God’s Continued Lessons to Me

As a child I was dropped off at the Presbyterian church. Loved the choir director and the church school lessons. Not so much the worship services. When I was old enough I was allowed to walk to church by myself. There were times I skipped church and went to the park. There I would talk to God and sing to God. On occasion I would find myself “singing in the Spirit” though I did not know at the time that was what it was called. I just wanted to tell the Father how much I loved Him.

Robeson Park now called Kennedy Heights Park, Kennedy Heights, Cincinnati, Ohio

What am I to do? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also; I will sing with the spirit and I will sing with the mind also.

1 Corinthians 14:15

As a young adult I was finally exposed to that teaching. I had never told anyone about my childhood experience because I had never heard anyone do that sort of singing or talk about that as a possibility.

For a while during the Charismatic movement there were a few churches that actually participated in that sort of singing. These days the churches I have recently attended do not have singing in the Spirit, with or without interpretation.

You may know my story about singing in the Spirit while washing the dishes one day? My children were doing their homework at the dining room table nearby. My son finally asked, “Mom, is that how you sing in cursive?” I told Him I supposed so!

I figured since Paul said we should ask for things from God I could believe God would give me the things I needed. Those requests included the gifts of the Spirit. As an adult I have to remember to pray in the Spirit or sing in the Spirit. This is part of my discipline as a Christian woman. It is so easy to get gobbled up by the things of the world and forget the power our Lord bestows through His Spirit. Worship Him, with ALL your heart, soul, mind and strength.

Remember Monkey see, Monkey do?

At the Cincinnati Art Museum I had to wonder what this artist was thinking!

Future Retrieval: Close Parallel

Future Retrieval, the studio collaboration of former University of Cincinnati faculty members Katie Parker and Guy Michael Davis, appropriates imagery and forms from historical objects to create new art that speaks to our twenty-first-century experience. Their practice is rooted in ceramic art, but also incorporates a diverse mix of media and techniques that combine age-old methods with new technologies.

For this exhibition, Future Retrieval will take over two museum galleries as project spaces where they will construct an unconventional response to objects “borrowed” from the Cincinnati Art Museum’s decorative art and design collection. In pairing their own work with objects from the museum’s collection, the artists will create an experience that encourages visitors to consider aspects of our historical collections and practices in a new light.

#CAMCloseParallel

At home when I enlarged the photo I wished I had gone around the other side of the ape. Evidently it was holding something in its hand! And chin on other hand. How like us! was it thinking “Should I eat this?”

Well, it was at the end of our museum visit and we older folks get tired. The painting of mushrooms and sculpture of mushrooms was interesting also.

Perhaps more interesting in person, but thought I’d distract you with these art items. Careful next time you look in the mirror. Make certain there is not a monkey looking back at you!

Spiritual Practice While Walking Lucky

While walking Lucky and trying not to be preoccupied with her, just looking around and trying to keep silent I happened upon

and

Even when I am not thinking about it, the pollen falls off the sunflower onto the leaf, the buds form, the bees work, the ants crawl along the underside of the leaf and over the petals, clouds roll past and all God asks is my attention and presence to Him. (Mind you, the sentences above are thinking, not just looking. I realize that.)

Pay attention. Still your inner chatter. Listen for His voice. In 1 Samuel 3: 10 it says, “The LORD came and stood there, calling as at the other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” Then Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant is listening.””

Frogs jump, crickets call, He leads me beside this man made pond, yet speaks to my soul, most times in spite of my chatter. If I am willing to quiet that chatter, His voice is especially impactful. The natural world unfolds without my input. For my inner being to grow my cooperation with God is essential.

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God

Psalm 46:10a

An imperfect entry this. I just wanted to try to convey that God’s natural order goes on without my input. He has the power over that. The affairs of other people evolve without my input. He has the power there, also. He desires my attention, cooperation and presence in the affairs of my soul and spirit. He has given us free will and does not violate that. He asks the same from each of us. As Eli instructed Samuel in 1 Samuel 3:9, ask Him to speak to you and listen carefully!

What a Relief!

We have been suffering the extreme heat along with the rest of the nation. This morning the sky is pouring rain. Not drizzle but downpour. I guess one of those clouds finally decided to bless our sod and the yards of our neighbors.

I have spent quite a bit of time consuming Mark Buchanan’s book “The Holy Wild.” It was so meaty I decided to savor it. Then it got lost in the shuffle. I finally determined to finish the book. What a blessing. The subtitle is “Trusting in the Character of God.”

