Saturday, June 30, 2012

The 500th Post Giveaway Prize

The internet can be an amazing place for reconnecting with old friends.  Here's a photo from the summer of 1985:
I'm holding the microphone, showboating for all I'm worth, and the lady in the white jacket in the foreground is my friend Beverly.  We were doing a bit of 'entertaining' at the Wednesday night service at our church youth camp.  A recent Facebook conversation caused me to unearth the photo and share it there, and I thought I'd share it here, as well, so you can appreciate how fun it was that she was the one who won the giveaway.

'Cause, you know, things happen, people move on, and even though you mean to keep in touch, you don't.  We swapped Christmas cards for a few years, then they moved to a new neighborhood and I somehow missed their new address.  It has been YEARS since we have actually seen each other.

But we connected recently via Facebook, and because I link my blog posts she wandered over and happened to leave a comment for me on the 500th post giveaway. The Flute Player randomly picked her comment number,  so yesterday we met at a local restaurant so I could give her the goodie bag.  We talked for nearly 2 was a great chance to catch up and we WILL do it again, soon!
So here's the contents of the giveaway prize goodie bag .  I thought I might pick one post from each 100 posts to represent in the goodie bag, but as I looked back over the first 500 posts I found that the items I really wanted to put in the bag did not quite follow that distribution.  But that's ok.  It was kinda fun to match stuff up to the posts...

1) A bottle of vanilla, representing The Plain Vanilla files 

2) From several posts in which I reference one of my favorite books, Hinds' Feet on High Places, a copy of the book

3) A 4-color Bic Pen, with which to Mark it Up 

4) Play-Doh, for some Life Lessons from Play-Doh

And, finally, from the number one search-engine-hit post of the whole blog, 5) A Christmas Pickle

It was fun to watch her pull the items from the bag;  she even said she remembered that I always had a 4-color pen with  my Bible.  The pickle is just like ours; only the shape of the jar is slightly different.  And I had to go to two bookstores to find the book; Barnes & Noble didn't have it at all, but there was one copy in the 'Classics' section at Family Christian store.  I was beginning to wonder what I would do if I couldn't find it.  The clerk had to find it for me; I was looking for a different cover and the books weren't exactly in alphabetical order; this one was sitting with another book with an almost identical cover; apparently this edition is part of a 'Christian Classics' series.

It was fun to do the giveaway, and it was a treat to get to see Bev again; thanks to everyone who's stayed with me for the first 500ish posts!  Maybe I'll do another one at 1000...if I notice when that happens... ;-)

Friday, June 29, 2012

Do the Impossible

Sometimes, a little phrase will set off a whole line of reflection...

This morning, I sat down with my journal and opened it up to just see what I would hear and record.  The previous entry caught my attention, and I read it over before I began today's listening.  It was a note from a message I'd heard that contained an application of the miracle at the temple in which Jesus healed the guy with the withered hand.

Suddenly, the phrase stretch out your hand jumped out at me, and I realized that Jesus was continually asking people to do things they could not do.  The man with the withered hand was one such individual; so were the multiple paralytics that he told to get up and walk; so were the lepers, who were instructed to go into the city and show themselves to the priests; so was Peter, when instructed to climb out of the boat and walk on the water.

He simply spoke to them and told them what to do.  He didn't call down the power of God, or prophesy loudly or even anoint them with oil. He looked at them and instructed them and that was it. He did nothing at all to give them any reason to think anything had changed.  Then it was up to each of them to do what He said or not.

Every one of those individuals could've looked at Jesus and said something like, 'Are you kidding?  What do you mean, get up and walk (or stretch out my hand or climb out of the boat or go into the town)!  I can't do that!'

The rich young ruler had that response.  Jesus told him to sell everything and give it to the poor and spend his life following Jesus...and the young fellow went away sad, because he believed he could not do that.

And who knows how many others Jesus spoke to in a similar fashion, who rolled their eyes at Him and refused to try the thing He told them to do, whose stories are not recorded?

But we do see the people who did not let their limitations define the actions of God in their lives.  Who began moving in the instructed manner and who found that, as they undertook what He told them to do, they had the ability to do it.

