Sunday, May 31, 2009

Shiny New Coin

I'm continually surprised and delighted when I read or hear a passage of Rabbinic writing that illuminates scripture for me.  Pastor Miller paraphrased a saying from the Talmud in today's sermon and it shed some light on a passage I wrote about for Monday Manna awhile back.

"For if a man mints many coins from one mould, they are all alike, but the Holy One, blessed be He, fashioned all men in the mould of the first man, and not one resembles the other..."  (Babylonian Talmud: Sanhedrin 38a)
Every Roman emperor minted coins bearing his own image.  During the minting process, each coin was stamped so that the resulting coins would all look alike. 

God created Adam in His image and has been minting new men and women ever since.  Though there may be some close resemblances between family members, no two of us are exactly alike.  There are no limits to the number and diversity of "coins" that God can create.  Thus God displayed his supremacy over the rulers of the earth.

So when Jesus pointed at the coin and said "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's" (Mark 12:17), his audience might have been familiar with some other rabbi's teachings. Every coin belonged to Caesar, but God put his own divine stamp on us.

I like the thought of God minting me like a shiny new coin, stamping me with his hand, and assigning me value.

Shalom, y'all.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Remembering Today

Remembering those who died in service to our country...

In Flanders Fields 

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918) 

Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields. 

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Writing in the Margins

Every once in awhile I pay a visit to Pat's Porch--a peaceful place maintained by fabulous, fellow Floridian Pat Guy.

The other day she posted about writers who try to keep up a "writing schedule" with children in the house.  She spoke of such mysteries as a "writing zone" and "mommy me-time".

I find that, with a 2-year-old and 4-year-old in the house, I'm often writing in the margins of life. For instance, they're currently in a post-Chuck E. Cheese-party coma right now. So, after putting in a load of laundry and loading the dishwasher, I have time to make a quick blog entry.

Or--after everyone's been fed, bathed, brushed, and put to bed--I might have time to do some work on Ruth. If I'm not too tired.

Some days I wish I could go to a writer's conference or even an 8-hour workshop in town.  But I'm in a season of life where I can't get away for one reason or another.  So it will have to wait. They're growing up fast.

For now I consider myself fortunate to have any time to write at all.  It exercises my brain and brings me joy. And, when I start to feel a little sorry for myself, I am reminded that I've written 2 books in the last 4 years. Not published, not polished, but written.  Then there are the few articles and winners in the FaithWriters challenges. Not too shabby for a busy mom.

I am writing. I am learning. I'm making notes.  I'm building muscle. I'm laying foundation for whatever God has in store. I'm where He's called me to be.

So I'll publish this post, grab my laundry basket, and wait for the next bit of free time to open up.

Shalom, y'all.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Full Heart

Today I’m participating in "Monday Manna," hosted by Joanne Sher at An Open Book.  Visit her blog for links to more discussion on 1 John 2:15.

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John 2:15

I have a bag that I pack for swimming lessons. Since the kids are starving after they get out of the pool, I load one center compartment with drinks and snacks.  Another compartment carries my diaper changing kit. The zippered pocket secures items that I don’t want to fall out: wallet, cell phone, swim tickets for lessons.  Outside pockets store easy-access items: keys, sunglasses, sunscreen. But other items sink into corners of the bag: toy cars, paper towels, discarded ads from the mailbox, empty snack wrappers.

Sometimes my bag is so full of non-essential items that I barely have room for towels and swimsuits.

If I’m not careful, I’ll fill my heart with the desires of the world: possessions in one pocket, relationships in another, my to-do list stuffed around the outside. Pile in the empty wrappers of chatter and worry and soon I realize that I’m filled with the world--not the Word. I’ve made no room for the love of the Father.

I cleaned out my swim bag and discarded all the garbage. Now it’s packed with our main goal in mind--swimming.  First in--towels, clothes, and goggles.  They fill the bag, but since I’ve thrown out the garbage, there’s plenty of room left over for the things a mom needs to carry. 

