October 4, 2010
As I walked past stacks of new doors and building equipment to enter the new french doors to our living room, which now has a floor down – a nice bamboo wood floor, I realized it was exactly 5 months since the BigBadFlood changed our – and so many others – lives so very much.
I’m usually too tired to even think of coming in here after work, but this cooler weather, the progress, and maybe some vitamins have given me a boost. I see our really nice, new (used, but best we’ve ever had) refrigerator standing alone out in the middle – now we know it works. My hubby, Lynn, is sitting in a lawn chair on the recently laid kitchen tile – tired of a long day of restoration, including restoring the washing machine we saved from the flood. I step in my new laundry room – water!! – 2″ too much on the floor. I wipe quickly while he re-connects the hose again. Lavette, his legs, and insulation hang out of the attic opening as he finishes up for the day. Chris, painting our bedroom, hands me books left up on ceiling high shelves – the only ones that weren’t removed and trashed. I wipe these books that made it through the flood – the ones shelved high because they weren’t used much – volumes of Shakespeare and books on reading and teaching young children.
There is some peace here that I haven’t felt in awhile. I step out on the porch a look up at lovely stars against the deep blue night. I hear a little hammering from a few houses down, I see a neighboring house, windows all lit up, a silhouette still working, slower, late in the night. We’re all just trying to get back home. The journey has been long; there is satisfaction now when looking at our progress, but frustration when looking at what needs to be done.
We’re all on that journey toward our home. Our 5 month long journey here has been full of ups and downs as has our true journey, the journey back to the Father, who’s waiting in that Beyond-Belief New Home, who calls us, the One who speaks softly, “This is the way,” sometimes louder, “Not that way,” then softer, “Come take my Hand.” May we always hear Him as we journey and be ready to reach out to fellow journeyers.
(written by Jo Ann the first of October, Chapmansboro, Tennessee)
March 22, 2010
February 18, 2010
As many Christians look forward to the Celebration of the Resurrection, the next 40 days are spent in reflection on our needs. Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness and was tempted. We often see our situation and the larger communities in which we live as wildernesses. In Isaiah 43 the Lord promises to send rivers in the wilderness. We wait (and work) with pregnant expectation for those living waters to flow in the desert areas where we live.
“See, I am doing A New Thing..now it springs up,” – We need it – we hunger – “Do you not see… I am making a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
The name A New Thing comes from this part of the Bible, this promise of restoration. We want this place to be a part of what He does to bring life and light to the darkness.
I will begin Lent by meditating on Is. 43 and the need for those living waters in our land and my own life.
January 6, 2010
Just having read Donald Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, I see the idea that new resolves must fit in the story to work, to make sense. See your life as a story – a story involves a character who wants something and is willing to overcome conflict to get it. So put what you want – your resolve - within that narrative and, as Donald Miller says, imagine – and write it down – the conflict you will encounter and the possible climatic scene that forces change. I guess this is preparation for the real thing.
And while we’re seeing our life and its daily events as a story – stories are more memorable that just facts, right? – we all need to see our lives within The Greater Story. This gives the real meaning because The Story is Real and True – the Real Truth.
This may sound simplistic. But that’s what is so attractive about Donald Miller’s writing: he speaks honestly and simply. As he develops (within the context of a story) his fairly simple thoughts, with humor in great and small experiences, they just somehow turn profound. I thoroughly recommend A Million Miles and his Blue Like Jazz.
December 10, 2009
We are grateful for the baby, Miles Walden Clark, who started into this world on Advent I looked into the eyes of this little one, fresh eyes, just as deep blue and heavenly as I remember when my first baby arrived. It was wonderful to spend that first week with my daughter, Summer, and her husband, Nathan, and the new one in D.C. the first week of December during the blessed, busy week of pleasure and adjustment for all. When Summer said something about hoping to get some sleep again, I dared not say what I was thinking: “Maybe in a year or tw0 – Maybe even 18 or 20!” But they will be great parents, so devoted and grateful.
September 17, 2009
I’ll try to post on this theme – this quality, concept, attitude that makes all the difference, this heart positioned toward a loving and generous God – every week or so. If I could just ooze gratitude with every breath I take – would that not be other-worldy, but yet the best way to live in this world.
Thankful now for
warm rocks, red/delicately-veined leaves,
the color blue, eyes to see with,
real smiles, friends – those I knew, those I appreciate now, those I am learning, and those to come!