What is God telling me to do that my natural inclination is to respond, 'I can't do that! '?  
How can I learn to respond by trying instead of by denying?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Submission time...

As in...time to turn something in.  Submit something for consideration.  Send the little dream out into the light of day and see if it roots down or dries up.

As in...time to remember that I don't have it all figured out.  That ultimately I may have to admit to myself that this isn't the right dream at the right time in the right fashion.  And not mishandle the response.  To not be disappointed if it doesn't go as I would like.  To not become overly impressed with success if it does.  Submit to those in authority...ultimately, to the One who has a plan for everything, which I may or may not have discerned aright.

In some ways, it would have been easier not to risk, not to share, not to hope.

But easier is not the criteria for discerning that Plan.  And I have made a determination to not allow myself to chose comfort over risk.

But it is odd, this emotion that I have after finally pulling back the curtain and seriously sharing something that has been pulling and stirring in me for several years now.  I've decided it's much like the emotion I felt when kids pack up and leave the house, moving out on their own.

I've done all I can do, for good or for not-so-good.  Now it's up to God....

I'll be praying over that with my morning coffee.

Friday, June 22, 2012

No Thru Traffic

 Sometimes, some little oddball thing hits me as a perfect spiritual analogy.  This week, it was a map of 'improvements' made to an interstate interchange back home in Indianapolis, one that was definitely a part of my ancient history.

 The shopping center that we would patronize when we needed to shop for school or Easter dresses or fabric is just off of the lower right corner of the photo (courtesy of Google maps--ignore the yellow lines for now).  There used to be a Frisches' Big Boy at the first intersection after crossing the overpass, which was where 'dinner out' was until Burger Chef opened a couple of restaurants out our way.  I drove this way when I went to work in town before I got married and moved to the South. 

Coming in from the northwest is I-74; technically, that road exits to the crossing interstate loop, I-465, and proceeds around the south end of town  concurrent w/465, where it exits off the southeast corner and heads off to Cincinnati. The roadway, however, continues across 465 and turns into Crawfordsville Road, which eventually dumps into 16th Street and continues right into the downtown area.

Nice and clean, if you're going into town via I-74.  It was a bit of a pain if you wanted to go north or south on the loop, as those old style cloverleaf interchanges did not leave much room for acceleration/deceleration and it could be very tricky  to merge into the traffic lanes through vehicles that were trying to exit.  So, in the interest of Public Safety, apparently the State of Indiana is working its way around the 465 loop and redesigning all the overpasses.  Here is the NEW (although I'm told it's still in progress) I-74/I-465 exchange, again, courtesy of Google maps
Notice that the offending cloverleaf interchange has been replaced by a collection of ramps and lanes that will be much safer for exits and merges.  However, apparently one can no longer travel from I-74 straight onto Crawfordsville Rd.   All traffic must exit. What was once a straight piece of continuous driving is now replaced by an exit ramp, a left turn and a right turn...although the right turn may be negligible.

I was dumbfounded when I saw this.  I agree that the cloverleaf was not the best idea, but it astonished me that replacing that also removed the nice straight piece of road from the interstate to Crawfordsville Rd.  And, I suppose, I was hit with a huge wave of 'it's not like it's supposed to be!' that seems to be part and parcel with seeing old familiar things changed by the passage of time.

That's a lot of introduction to say that I have hit this same scenario over and over this week.  In some cases, I've been the person arguing to keep the through road, but those in authority say the necessary changes are going to have to make the through road go away.  In other cases, I've been the one pointing out the problems with the cloverleaf design, but I'm going to have to be satisfied with only a partial fix to the problem.  In other cases, I'm looking at the old interchange and trying to decide if a complete overhaul will really be worth the inconvenience and expense after its all done, knowing that any discussion of changing the awkward but familiar interchange will not be popular, and that the reconstruction process will be demanding.

And I keep coming back to these maps and feeling like they are describing life. Change is inevitable, adaptation is necessary. Whether I agree with the changes or whether I am able to get anyone to agree to my suggested changes, ultimately all of us involved are trying to hear the Father's heart and do what pleases Him.  If I'm wrong (and I often am), He will straighten my thinking out.  If I'm not wrong, then He still has the situation under control and will eventually bring things around to where they need to be.

