Verse and Vacation

What do you think of this verse from my morning reading? 
It jumped out and grabbed my shirt collar. 

"Now unto the King 
the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. 

Join me--let this bang around in your head today. 
It might make its way twelve inches south and have real 
impact when it lodges in our hearts. 
I'm asking for that.

Eternal ... immortal ... invisible
Opportunity for extra pondering here.


Side Notes:
* This photo from a recent family trip to Williamsburg, VA, was taken from the steps of the oldest building on the campus of William & Mary College, the Wren Building, 1695. (1695!!!) 

** Family vacations still belong to our original five: my husband, myself, and our three mostly-grown, unmarried sons. To our yearly surprise, they look forward to this tradition. Lots of quality free food may be a contributing factor. Vacationing with these adult-ish versions of the children we raised, sharing memories and making new ones, is an unexpected and cherished blessing. 

When we go on vacation, dreams are spun. The unusual conversational freedom is an absolute highlight for me, and this trip was no exception. Miles flew by as we hashed out plans for an entrepreneurial adventure inspired by an expressway billboard. The structure of a niche business was built over a plate of chili cheese fries. In addition to frisbees on the beach, plots were tossed to attend William & Mary, get coordinating degrees, and relocate to lovely Virginia. 

*** I keep a brief record of what happens on each day of vacation, including the funny quotes, favorite meals, and activities. Over breakfast or in the car on the way to the next stop, I scribble short notes in a cheap notebook, asking the group for contributions. Sometime soon, I'll show you how to use what you bring home to make a super-shortcut memory book.


Use Your Workbook

Do you mark in your Bible? 
Many years ago, someone taught me that our Bibles are not intended to be 
decorative pieces, merely part of a holier-than-thou tablescape. He said our 
Bibles should be WORKBOOKS. Well, you know every teacher can appreciate 
a good workbook, so that's how I've used mine over the years of my walk with Christ.
So mine is a well-marked workbook, showing where I've struggled and where I've 
found joy. It's easy to locate the verses that have called me back again and again.
Sky verses are special to me, so I mark them in my Bible with 
a very lightly-drawn, completely reverent, puffy cloud. 
Whenever I come across one of these in the 
margin, I know I've met an old friend.

Apparently, King David was also moved by a beautiful stretched canvas of sky - 
Psalm 8:3-4, Psalm 19:1, Psalm 36:5, Psalm 57:11, Psalm 108:4

Side Note:
When I'm writing, it's usually completely quiet in the house. I need the quiet, or my thoughts skitter and scatter like the shyest birds-never to be captured. But lately, I've needed some background music to help me along. This is perfect accompaniment for working, but this song has stayed on my mind, and on my lips, these past few weeks, to remind me of my truest purpose. 


Friends Along the Way

I gawk as I drive along--do you?
Neighbors, I'm looking at your gardens, admiring, wondering, 
and considering sneaking a start from one plant or another. 
One of my Garden Friends Along the Way, 
I know she would be my friend if we ever met, 
has a plastic chair in her carefully kept vegetable garden. 
She moves it around to face the corn, then angles it toward the green beans.
The cheap green chair has been in the middle of the watermelon vines 
and at the end of a long row of yellow and orange marigolds. 
I love that this gardener doesn't only work in the garden, but sits in it, too.
I imagine her savoring the way her vegetables grow--
all that pushing and shoving, some leaping skyward while
others grasp for a bigger patch of earth. 

She was out there once, when I was driving home, along my everyday route. 
You know I swerved when I saw her sitting in her chair. 
But I didn't stop. 
I didn't pull into her driveway and compliment 
her thoughtful and clever use of the garden chair. I probably should have.

But I honked and waved like crazy. 

*I had this old chair in my own garden some years ago, just for some garden structure
It lasted one growing season and fell to bits in a wind storm.


Enter Listening

We visited an old church in an old town recently. Some helpful soul felt led to instruct the 
congregation in various ways via the magic of the computer printer. 
I think we can all conjure a pretty vivid image of the person who plastered the church 
building with instructional missives held fast by folded masking tape bundles.

But wait - look at this one:
This one caught me by the arm. 
This instruction, LISTEN, rung a bell in my spirit. 

Do you know what I mean when I say that? 
Have you ever had one of those YES! moments? When something someone says, 
or something you read, grabs you by the lapel and gives you a shake? 
And you know, you know for sure, a message has been sent especially for you? 
Or maybe that's just me. 

I don't know about you, friends, but LISTENING is not at the top of my list when 
I enter the church sanctuary. You can be pretty sure that I've made a reasonable effort
that my clothes match. It's a reliable fact that I'll have coffee and a bulletin in hand. 
And you can bet I'm thinking of who might already be waiting for me 
inside, what we'll say, and how we'll laugh.

Yes, it's for sure - I do not enter the sanctuary LISTENING. 
But I think there might be more for all of us than coffee, announcements, 
and churchy chuckles when we come together. There's probably more to be 
heard than our own vain voices, if we just took a moment to enter listening. 

I'm going to make this a priority for the next few Sundays and see what happens.
Whoever printed that page will have one more obedient parishioner than she 
(or he) hoped for. 

Or maybe more than one - would you like to join me? We could Enter Listening in our respective church sanctuaries wherever we attend, all over the globe. 
Who knows what might happen...