Category Archives: Musings

misc thoughts, daily experiences, looking at life

ADAGE: YOUR SINS WILL FIND YOU OUT – TRUE!

Spring 1943
On a small farm, NW part of Washington state, near Canada. 

I am 10 and my brother is 8.  We are having supper at the round dark oak table in the dining room with Mom and Dad.  It’s a Friday night and Clio and I want to run out a play again before it gets dark: but it is not to be.  Dad wants to talk to us about tomorrow.
We stop fidgeting to listen,

“Children you know it is time to plant the garden so we will have food for next winter. Tomorrow looks like a good day for it.  This week I plowed and prepared the ground.. and today I marked the rows with string between stakes so we can see where to plant.  Tomorrow morning we’ll get up and have breakfast and go to work on the garden.” Dad smiled as he said this. He loved the land. He was actually looking forward to planting this garden!  Clio and I did not share his enthusiasm, but we knew we would be working on the garden tomorrow. 

The next morning after breakfast, Dad an Clio headed to the garden.  As soon as the breakfast dishes were done, Mom and I joined them  where Dad had prepared everything  In some rows we had to put seeds about a foot apart, then cover them with the cool damp earth.  We all worked hard (Clio and I probably not as hard as Mom and Dad). . . finally we thought we were done… WRONG~.  

Dad came up to us and congratulated us on doing such a good job, Then he said:  “There’s just one more thing to do.. Plant the potatoes. “ 

Now, this wasn’t seeds. Rather it was pieces of potato that Mom had cut up for planting.  The secret in all of that was the “eyes” on the potatoes.  A certain break in the skin, easy to see, but I don’t know how to describe.  When Mom cut the potatoes, she made sure that each piece had an eye in it.
We then were to take the potatoes, dig a small hole and put three pieces of potato into the hole, making sure that the “eye” on each piece was turned UP Clio and I are not happy!  Our backs hurt from bending over, we are ready to quit this garden business.  But, Dad has given us our instructions.  We take the pieces of potato and start.
We work out a system.  I dig the hole, Clio drops in the potatoes, covering them well with the dirt while I dig another hole.  At the beginning we are very careful to turn the potato “eyes” in the right direction.  A little over half the row we become speedier – by simply dropping three potato pieces into the hole, helter-skelter, then covering them.
We get done… call Dad and tell him we’ve finished. He comes up, looks as the row and exclaims: “I’m surprised at how quickly you got this done!_ Great job! That’s it for now. Your mother and I will finish up.  Go on and play.”   We scamper off before Dad can change his mind. . . and totally forget about those potato “eyes.” 

Several months later.
The weather is warm. No more jackets and we can go barefoot.  Now, there is a bucket of water, brush and towel by the back door.  Before we are allowed to come inside, we have to put our feet, one at a time, in the bucket, use the brush to wash off the dirt from our feet and dry them well.  Mom does not want dirty tracks on the floor.  We painfully learn how serious she is about this, so obey.

This specific evening, as usual, Dad takes off his shoes, our feet don’t make dirty tracks, our hands are well washed and we are sitting around the dining room table, enjoying some of the fresh vegetables from the garden that Mom fixed for supper. (She is a GOOD cook.)   

As we are eating, Dad starts talking about the garden.  “All of the work of planting and weeding (Clio and I did our share of that, also.) has been worth it!  We have plenty of vegetables to can (more hard work!) for the winter.  It looks like the fruit trees are going to bear well.  We have much to thank God for!”
Dad paused.  “But there is one thing I do not understand.  We are going to be short on potatoes.  A little over half the row is fine.  But the other part almost no potatoes grew.” And he looks at my brother and I, with his eyebrows raised, waiting for our comments. 

We shamefacedly confess what we had done. His only remark is: “I thought you got through planting those potatoes very fast.  Now do you understand why it was important to plant them like your mother and I told you to do, why she was so careful how she cut them?  This winter, you may not have as many mashed potatoes as you would like.”
With downcast eyes, we understood.
————————— 

January 2019 

I’ve never forgotten. I can still remember planting those potatoes – I had a little guilt as I let Clio just throw them into the holes. I was older and knew better. But no one would ever know… and we’d already done so much!   

This lesson is indelibly etched into my mind to remind me to that responsibility is demanded by life and expected by God.
That old adage: “Your sins will find you out” is only too true. 

How about you?  Do you have some memories like this? 

Know what?  Ï thank God for the word “forgiven.”