It doesn't do any good to get frustrated with people, because they are doing the best they can.  Frustration with people only causes division long as we are expressing frustration with people we cannot seek God's solution to the problem. 

This always brings me back to Romans 8:28 - We are assured and know that (God being a partner in their labor), all things work together and are (fitting into a plan) for good to those who love God and are called according to (His) design and purpose. (AMP)

And if His plan now requires that something I used to take for granted now needs some thought and planning and a different approach, well, the sooner I quit, um, expressing my frustration, the sooner we can get on to His plan and see how it really is all going to come together.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Pulling out the plow...

Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Last Thursday, I found myself in my usual spot of no time...I needed to put in a full day of work AND do a week's worth of laundry, both since I'd just cleared the calendar to enjoy my in-laws' visit and then sew the linen shirts AND, by the way, go to choir practice. 

I was fighting...and I mean that in pretty much every sense of the get some Quiet Time.  Some seeking time.  The spirit wanted to find a corner and tarry; the flesh was hollering, 'You haven't got time!  You need to get going!  You're behind and getting behinder!'

Kind of in desperation, for something I could do without pulling out all the books and journals and translations,  I pulled up the summary list of the Faithful Friday Faves verses and started skimming down through them...and one verse caught my attention.  Actually, one phrase in a verse caught my attention.

Break up your unplowed ground

I needed to chew on that a while.  I put it up as my facebook status, and carried that around in my spirit for the rest of the day.

I intended to put up a different phrase from a different verse the next day, but when Friday rolled around I was still pondering the unplowed ground, so I decided not to rush on to another verse, but let this one speak to me.

Now, unplowed ground is not the same as unbroken ground. Unbroken ground is sod...ground that has never been tilled.  Unplowed ground is fallow ground...cultivated land that has lain idle for a span of time.  At least one growing season.

There are a couple of reasons for the land to lay idle like that.  Of course, the one we think of first, and the one that we usually apply that verse to, is land that has been ignored and neglected, for whatever reason.  It should have been producing and it was not.  Repentance advised.

But there is another reason why land may lie fallow for a season.  In any farmer's crop rotation, there is always a portion of ground that is uncultivated.  A smart farmer sows his acreage in a variety of crops, and never plants the same crop two seasons in a row in any given plot of land.  Furthermore, included in that mix is  a bit of unplowed, untilled ground that is left unproductive for the season. Then, the next season the crops all shift and the field that was left idle last season is tilled up, and the all the wild growth from the fallow season is tilled back into the soil to break down and restore the nutrients while a field that has been tilled and harvested several seasons in a row is given a rest.  Some ground is deliberately left unproductive every year so that it might be more productive later.  That is not a cause for repentance;  that is wisdom.

It's actually a modification of the Hebrew law.  Moses instructed that all the land was to be left untended every seven years; this was the sabbath rest for the land.  Breaking up that unplowed ground was the return to productivity after a time of rest.  The difference is that our smart farmer always has fields in production and fields lying fallow; in the Hebrew sabbath year, all the fields were left uncultivated and the people were to depend on God to provide their sustenance.

I went back and re-read the FFF post from Hosea, and saw that I was talking about actual, physical house cleaning.  The stuff that I had pulled out and had in disarray did get all put away, but there is more that needs attention; more so since we're still dealing with the displacement from the sunporch remodel.  That is not going to get finished up any time soon; I need to get a fresh vision and begin to deal with that stuff instead of waiting for the space to open up. 

But I also have been trying to figure out how to do everything that needs to keep going without burning out.  And it may be that the crop rotation is the answer; just a recognition that all areas are not going to be producing at peak capacity all the time.  There is always going to be fallow ground to break, and there is always going to be an area that is out of production for a time...which means that something will be producing really well. 

Obviously, I don't have it All Figured Out, but I have never quite considered this verse in this light.   At this point, it doesn't matter so much why the ground has been fallow; what's important is that it's time to break it up.