Here is the publisher blurb to draw you in:

“Our perception of God makes a difference in every crevice of our character, from our inner anxieties to our public conversations. It determines whether we’re trusting or suspicious, whether we’re happy or discontent – and whether or not we can rely on God matters mightily on the day of our death. Mark Buchanan’s third book continues his penetrating exploration of the God we worship. Bravely and honestly, he poses the direst question of human existence: Can God be trusted?

“It’s life drunk deeply, lived to the hilt—where we walk with the God who is surprising, dangerous, and mysterious. It’s the terrain where God doesn’t make sense out of our disasters and our boredom, but keeps meeting us in the thick of them.

“But unless we trust in His character, we’ll never venture in. We will sit at the stream all day, dying of thirst, but not daring to drink. To follow God is to drink and drink from the stream, even if it means—especially if it means—getting swallowed up.

“Let Mark Buchanan show you the entrance to the Holy Wild, where you can live face-to-face with the beautiful, dangerous God of creation.”

The idea of “unless we trust in His character we will sit at the stream all day, dying of thirst, but not daring to drink” really pulled me in. I have had many prayer experiences with the image of the stream of Living Water.

37 On the last day of the festival, the great day, while Jesus was standing there, he cried out, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, 38 and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scripture has said, ‘Out of the believer’s heart shall flow rivers of living water.’”

John 7:37-38

There is a river in Psalm 46 whose streams make glad the city of God. I believe that includes the citizens. Do you simply sit by the stream or do you dare drink from it? Have you asked the Lord to help you slip your feet into the stream, then your lower body and perhaps your entire self? Have you been for a swim in this holy stream? Have you allowed the Lord to wash you in this holy water from Him? Soak in it?

If not, why not try this during your next quiet time? He has promised there is a river of living water flowing in your heart, i.e., the depths of your being. Are you willing to accept His gift?

What if our yard or the neighbors new sod across the street refused to accept this blessed downpour this morning? What if their sod said, “No thanks. I don’t trust that water. Give me water from the ch-ch-chuk rotating sprinkler any ole’ time. Not that downpour stuff that occurs so unreliably.”

Unlike rain from the sky the river of Living Water runs continuously within us as we stay joined to , abiding in the Lord Jesus Christ. He gives the water, not the clouds or weather systems.

What are you waiting for? If your soul is dry and thirsty now is the time to drink deeply from His eternal source.

Other House/This House

When we lived on Siesta Drive our large wind chimes, tuned musically, hung from a hook off the second story balcony. Even when we had constant wind, we rarely heard them. Now we have them on a “shepherds crook” in the back yard. We are enjoying their melody almost all the time!

Yep, that is temporary home for rain gauge!

At our other house we had the hummingbird feeder on the front porch. We often saw them through the living room windows or if we were sitting on the front porch. Now we have the feeder outside the office window. We tried it outside kitchen window but some sort of bees took over and would not let the hummers feed.

(Before tree was planted!)

Photos were taken through the screen, but those birds cheer me on while I write or sit here to pay the bills. Today I actually saw a male and a baby hummer on the feeder at the same time!

New house, new perspectives on old favorites. Bob hung a smaller wind chime just outside the office windows. When the one in the backyard is not ringing, the smaller one in the front yard often is! Cannot see it from indoors, but if the window is open can certainly hear it!

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

John 3:8 NIV

We have plants!!

When we moved here in May we placed a special order for what plants we wanted in our front flower beds. The first order they brought to us was wrong so we sent it back. Then we had to wait for the sod to get established before they could being us the correct plants since they would bring mulch and drive over the yard to bring the plants with machines.

So we waited. And Miranda in the office went on vacation. And we waited and finally one day they brought the plants!

Oak tree looks a little tipsy, but it will get established.

The shrubs are butterfly bush (near door) and sweet viburnum (near corner of building). We asked for Vitex which is a native butterfly bush. Not certain they found one, but the shrubs are in now. The other plants in front bed we brought with us from the old house. Rose and ferns. Bought the rose blooming brightly below. It lived in a plastic bag for a couple months before getting planted in a 5 gallon bucket. There is also calla lily which began as a spring houseplant. I find it amazing that all these plants can be grown, transplanted, re-established and flourish in new surroundings.

The edge of the sidewalk has some iris from the other house, oregano and columbine plus new Astilbe which are not blooming. (Well, there is one dried flower on the Astilbe.) I will eventually put spring bulbs in there. The broad leaves are amaryllis which will be taken up in autumn, dried and re-potted for winter blooming. You can just see the stone that says Bob and Molly’s garden – a gift from friends. And, of course, little black fence to discourage the dog from wandering into or taking a shortcut through the flower beds!