Voni 

2017 Is Here


2017

Jesus Christ is living and His life is within us
via the Holy Spirit of God, the Father.

The reality of these words give me
the courage to walk ahead into the coming year,

2017-2

You and I are standing in the midst of the unknown. Our feet are firmly planted on the rock of Jesus Christ, placing our Trust in Him.

Because of Him, we do not need to fear the unknown: rather, we should be excited, for we are living in the time the prophets wrote about, even as they had no concept of the meaning of the words that God’s Spirit was directing them to write.

We are living in a time that Jesus Christ foretold.
Many people call these the Last Days.

I like to think of them as the Beginning of the Next Movement of God’s Great Symphony here on this earth.  The instruments of the orchestra are increasing the tempo.  The percussion and heavy drums are beating, the cymbals are crashing, the main melody of the symphony is picked up by the stringed instruments with the trumpets calling loud and clear, as the mellow sounds from the French horns provide the background for the sweet sound of the flute that soars above it all, pulling our hearts to follow that sound.  We want to stand on the tips of our toes to see where this glorious music is leading … and we yearn to share the melody with those who haven’t yet heard it.  My feet beat to the rhythm that pulses through my body.
Jesus Christ, my Lord, will soon be here!

The sounds we hear today all about us – the confusion, anger, wars and rumors of wars, economies and nations crumbling, fear being spread, lives broken … they are all a Prelude to the Beginning of the Next Movement of God’s Great Symphony.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33


So take heart, dear ones. We are in this for the adventure of our lives, while hanging onto God’s hand.
Isa 41:10-13                              Go with God in 2017 is our prayer.          Voni & Joe

Random Thoughts: GOING HOME

from Free Vector

from Free Vector

 

 

I started writing this  in Portland OR. USA before Christmas, while we were packing for our trip to Natal.
Finished it in January 2016 in Natal, RN, Brazil.
1/26/2016

 

 

 

 

 

That word “home” is spoken every day, even as it is used with hundreds – perhaps thousands – of connotations.  I can take countless adjectives, from the lowest negative to the highest of good – spread those adjectives out on tables for people to choose.  At the end, there would be no adjectives left, as people picked them up and carried them away in their hearts as a description of “home.”

For me, the word “home” is bittersweet, as myriads of memories pour into my mind. Childhood on the farm. My teen years in a small city. All those years with loving parents. I am one of the fortunate adults with memories of love at “home.” When life in the world outside was lonely and hurtful, I still had my refuge at home. As a child, that gave me a security in my relationship with God, for I knew He was there!

 

Then marriage, children, “home” in continuously changing places, as my young husband searched for a meaningful and fulfilling occupation.  Now it is my turn, to try to create an atmosphere of “home” for my children, a refuge for them to come back to when the world outside becomes too stressful and heavy.

 

Since I first married in 1950, I’ve lived in more than 50 houses or apartments, moving into each place with the goal of creating a “home”.

I learned to hate moving, tearing up a physical home, packing it and moving it.  However, I find joy in unpacking and the challenge of creating “home” once again.

I believe that some physical houses try to dissuade one from creating that place called “home.”  Other places invite one with open arms, and it is a joy to create beauty.

At times, life shreds our hearts and our homes with unexpected griefs.  At other times, joy and contentment fill our hearts and homes.

This year, instead of Christmas decorations, our apartment here in Portland is filled with suitcases – including on our bed!  Tonight, we are sleeping on our recliner sofa. The 23rd will be filled with all of the endless small details that are waiting to finish

We are preparing to leave this apartment in Portland, Oregon, on Dec. 24th to travel together to a very small apartment in Natal, RN, Brazil where, in 2012, I created another “nest” for us to live, at the time when Joe had to return to the states in Oct 2011 because of health challenges.

Now we return together to Natal, to our “home nest” for a few months: at this moment we are unsure for how long.

 

Preparing for this trip isn’t easy… you’d chuckle if you could see all the different ways we get things done, as we once again discover that 83 year old bodies don’t necessarily cooperate with the commands our brains give them.

 

Right now, my body is telling me I need to sleep some more before I tackle this day.
My brain and heart want to finish and share this with you.  If you see this, you’ll know who won. (12.28/2015 I was unable to finish this before leaving the states, so I am here in Natal editing it before I post it on my blog.— My computer gave me serious problems: still is, but now, 1.19.2016, I hope to succeed.)

 

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day we will be on planes, heading for “home”, celebrating in our hearts the miracle of the birth of our Lord.  On the day after Christmas (the 26th), the Lord willing, we will be arriving at our “nest” in Natal.      (We did! Tired, but we made it!)      

