The Sign

A slightly stooped man carefully stepped out of his red truck, his thinning gray hair blowing random directions in the gusty autumn southwest winds.  The truck was not old and was not new.  It wore the dents and scratches of his craft.  He walked around to the truck bed and began unloading gray cement foundation blocks.  A new sign for the small church on the corner? I wondered.  Everything I knew about the denomination, well, plain, simple and functional fit.

That corner was one of the busiest in our area.  No matter where I was coming from, I had to turn on it every day.  And so I watched, fascinated, wondering what the sign would look like.  My husband joined in the guessing game.  Maybe it was just going to be one of those signs that required information to be manually lettered.  There were no electric wires that we could see.  Why would they use only gray foundation bricks?  Why are they going so slowly??  Why is the primary builder one man?  Oh, others came and went, helping with the basic masonry, but the slightly stooped man with the thinning gray hair that blew randomly in the gusty autumn winds as fallen leaves swirled around him slowly wielded his tools mostly by himself.

One day, beautiful and distinct brick-colored bricks appeared over the gray cement foundation blocks. The slightly stooped man now wore a jean jacket and sometimes a red ball cap over his thinning gray hair, as the winds turned toward the northwest and blew the dried up autumn leaves into the harvested corn field across the busy road.  I wondered how many other people who drove past the corner with the small church watched and wondered.  How many other people wanted to know why they didn’t just put up an electronic sign, because you know, that’s progress.

Once the man completed the bricks, he added large lighter color limestones, carefully selected for their shape and shade,  around the edges of the sign.  A curved piece appeared on the top of the sign and dark, opalisque tiles filled it, and smaller limestones bordered it, bringing out the colors in the tile.  Still, no writing, no church name, no information.  What good is a sign with no information? I thought.

For a few days, the wheel barrow and stones sit idly around the sign, and I lose interest. The days grow shorter and the dusk takes over the sky at 3:30 pm now.  It’s as if I look through a lense that has finger prints on it and nothing quite comes into focus.  Although I love the holidays, the waning daylight makes me often feel half functional.

But yesterday…yesterday, lamps appeared at either end of the sign with no information.  Large black wrought iron lamps with old world Dickens charm, warm flame-shaped bulbs shining through the foggy afternoon.  How could this be?  We had seen no electric wires.  The slightly stooped man with the thinning gray hair and the jean jacket stood with his sometimes helper gazing at the sign, a tool in his hand.

And that’s when God whispered.  I AM like that stooped man with the thinning gray hair that blows randomly in the wind.  You are like that sign that he creates.  You may feel like ordinary gray foundation blocks but I craft extradorinarily ordinary souls from scratch.  Let me take my time.  Let your light shine for Me as I finish my work.

God is not finished with you.  He fashions a one of a kind work of art, building the foundation first.   That foundation is Jesus Christ.

 

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.

My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16 ESV)

 

 

 


Leave a comment here | No Comments

Pumpkin Pie Muffins

P1070816These muffins will fill your kitchen and house with all the perfumed spices of autumn!  And they are very healthy.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, 375 for non-stick pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes but be sure to watch!

Here are the ingredients:

2 cups unbleached flour (or 1 cup unbleached, 1 cup whole wheat if you don’t mind the heavier texture)
1/3 cup brown sugar (or 1/3 cup honey added to wet ingredients)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/8 tsp nutmeg

3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup applesauce (if you want to eliminate all the butter, use all applesauce)
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3 TBLSP dark molasses
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 C. raisins or dates
3/4 C. walnuts

Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients. Combine until moistened. Try not to overmix. May need a smidge extra buttermilk. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy with some hot tea!


Leave a comment here | No Comments

Epic Failure

It’s been so dry that every time I hose down the potted mums, a half dozen bees appear for a drink.  They don’t bother me.  All they want is some water.  Yes, that’s how dry it’s been in Ohio.  The finches hang out at the thistle seed, lazy and fat.

I love the sound of rain even when it’s been raining for days. This morning, I got up early just so I could stand outside in the dark and feel drops falling on me.  But the drops did not fall.

I pulled my container plants out in a nice messy row so that they could soak up the freshness.  But they remain dusty and pathetic.

I am not fresh.

This has been a week of epic failure.  Can you spell A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E?

I think it all started earlier this month when not one but every clerk, waiter, checker, and retailer asked me if I was getting ready for the big weekend.  Did we have plans?  What big weekend, I wanted to know?  Oh, yeah.  Labor Day Weekend.  I felt like asking the Lady Violet question in proper Maggie Smith British (For you Downton Abbey fans),  ”Excuse me, what is a week-END?”

My husband is a pastor.  We work on weekends.  Did I really spout this to every poor unsuspecting person?  Even the girl at Target.  Yes, I did.  I tried to sound joyful about the prospect, but inside, I confess, I was wishing that we were getting ready for the big weekend.  Our daughter called, and I promptly told her that everyone else in Ohio was at the lake.  What were they doing for the Big Weekend?

Never mind that we have been given the privilege of sharing God’s hope, love and peace.  Never mind that we can freely worship and enjoy the encouragement of other Christians.

I yelled at the cat that he was in my way, when clearly, I was in his way.  Picked an argument with my husband, who picked back.  Quit on changing the seasonal decorations in our house, because why put up any autumn decorations when it’s 80 degrees outside?

The epicness (is that a word?) of my failings culminated with an hour back and forth “discussion” in an online comment section under an article about Donald Trump.  Please don’t judge me. Thank you, God, for the Bible study on Hosea.  This week, I learned about God’s unfailing love and how He rescues us over and over and over….

Even from online comment sections.

Seriously.

And then I saw this.

pumpkin

I knew everything was going to be all right.  To everything there is a season.  Maybe we need seasons of A-T-T-I-I-T-U-U-D-E to understand why we need G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E.

“Bless the LORD O my soul, and forget not all His benefits…”  Psalm 103:2

These benefits would include the amazing creation of the pumpkin.  Oh, yes, and people.  We all need hope.

What are you grateful for today?

 


Leave a comment here | No Comments

Lessons From Baltimore

Because Christian mother, writer, speaker and activist Jen Hatmaker writes it so much more eloquently than I could…thank you for making us think, Jen.  We pray for the larger issues at hand.

Click on the link below to read her article in the Washington Post.

I, as a white mom of two black children do not share Baltimore’s pain. Instead, I grieve with you.  by Jen Hatmaker


Leave a comment here | No Comments