Monday, August 13, 2018

Be Ye Kind

This week's column for the church bulletin was based on our reading in Ephesians. I decided to take one of my kayaking pictures and make into an illustration. For the blog anyway...

When All Else Fails – Be Kind

Ephesians 4:32 is at the heart of one of my favorite songs I learned in Sunday School...

Be ye kind, one unto another; tenderhearted, forgiving one another; even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you. Doo-doo-doodley-doo. Ephesians 4:32.

If you know it, I hope you sang along. It’s one of the few times we see “doodley-doo” in the Bible, after all.

During my childhood, the message was timed perfectly with the re-release of “Bambi” in movie theaters and Thumper’s message: “If you can't say something nice, don't say nothing at all.”

In other words, when all else fails, be kind.

Sounds easy enough. Yet, we live in a society where bullying – in its various forms and among all age groups – has claimed the national spotlight. Not just the acts themselves, but the stories of those trying to cope with it. And those who sadly couldn’t.

Is it really so very difficult to love and respect others? To share God’s love? I’m a big hugger, but I know that’s not in everyone’s comfort zone. How hard can it be, though, to say a kind word or, at a minimum, smile?

As Pastor Cheryl has alluded to often, we have a lot of brokenness in our church family. Look around you. The person in the pew right in front of you may be struggling with something overwhelming. Something monumental in their mind. We don’t know how much they need to hear your “Good morning,” your “Nice to see you!”, your “Peace be with you.”

Your gesture of kindness could be the difference between hope and despair for them. Even if just for today.

Can we make the effort? Throw in a “doodley-doo” or two if you have to. I know that lifts MY spirits.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Slowing Down

It took me awhile, but eventually I slowed down a bit today. I reminded myself Sunday is the day of rest... but I had a few things to get done first.

Today our church had a Worship in the Park service at Robinson Park. It's always a fun service because we have a guest band – today was Dixie music – and of course, food and raffle prizes after! Didn't win anything, but had an excellent lunch. And it was nice to visit with friends, too.

After the picnic, I met up with a friend who wanted a family photo done before her baby boy flies the nest this month! Gotta support my fellow mothers of college kids. It's not an easy transition.

In fact, one of my favorite pics from the photo shoot is them walking up to the next spot for a picture. It's so reflective of the situation. When's the next time they'll all be headed in the same direction with same goal in mind? So much changes when even part of the nest is empty.

Still, got some really nice happy photos, too!

After I got home, I sat around as much as possible. That's not as easy as it sounds. I am an ADD restless sort but I need to rest this toe so it heals! So I watched the PGA Championship while finishing my book club book. I know. It's sad that I must always multi-task. I just don't know that my brain can function in just one gear.

But I found out today, my body can. That recliner is pretty comfortable if you give it a chance!

Saturday, August 11, 2018

How to Saturday

How do YOU Saturday? Apparently I've been doing it wrong. Because my Saturday looked nothing like Sylvester's. Not that I wouldn't have minded. Just had things to do, places to go, people to see.

My morning multi-tasking involved dusting and vacuuming while treats were baking in the oven. First I made a Hornet's Nest Cake for the church picnic tomorrow. Then I baked those Monster Cookies I mixed up last night. I tried not to taste test. But ohhhhh, soooo good!

Had just enough time to clean up my baking mess since Martha Stewart's TV crew weren't around to do it. Then I was off to senior photo shoot #3 of the season. Today was the son of my friend and former Renaissance co-worker Jodi. Her son Ryan goes to Nekoosa so we did some of my normal settings on my "senor picture route" and a few football ones, too.

On the photo above, I am actually laying on my stomach at the edge of a bridge and hanging over as much as I can to get this shot with some water in the background. I am either dedicated or stupid. Either way, no one was hurt and no one got wet. Oh, and my camera equipment is intact!

I have to give Ryan some credit for sticking it out since it was about 90 degrees at the time. Yikes.

Had just enough time to go home and change into racing gear. Well, fan gear. And head up to Marshfield. We picked up Jim's dad on the way. When we got there and it was 87 degrees – matching Colin's race car number – I thought that was a good omen.

And it was. Colin qualified with fast time! He started around 8th place for the 75-lap feature and worked his way up to finish 3rd. It was a close race and fun to watch.

We didn't stick around for the fireworks after the races. The sky was hazy due to wildfires in Canada or in the West or both. Plus, it was late for us old folks! If I did a better job of Saturday-ing, maybe I wouldn't be so tired!

Kitty, help me out on this one.

Friday, August 10, 2018

A Good Walk, er Ride, Spoiled

The beautiful streaks of sunlight in the morning sky seemed to be carrying a message. Something like: "Today is going to be a gorgeous summer day. Don't waste it on work."

So I didn't.

Not the whole day anyway.

Since it was going to be sunny and warm with temps in the mid-80s, I figured I'd use some of my "floating holiday" hours and take the afternoon off. Hubby said he could be convinced to go golfing. So we did.

I had a birthday gift certificate for The Ridges nearby so we golfed 9 holes there. Yes, we needed a cart since I'm still in da boot another 2 weeks. And despite having a few great rounds of golf with the da boot, that streak came to a screeching halt today.

Jim's been golfing amazing. So glad he had another good round today.

Me, well... I struggled. But I figured an afternoon of three-putts is still better than working, right?