I’ll be sharing more with you from there.

Ps 121:7-8

 7 The Lord will keep you from all harm —

he will watch over your life;

8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going

both now and forevermore.

NIV

– Voni                  

26/01/2016 We’ve been here for one month and are gradually establishing a daily routine.
It is good.                                                                                                                             Cup of Coffee

I wonder how many of you identify with some thought I’ve written here?

 

 

Jihad and God’s Kingdom?

globe7
It’s dark outside- midnight black
. Looking out the window I see street lights scattered out over the area. It’s cold, dark, not a scene I want to walk into – and I’m thankful that our small apartment is warm.  I am playing music from a pan flute on my computer as I think about these past two days.  The calming Indian melody is soothing to my mind.

Since yesterday, our home has been invaded by people: reporters, victims, FBI; a continuous parade of images, commentators, more questions than answers. The television is showing a tragedy in a normal community in California, as a man and wife, radical Muslim jihadists, used automatic weapons to literally mow down people who had come together for a Christmas party.  The added touches of unreality: these were friends and co-workers they killed and maimed, and they left their six-month old child at home with a relative to go out and kill people they knew.  Their motive: these people were infidels and deserved to die.

 

I am still attempting to absorb this.

I live in Oregon at this time – the state to the north of California.  I’ve walked on the streets of San Bernardino, felt the sun on my back. I’ve been there. This wasn’t in Paris.
This was here, in the United States.

 

The world has shifted.  The nation I once knew as home, changed gradually, then like a snowball the changes picked up speed. At times, it is frightening to learn of the new laws against the citizens of this nation and against Christianity that are enacted behind the fabric and façade of a theater-in-the-round in Washington DC.  Our eyes are pulled to one scene of action while the setting hides what is really happening on another part of the stage.

 

What does all of this mean to me personally?  As I work through the sorrow and sick feeling in the pit of my stomach?

 

One: I no longer fit into this culture. 

The nation I once called “home” no longer exists.
The stage setting is still the same: looking at a Google map, mountains, cities, rivers, lakes, oceans – they are still where they belong.  However, there is fear in the land.  An unease is in the air we breathe.

 

I remember the fear and unease after Pearl Harbor, and during the 2nd World War. I was only a child, but I picked up on it. I also remember how the nation came together as grief was a companion to all of us.  I still remember the pain of learning that a young man we’d learned to love would not be coming back. The feeling of desolation.

 

That feeling has been repeated too many times these last years as a new word, terrorist, has become part of our daily vocabulary. However, now the word terrorist is no longer just a word. It is a living, breathing person.  And the nation is no longer united but splintered into factions, a set-up for attack.

 

That old song, “This Old World Is Not My Home”, carries an added depth in its words, as I comprehend that I don’t feel at home here . . . and search to understand.

 

Two:  I’m not supposed to fit into this culture.

Jesus the Christ tells us that we live in this world, but we’re not of this world.
I live here, but I don’t fit in.  My home is in His Kingdom: a nation made up of people scattered all over the world.

Luke 16:16
God’s Law and the Prophets climaxed in John;
Now it’s all kingdom of God — the glad news
and compelling invitation to every man and woman.

(from THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language
© 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved.)
 

Christ’s followers are a unique people, considered strange by many.

We are to follow Him, King above all kings, the creator of the incredible complexities of and in nature, on this planet and all the vast extents of the universe:  a King who came to live among his subjects, His kingly lineage hidden under the disguise of common clothing, walking in sandals on dusty roads; unafraid, not forced into the religious traditions of the day, speaking and moving with truth in love, allowing himself to be killed because He was a threat to the religious leaders. Then after completing an item of law (remember, on the cross He said, “It is finished”) He entered hell and tore the gates of death from the entrance to Satan’s abode. Finally, He rose from the dead – victorious over death so we don’t have to fear it.

Once again, donning His kingly robes, He was given even more authority than He’d had previously; He is alive today, involved personally in our lives, when we choose to follow Him and live in His kingdom. 

Just as I chose to move to Brazil, learn their laws and obey them, so I choose to live in the Kingdom of God. I know the King personally and He calls me His sister! ( But I don’t have squabbles with Him, for He is also my King.)

You know? I’ve never been invited to know or speak with the president of Brazil but I know my King and speak to Him several times each day. And He answers me!