When I ask God to clean out my heart and throw out the garbage--the desires of the world--and put Him in first, I find that He fills my heart. But there’s also room for family and fellowship, a purposeful life and peace.

Shalom, y’all.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

3-2-1 Liftoff

We were treated to a perfect shuttle launch on Monday afternoon.   Space Shuttle Atlantis roared into space around 2:00 p.m.  I watched the launch on HDNet (recorded it for the guys) then ran outside to see the trail in the sky--a white plume that traced Atlantis's path upward through the atmosphere. A few minutes later high altitude winds made the trail look like a giant piece of rick-rack in the sky.  Their mission is to intercept the Hubble telescope and do some repairs.

It's still amazing to watch the launches--and we're all the way across the state on the opposite coast.  The last night launch--in March--brought everyone outside and the air was so clear we could even see the solid rocket boosters fall away--twin stars that rose for a few seconds before plunging to earth.

It only takes them about 8 minutes to reach outer space--less time than it took me to complete this post.  Amazing.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Mother's Day

Fevers, fall-downs, and funny odors--this was one of those weeks when I was waist deep in momminess.  

What I've learned this week:

Potty training videos are useful, but the songs are a bit too catchy.  Hope I don't start singing "No more diapers for me" in the grocery store checkout line.

JW doesn't want to be a "big kid". He did ask to drive the car.  Not until you're potty trained, young man. 

Mommy kisses heal boo-boos, especially the invisible ones.

Children can run a 102.5 fever, complain of chills and tummy ache--and be up running around like a maniac 2 hours later.

Children can run a low grade fever and need to visit the pediatrician--ear infection

Love is the best Mother's Day gift.  At bedtime tonight, DW thanked God for his mommy. It doesn't get any better than that.

Happy Mother's Day.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Run the Good Race

Cheating a bit by posting this on Sunday, but I’ll not have time in the morning.  "Monday Manna," is hosted by Joanne Sher at An Open Book.  Visit her blog for links to more discussion on Mark 12:17.

Then Jesus said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's and to God what is God's." And they were amazed at him. Mark 12:17

Chariots of Fire has long been one of my favorite movies.  During the 1924 Olympics in Paris, Eric Liddell, the “Flying Scotsman,” withdrew from his best event--the 100 meters. Although the movie portrays his withdrawal in dramatic fashion, the race schedule was actually published months in advance of the Games. Liddell, a devout Christian, refused to race on Sunday and trained instead for the 400 meter event.

As Liddell approached the starting blocks, a man slipped a small piece of paper into his hand. The note contained a passage from 1 Samuel 2:30: “Those who honor me, I will honor.”  Clutching the paper in his fist, Liddell won the 400m, shattering the existing world record.

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. (1 Cor. 9:24)

Eric Liddell brought pride and glory to Scotland--winning their first Olympic gold medal. He steadfastly represented Britain--King and country--running with excellence and bringing home two Olympic medals.  But he acknowledged that his speed and ability came from his true King. 

“I believe that God made me for a purpose, but He also made me fast. When I run it is in His pleasure."

Eric Liddell raced for Cesar. Eric Liddell ran the good race for God.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Researching Ruth

Been working on my "Ruth" Bible study tonight.  I'm all set to teach chapter two on Sunday and I began working on the text of the introduction for the study--no more bullet points and "who's who" table on a handout.  I need to get the intro pulled together so I can start looking toward publication possibilities.

It's getting to be less of a stretch to go from "scholarese" to easy-to-read.  I'm greatly encouraged by classmates who have been giving me feedback and cheering me on.

I got off on a bit of a research tangent again at between the book of Ruth, Shavuot (when Ruth is read in the synagogues), and the study of Torah which is done on Shavuot.  All the time I'm reading I have Acts 2:1 in mind.  Thousands of Jews gathered in Jerusalem for Shavuot when Jesus' followers received the Holy Spirit. Pentecost forever tied to Ruth.  

Just can't help but think that Ruth was on the disciples' minds when the Holy Spirit came rushing in.