On the corner is a purple hydrangea that was a housewarming gift, hosta from other house and the new small decorative grass.

Hosta and decorative grass repeat on other side of garage door. We are delighted. Just praying and wishing for rain. Soaked the tree once and will need to soak it again until it seems established.

Watched a sermon on being rooted in Christ. Wonder how long it takes an oak to be rooted on Platform Street?

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.

Colossians 2:6-7 NIV

Muddy Bubbles

Until our neighbors get sod, I have been enjoying a phenomena during rain showers that I call Muddy Bubbles. Writing in the Wall Street Journal Helen Czerski says:

“When things are just right, the [raindrop} splash rebounds off the bottom of the puddle and the circular wall reaches up even higher than usual. The surface of the water acts as if it’s an elastic sheet, so that as the elongated crown travels upward, it also bends inward to form a dome. The edges collide in the middle but stay intact, leaving a hemisphere of air trapped underneath a watery shell and creating a nice big bubble. In a typical outdoor puddle there is likely to be a bit of organic material that will stick to the bubble’s surface, helping the bubble to last long enough for us to see it.

The organic material in this case is clay, plant material, insect detritus, etc. And Helen is right. These are BIG bubbles. I have not however deliberately ventured out in the rain to try to capture a photo – yet. Below are photos of the puddle area a few hours after a rain.

Walking around our backyard you will find we likely have more water than that trapped under the growing sod. Taking these photos I was sinking over the tops of my flip flops. I do not think having a garden across the back of our property line will be an option. The wild Queen Ann’s Lace is about four or five feet tall due to the water!

Other than the drainage problem the sod is growing, we have had some rain (alleviating the twice a day watering Bob had to do) and the yard is coming along swimmingly!

Blessings from Above

We have seen a doe and her fawn in our neighbor’s yard. This was an unexpected visit from what I believe is a yearling doe. We were delighted. Not enough time to get another camera!

She was ambling on a walk and decided to check us out!

Closer
Closer yet

She walked right up to Bob who was standing inside the sliding glass door. Then she ambled over to the hummingbird feeder in front of the kitchen window. We were absolutely fascinated! What a delight from the Lord.

As the deer pants for water, so I long for you, O God.  I thirst for God, the living God. Where can I find him to come and stand before him?

Psalm 42:1-2

At Cincinnati Nature Center

We went for a walk to see if the lily pads were flourishing. They were not and they probably wont unless the Center replants them. That is not likely to happen as they are planting plants that grow locally and these are really old plants that the Krippendorf family planted years ago.

There were lovely blue dragonflies (perhaps blue dashers?) darting around the pond. Then one perched (lower left corner) and I snapped a photo. Look in the background (upper right corner) at the large bullfrog on the floating log!

So was the bullfrog hoping for dragonfly for lunch? This one was certainly too far away.

Just love those front legs. Toes/fingers look as if he is praying for lunch!

Turtles on the other end of log could not care less! Keep watching for hidden treasure and amusements along your journey 🙂

So far

We were grieving having to leave our woods on the back hill. In this, too, the Lord took care of us! The neighbor (Angela) has a lovely yard. Turns out she was in grief when they built our subdivision and removed the trees that used to stand on the edge of her property before the farmland began. Told me she came home from work one day and was in shock that the woods were just gone. I shared with her that we are grateful for her large trees and the wildlife that likes her yard.

Now I am rejoicing in her giant maple trees. There is marshy ground that runs between our property lines. She said it got much worse when they took all the trees down. Have no idea how we can garden there? Maybe a weeping willow and some pussy willow shrubs? I think day lilies like wet ground, too. Time will tell.

View from our dining room table.

I know that is not a good photo because of the screen, but we were delighted to see a Doe and Fawn in Angela’s yard one day. The rabbits abound out there. I now understand better the saying about breeding like bunnies!

We have seen rabbits, several hawks, song birds, squirrels, four spot pennant dragonfly and many damselflies.

Cautious Doe watching out for her Fawn. The stake is the corner of our lot.

We already had gutter guards put on due to the abundance of maple seeds clogging the gutters. In southwest Ohio when you do not have a yard yet and it rains really hard, this is what you get!

The landscape company came today, but they had the wrong plants for us. Shucks!! We are hoping to get plants and sod soon.

Lord of rain and sky and Ohio clay, we thank You for this home and the challenges of moving and meeting new neighbors.