. We know we aren’t exceptions. So, maybe because of our health difficulties, there are days when we think of our true home. The home we long for. The home Jesus is preparing for us.

I don’t want to get too comfortable here on this planet. I don’t want to think of this as being the best there is, because it isn’t. I don’t want to “lay up for myself treasures that moth and rust will destroy, and thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19) I want to long for home.

In this video of Caledonia, Dougie MacLean speaks of the love he has for his homeland, Scotland.

Let me tell you that I love you, that I think about you all the time…But if I should become a stranger you know that it would make me more than sad…

Oh, that our hearts should long for heaven in such a way, and we would speak as lovingly about it.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and the first earth disappeared, and the sea vanished. And I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared and ready, like a bride dressed to meet her husband. I heard a loud voice speaking from the throne: “Now God’s home is with people! He will live with them, and they shall be his people. God himself will be with them, and he will be their God. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes. There will be no more death, no more grief or crying or pain. The old things have disappeared.” Revelation 21:1-4

Are you looking forward to being “home”?

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Bless the Lord O My Soul

 

Happy 2013, Everyone!

365 days of opportunities stretch out before us.

Opportunities to refine skills. Gain new knowledge. Explore new ideas, and new places.

Opportunities to be nicer, kinder, more loving, more gracious.

Opportunities to fix the things that need fixing. Leave the things that need leaving. Embrace the things that need embracing. Finish the things that need finishing. Start the things that need starting.

Lots of opportunities to accomplish lots of different things.

In this video, Matt Redman suggests what should be a top priority everyday. 10,000 Reasons.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Holiday Gatherings

Ahhh, Christmas. The Norman Rockwell pictures of loving families, beautifully decorated homes, where laughter, and gaiety abound. Is that a picture of your family gatherings?

Or is your family more like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, or Robert Earl Keen’s song, Merry Christmas From the Family?

Photo courtesy Wikimedia

Would it be accurate to say there were one or two in the crowd, who either carry a

Photo courtesy Wikimedia

decades-old grudge, they make sure everyone knows about – again, or who believes it is their responsibility to point out others’ short-comings and flaws, in case anyone forgot?

Maybe there are unmet expectations. Unintentionally hurt feelings. Losses. Squabbling relatives. Sullen teens. Painful scars. Secrets. Denial. Resentment.

Sometimes, getting together with family and friends, can be a trying time. Don’t you think?

In Romans 12:18 the apostle Paul said, “As much as is possible, live peaceably with all men.”

Do you think Paul meant for us to do that even during holiday get togethers, when stress is at an all time high?

Probably.

Maybe, Paul meant especially during those times.

So what should we do? A friend of mine suggests we all, “Get over yourself.”

Here’s what Paul said.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” Colossians 3:12-14.

Forgive as the LORD forgave you, and put on his love.

Wow.

There is a line in Dougie MacLean’s song, We’ll Be Together Again, that I absolutely love. I  need it engraved on my heart.

…and the venom stays asleep in the tooth of the snake, and we don’t hold against us the mistakes that we made, we’ll be together again.

How many times has the venom left the snake’s tooth, and spewed, unchecked? Past mistakes brought up, and played over and over again; ad nauseaum? What keeps us from being together again?

In as much as it depends on you.

In this video, Jill Phillips, sings Andrew Peterson’s song, Labor of Love, while her husband, Andy Gullahorn, plays the guitar. God’s gift of the Redeemer, and Christ’s sacrifice, continues to be a labor of love.

There were no mid-wives to be found, on the streets of David’s town, in the middle of the night.

May your holiday gatherings be filled with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, forgiveness, and patience. And may all venom be kept in the tooth of the snake.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Comfort Your People

As a former elementary school educator who has sheltered her seven-year-old second graders during lock-downs, while the thump, thump, thump of police helicopters hovered overhead, my heart is broken for the loss of the precious souls killed on Friday, December 14, 2012, in Connecticut.

As a mother who prays daily for her son’s well-being, my heart aches for the mothers whose children were taken from them.

As a member of the human race, my heart is torn apart at the pain we inflict on each other.

Such evil.

Such innocence lost.

Such horror.

As parents, family members, and friends are left to mourn, and wonder at the senselessness of the tragedy, my thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by this  violence. May they be comforted in their sorrow.

There will be a day.

I wish you well.

Sandy