Respond often with your grateful list – even one is good!
August 6, 2009
Today, on the 200th anniversary of the birth of one of England’s most beloved poets, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, I read some of his thoughtful poetry. The famous line,
“Tis better to have loved and lost Than never to have loved at all.”
is from “In Memoriam,” the elegy of his closest friend. The King Arthur epic Idylls of the King, “Ulysses,” Locksley Hall, and “Charge of the Light Brigade” are among his many great poems. If you don’t get into poetry, read “Enoch Arden,” and you’ll be so into this noble story that you soon forget it is poetry. This poem made him the poet of the people. Tennyson was also the literary representative of the Victorian age, living many of the years of Queen Victoria, through most of the 1800s. He felt the conflict of the issues (such as evolution) of those times, and evolved in his writings from faith to doubt to faith again. The poem he requested be at the end of any reading or collection of his is “Crossing the Bar,” of which the first few lines are often quoted. I will share the last four:
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to meet my Pilot face to face When I have crossed the bar.
June 26, 2009
I read and re-read the scripture in Isaiah where God says He is doing a new thing. I want to be a part of that new thing, as the rivers rush through the dry and parched land, bringing new life. Twentieth century theologian/philosopher Paul Tillich speaks of this in his 1955 book, The Shaking of the Foundations. “Let us meditate on the old and the new, in ourselves and in our world. In these Biblical texts the new contrasted with the old: the old is rejected and there is stated, in passionate words, expectation of the new. Even the [Ecclesiastes] Preacher, who denies the possibility of anything really new on earth, does not hide his longing for the new, and his disappointment in not being able to find it.”
God says to forget the former things. This is not talking about the great old things we need to remember like the Ancient of Days, the history of man and nations, and the blessings and miracles He has lavished on His creation from the beginning. These old, former things to forget are the ones that die anyway – Remember the quote, “We can never go back.” How many of us have experienced that one as we visited old places from our past? And, in this life, I cannot go back to the good ole days and become a young person again. We cannot create that new that our hearts yearn for by taking remaining pieces of the old and rearranging it all, like taking old, brittle, dried up play dough and pressing it together to make a new bowl.
“The new is created not out of the old, not out of the best of the old, but out of the death of the old. It is not the old which creates the new. That which creates the new is that which is beyond old and beyond new, the Eternal.”
The prophet asks, “Do you not percieve it?” – this new thing. Maybe it’s not easy to see at first, like the roots that grow under the ground, like the baby that grows in the womb – but that new life is there! God give us faith to see.
April 30, 2009
If you missed the live Town Hall telecast with Dave Ramsey last week, you can go to his site or just Town Hall for HOPE to see what you missed. He encouraged folks not to react with fear, not to feed themselves, nor be moved with fearful, Eeyore-like talk. Feed your brain and heart with the good stuff we know is true. As usual, he was practical, as in telling us to be pro-active and positively active. Take some kind of good attitude action when you are in an undesirable situation economically.
Being frugal and conservative with resources is nothing new for some of us. So we continue, not letting the fear-talk immobilize us, and, at the same time, learning and perceiving the signs of the times. The Lord is our strength, and His Word our true anchor. So DO NOT be fearful, but be wise with God’s Word and knowledge. There are several good resources for specific knowledge, including Dave Ramsey’s little MONEY ANSWER BOOK, that contains answers to the 100 most asked questions, and is on sale in my store this month.
There are books like the new BANKRUPTCY OF A NATION, by Jerry Robinson, that gives historical as well as future perspective, to help you make informed decitions. I know many people think they will get the best deal from Amazon, but it’s not always true. For this new book, their price is $3 off, as is mine. (And my Dave Ramsay’s MONEY ANSWER BOOK price is much cheaper than on Amazon!)
February 19, 2009
Have you ever heard anyone say, “She/He just loves so and so way too much!” Often one is speaking of a girl loving a guy too much, or someone giving too much to their pet. In The Four Loves C. S. Lewis says we cannot love someone too much – that’t not the problem. The problem is that we do not love God enough, that we do not love Him more, above all other loves. When we love someone, including our pet cat, or anything more than we love God, that’s when things get out of whack. But when we love Him, who created us all in love, first and foremost, then all other loves are good and are not improper nor distorted.