Thursday, June 20, 2013

Your Hands

When my world is shaking, heaven stands.
When my heart is breaking, I never leave Your hands.

Friends, family, fun, and fatigue

 The last few weeks have been very busy with visits from lovely friends and family from far away: Amy and Robert from MD, Keri and Ethan from TN, J. from France, Tim, Nikki, and Emma from AZ, and Jeni from IA.   And we have been silly and serious, and have enjoyed renewing friendships and loving one another in person instead 9of from afar..

 I have been reminded of several sweet things in these weeks:
  1. Children are wonderful: Happy 28th birthday, Tim! You are a wonderful son and Daddy!
  2. Grandchildren are a complete joy. There is nothing better, though thoughtful and loving daughter-in-laws come close.
  3. Family matters: I love time with my sisters, my nieces, my kids and grands, my parents, and my sweet hubby.  God is good to give us these relationships.
  4. Friendship invested in bear much fruit over time.  Many of the women who visited were very young women when we became friends.  As a matter of fact, I was a young woman with young children then. What a joy to watch them mature in grace.
 Last Saturday I rode up the chairlift with my sister to the top of Pajarito Mountain.
I thought, as did several of us, that we would hike the ridge, then ride the lift to the bottom.  Silly me.  The lift at Pajarito is a one-way event, which I should have realized.  So no ride down for us, but a rather unexpected hike down 1500 vertical feet and a couple of miles, not just for me, but for my 3-year-old grand daughter, my almost 87-year-old mother-in-law, and everyone in-between.  It was not what we had planned, but there were no choices once we reached the top.  It was extremely tiring, and I found myself wondering, not whether I would reach the bottom, but if i would do so without crying.  But in addition to the fatigue and sore body parts, I got to enjoy that spectacular journey-- it was a beautiful walk, and a great adventure.

On Monday, as I visited my eye doctor, I found myself in much the same spot as I had on top of that mountain: only one way to go, so like it or not, keep moving. My disease is not yet in remission, but we are unsure where my eyes stand.  They could not get the injection of fluorescein into a vein properly, so while my hand turned an amazing shade of bright yellow for a few hours, my test was inconclusive except for the fact that there is still some amount of leakage in there.  That also means that we won't move forward on the cataract surgery for the foreseeable future.  I will give the test another try in early September.  In the meantime, I have decided it is best for me to resign from my online teaching job with Veritas Press Scholars Academy-- something I am sad to do.  But it seems like I have no other course to follow, and that God is calling me to rest for a season, and wait on Him.  So onward, down the road before me I go. Who knows what beauty and adventure lie ahead?

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Wednesday (almost) without words: Thompson Ridge Fire

 Thanks to my friend Dawn Filer for these shots of the fire in the mountains behind my town.  Dawn lives near the Thompson Ridge fire, and as it now encroaches further into the Valles Caldera over Redondo Peak (two of our favorite spots in our mountains) she has captured some of both the grief and awe we all feel as we watch these places we love burn.  I can't help but think there is an eloquent analogy about our lives in this temporary world here somewhere.

The fire is over 9,000 acres now.  The photo above is from the Bandelier gate, looking west towards the Jemez, at sunset through the Thompson Ridge plume.  Those of us who know and love these mountains will recognize some of the other spots.  Thank you, Dawn, for sharing!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

My favorite dirty word: discipline

This morning as I was folding laundry and listening to the radio, I heard a song that in part says:

This world has nothing for me
This life is not my own
I know you go before me
And I am not alone
This mountain rises higher
This way seems so unclear
But I know that you go with me
I will trust in you

Whatever will come my way
Through fire or pouring rain
We won't be shaken
No we won't be shaken
Whatever tomorrow brings
Together we'll rise and sing
That we won't be shaken…

You know my every longing
You've heard my every prayer
You've held me in my weakness
Cause you are always there
So I'll stand in full surrender
It's your way and not my own
My mind is set on nothing less
Than you and you alone
I will not be moved…

As I thought about how important it is to live with the perspective this song communicates, and as I pondered how such a perspective can be held, that dirty little word came to mind: discipline.  I hate discipline.  It is painful.  I fail at it.  But the spiritual discipline that keeps us focused not on our current troubles while living through them, keeps us focused on this hour's joys and responsibilities and blessings from God instead  of worrying about the future, is absolutely necessary to godly, mature living.  It's no little matter, but it is the way we come of age in Christ. The spiritual discipline that keeps our eyes focused on Christ gets us through the tough times in life.  And we can't live successfully without it. 

And then I thought about one of my favorite psalms.  This is rich material for meditation to keep my focus today:

 For God alone my soul waits in silence;
    from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.
How long will all of you attack a man
    to batter him,
    like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
They only plan to thrust him down from his high position.
    They take pleasure in falsehood.
They bless with their mouths,
    but inwardly they curse. Selah
For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence,
    for my hope is from him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
    my fortress; I shall not be shaken.
On God rests my salvation and my glory;
    my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people;
    pour out your heart before him;
    God is a refuge for us. Selah
Those of low estate are but a breath;
    those of high estate are a delusion;
in the balances they go up;
    they are together lighter than a breath.
10 Put no trust in extortion;
    set no vain hopes on robbery;
    if riches increase, set not your heart on them.
11 Once God has spoken;
    twice have I heard this:
that power belongs to God,
12     and that to you, O Lord, belongs steadfast love.
For you will render to a man
    according to his work.

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Smoke everywhere

This is what the plume from the Thompson Fire looked liked this afternoon from Los Alamos.  The peak above the trees is the Pajarito Mountain Ski area. I was standing across from the Holiday Inn Express on the Main Hill road looking west.  The fire is now about 800 acres on the west side of the Valle Grande. Pajarito Mountain is just east of the Valle.  So it is still far away, but LA residents are watching. At a get together last night one friend was joking that she was considering installing a U-Haul trailer in her garage and storing things there that could always be ready for evacuation.

And the Tres Lagunas fire in the Sangres is now 6100 acres.  The smoke from both is mingling above us, and likely to descend with the cool of night tonight.  Praying for those fighting both blazes, those evacuated from their homes, and all dealing with the hazards of the smoke.