It is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you


Saturday, June 16, 2012

A winner ;-)

So, I wrote the numbers 1 - 3 on slips of paper, folded them up like kids fold dollars for the offering plate, shook them around in my hand and had The Flute Player pick one of them.

She selected the number 1!  So I will be meeting Beverly for lunch at the first available chance so I can give her the goody bag prize package...and the item that was ordered arrived today, so we can do that soon.

But I'm not going to share the contents of the bag until we meet. ;-)

Thanks to everyone who's always good to hear from folks who stop by.

Wonder how long it will take me to do the next 500 posts???

Friday, June 15, 2012

Not too late

So far, I have exactly three (3) commenters on the 500th post/ entries for the giveaway.  I know I said I'd draw 'next Friday', which is tomorrow (or, I guess since I am typing at 12:17 AM, today)...and I have a little day trip to make.  So I will leave the comments open all day tomorrow and draw Saturday.

I'm not going to be able to reveal the goodie bag as one item has been ordered and it may not be here until July 2 (really??).  But I will be sure and take a photo of the goodies before I box it all up and mail it.

Or meet the recipient for lunch, whichever it happens to be. 

So...if anyone would still like to enter the 500th post giveaway, you've got one more day. ;-)  Just leave a comment and mention, if you can, what particular post or posts have been meaningful to you. 

And thanks for hanging out with me here!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The 500th Post Giveaway

I just noticed that I had 499 posts up on Beer Lahai Roi.  It's a little amusing...I hit the 500 post mark 1 3/4 years after starting Sew Random, but it has taken me 6 weeks over 4 years to hit 500 here.  It's the difference between what I'm doing and what I'm...seeking and finding?

Anyway, to celebrate the occasion, I've decided to do a little giveaway.  It'll be a gift bag of yet undetermined contents, other than to say each bit will be related in some way to a post I've put up in the past 4ish years.

So, if you'd like to be entered for the drawing for things that might or might not be something you personally would desire (although it will be Pretty Good Stuff, I promise!) leave a comment (of course!) and, if you would, can you share which of the (now 500) BLR posts has touched you or amused you or caused you to reflect in such a way that you actually remember it (going back through the archives to refresh your memory is allowed. ;-) )  I'll draw a winner next Friday.  Hopefully by then I'll have the goody bag put together and I can tell everyone what the winner won.

Thanks to everyone who has been with me on this journey (excessive parentheses and all ;-) )!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Snapshot 6-8-12

The thing about missing the appointment with the 'new post' screen too many days in  a row is that one is overly tempted to begin the next post with an apology and an explanation.

Which, if one is a daily blogger, is probably just fine.

But, if one is a 'hanging on to the blogging discipline by the bare ends of my fingernails' blogger, then that sorta means that the blog turns into a lament of a busy life and lost opportunities.

But that need to explain creates serious writers block.  Serious. Writer's. Block.  It's really hard to get past it.

To the point where I read a phrase on another blog ...and I apologize, because I don't remember which one...that resonated with me. In effect, the writer wondered if she had used all her words up.

I realized that's what I felt like, and it made me sad.  Surely not.  Surely I have not said everything I have to say about life and faith and growing.  Surely the well does not have a bottom.

Then I realized that the thing that was bottling up the posts was the Need to Explain.

Just this morning, because it is Friday, the day that I do my best to blog if I can at all, I had a flash of inspiration.

An agreement, if you will, between me and you guys, my faithful, greatly appreciated readers.

When life gets busy and I can't get to the New Post screen as often as I like, I'm just gonna post a 'word shapshot' of what's going on.  And you'll understand that I'm just trying to hold on to the discipline.  And I'm not happy that I am not blogging, but, well, you do what you gotta do.

So.  Today's snapshot.

Sketchy internet, unpleasant digestive ailment earlier in the brought home to do...spilled soda leaving me with a sticky floor, even after wet-jetting it TWICE, so it's mop-and-bucket time...out of town guests arriving in about 4 hours...laundry...vacuum cleaner dismantle and repair...deep breaths and remembering that what is important is the time spent with loved ones, not how perfect everything is.

Now.  We'll see if that clears the blockage. ;-)