I did get a few things done at home, too, plus mixed up the dough for Monster Cookies so I can bake those at some point this weekend. Might as well have the oven on since the temps will be in the 90s. I know. Poor planning but I feel I should make something for Carter's lunches just once this summer. Plus they freeze well so he can pack them with his must-have college supplies in a few weeks.

We'll see when I get around to that since the weekend is booked. There may be a few opportunities to multi-task. You know how I love that. Maybe I should have left the other tasks out of my head today so I could have concentrated on the task at hand!

Putt... putt... putt...

Live and learn.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Eagle Has Landed

One more in my continuing series for the church bulletin. This was from this past Sunday and fitting after last night's trip on the river...

The Eagle Has Landed

“He found him in a desert land, and in the howling waste of the wilderness; he encircled him, he cared for him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions, the Lord alone guided him, no foreign god was with him.” – Deuteronomy 32:10–12

I was on a stealth mission. I dipped my paddle in the water as gently as I could, quietly propelling myself forward. I was slowly inching toward him. Holding my breath. Striving to remain motionless. Camera around my neck. Ready to carefully raise it and shoot. Just a few more inches…

This is my typical method of sneaking up on eagles while kayaking on the Wisconsin River. I’m not one to be especially quiet so it’s a major success when I get close enough to take some beautiful photos of the majestic bird. I just can’t get enough!

I love and respect eagles. I should be scared of their sharp talons and beaks that can tear apart a human-sized animal. But I feel safe. And for good reason.

Some people say that when they see a cardinal, it is a visitor from heaven. I think the same of eagles. Maybe it’s because my dad loved nature and was so patriotic. Maybe because in his farewell address, Moses likened God to an eagle stirring up its nest. Either way, someone up there is watching over me.

When we think of eagles, we think keen vision, strength, and speed. But they have a softer side. Less commonly known, but equally notable, is the tenderness they show their young—a surprising characteristic for such fierce birds of prey. Did you know bald eagles tend to pair up for life, and they share parenting duties? The male and the female take turns incubating the eggs, and they both feed their young.

When I read the Bible, I think of God having two sides, too. In the Old Testament, He is formidable. There were nations of God-fearing people. No tender touches in sight. Yet in the New Testament, we see his softer side, too, through his son Jesus. We see a God of love, caring, and nurturing. As a mom, I prefer that side.

Take comfort in knowing that no matter what, God will encircle us, care for us, and keep us as the apple of His eye. Sort of like my dad and other visitors from heaven.

They help us soar.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Rocking the Boat

It's awesome when there's a nice breeze on a hot, sunny day. But tonight that breeze was making waves on the river. And it was a bit challenging.

Somewhat challenging for paddling. And definitely challenging for photography. Those waves just kept rockin' the boat

We saw two eagles or just the same one in two places. Either way, my steady hand couldn't hold the camera steady when my hold body was moving with the kayak! Couldn't get any super crisp photos tonight.
But that didn't stop me from trying!

This guy flew right over head but it was kind of risky to turn my body too far to follow him with my lens. I could have ended up swimming with da fishes.

Later, on the other side of Big Island, I crept right up under this guy. But that wind, though. Just couldn't hold her steady. You can see he even has some ruffled feathers!

Oh well. It was still fun and quite an arm workout tonight. We stopped at Salt & Peper's Drive-In for supper on the way home and now we're tired and full.

Should sleep good tonight after all that fresh air!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

I’ll Take 5 Loaves and 2 Fish to Go, Please

I'm falling behind sharing my Sunday church bulletin columns. This was actually from July 29, when the gospel lesson was the feeding of 5,000.

I’ll take five loaves and two fish to go, please

Anyone who’s a mom can identify with the miracle of Jesus feeding the multitude. Even making a meal for just two others can seem like a crowd of 5,000 demanding: “What’s for supper?” and “When are we gonna eat?” Don’t get me started on the extras who show up at dinner with no time to run to the store for more. That’s when we stretch the five loaves and two fish!

I don’t know how my mom did it with eight of us kids. Granted, by the time my twin and I were old enough to eat something besides those disgusting Gerber prunes, my oldest sister was off to college. So, there were only seven mouths to feed. On a very limited budget. Can you say pancakes for supper? Works for me.

The thing is, we didn’t go hungry. Trust me. Even on liver and onion nights we had to sit at the table until our plates were clean. (Cue gag reflex.) We were all members of the Clean Plate Club – and years of yo-yo dieting are proof that the habit stuck with me.

There’s a fine line between having enough and having too much.

I was astonished during my trip to Sweden that they don’t serve dessert after every meal. We Americans would sit there after a delicious dinner and wait. We might be full, but we’d make room for dessert. Imagine our disappointment when the server would come out and let us know there was coffee… for dessert? How would we survive?

I’ll tell you how: Ice cream. Pretty much every place of business – including gas stations – sold ice cream or gelato or both. Definitely my homeland! Of course, we didn’t need it. Weren’t hungry. Just wanted it. And stepping on the scale when I got home confirmed that.

I was reminded of those wise words: Happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have. And being thankful for it!

Jesus was onto something when he broke those few loaves of bread and told the disciples “give thanks.” We are to be grateful for what we receive – because it is enough. In other words, if a meal nourishes us, we don’t need dessert. As my mom would say, “You’ll be grateful for what I made and you’ll eat it!”

The next time you race through the Lord’s Prayer, slow down and think about what you’re saying. We’re asking God for our “daily bread.” Not five loaves and two fish to go. Maybe just one slice will do today. Jesus knows what we need. We won’t go away hungry.