Does that sound a little crazy to you?  Remember, I said Jesus Christ’s followers don’t really fit into this world we live in.  We follow a different drumbeat and hear a new and fresh melody.

Can you hear it, too?

– Voni

 

 

 

Am I a Cracked Cup?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’m at the checkout stand.  The cashier holds up my purchase: “Maám, did you know this cup has defects?”

I squint my eyes to look at it more closely.  She’s right!  What looks like a crack, but really isn’t one, is embedded in the cup.

I still want the coffee cup, defects or not.   So I bargain with her, get a discount, and leave the store happy.

For some reason, I love this little cup.  It’s just right for a small cup of coffee, and it makes me happy, just looking at it.  I even love the defects.  Everyone in the house knows that is “Voni’s cup” and when I drink coffee, I want it in that cup.

I use the cup constantly.

We don’t have a dishwasher (did you ever notice that without a dishwasher more things are dropped and broken?),

The sad day comes when my cup is dropped and the handle breaks off. But I can still use it, and I do.

Cup of Coffee

By now, my husband is wondering what’s wrong with me.  Our kitchen is full of an abundance of coffee mugs and coffee cups that we use for our Bible studies and get-togethers, when the apartment is full of people. (I love those times!)

Why am I still using this little coffee cup with no handle?  He looks at me and shakes his head.  I don’t need to ask him why that look: after 24 years of marriage we know each other’s body language pretty well.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve even taken pictures of “my cup.”   What is going on with me?

 

One surprisingly quiet afternoon, I’m sitting at the kitchen table sipping on some hot fresh coffee (out of my cracked cup,) looking out the window and thinking about some of these things and,
unexpectedly,  I understand.
It is because I, too, am a “cracked cup.” 

God knows all of my imperfections! All of the cracks and places where His love has glued me back together.  But still He cherishes me, just as I am. I will never be a fancy and beautifully designed cup to serve kings.  I like to go barefoot, touch and hug (doesn’t quite fit the model for royalty.)  Even more so is this true as my outer shell is aging and exhibiting those tiny spider-web cracks that run all over aged porcelain.  And the handle on my shell is cracking.  But He still loves me!  He created me with a purpose, to use in His hands.

How oftern I’ve crashed to the floor. He picks me up, puts me back together, and His glue makes me stronger and of more value to Him.  In fact, the more He invests of Himself in me, the more He uses me in areas I never thought were possible to be used.

So, cracked, handle breaking, outer part of my cup showing age, my cup can still hold His Spirit for others to sense, taste, and experience God’s love.

That little cup is no longer with me . . .
It shattered on it’s last fateful fall onto a ceramic tile floor.
But the lessons I learned from it remain in my memory… and I still love my “little coffee cup.”

  • Voni

 

Can you think of yourself as a “cracked coffee cup?”
Seeing yourself as that, can you  have more patience with yourself?  Be able to laugh at yourself a little more?
Have you thought of how God can glue you back together when you are willing to put yourself into His hands? 

Look in the mirror, see all the defects, and laugh.
It’s wonderful when we can recognize ourselves as “cracked coffee cups.”
Try it, and see.

Does He really know and understand you and I?  Read Psalms 139.

Psalms 23 – Spiritual Antibiotic NEEDED

Memories from the past:  MAY 1987 My husband of 40 years is gone.

I am desperate!  Without hope.  I can barely think logically, as my thoughts whirl in circles.

My husband has been telling me in actions; now it is in clear words: he does not love me –
and he is GONE! This marriage of 40 years is DEAD, FINISHED, OVER.
How can I put my mind and thinking process together? I don’t even have words to pray, except for “HELP!”

The Holy Spirit hears my cry, and a memory creeps into my terrified and numbed brain .
Jesus-Good-Shepherd-guides-me

“Psalms 23 is a spiritual antibiotic.”   This is true, whatever the problem one is facing.
As I remember this  lesson , I  begin writing it down.

Directions:
Copy out the words of Psalms 23 onto several pieces of paper.  Put one of them on my nightstand, one of them on the mirror (or next to it) in the bathroom, one on the fridge, one in my wallet,  one in my pocket.

Dosage:
Pick up paper and read verbally (this can be done quietly or LOUD – dependent upon me) all of Psalms 23, thinking about the words.  That is all… just read it verbally.  Not to study – just read.

Frequency of dosage:  every 4 hours or as follows –
Early morn, before or when getting up
Mid-morning
Noon – during meal
Mid-Afternoon
Supper – during meal
Before sleeping:  I sit on the side of the bed while taking the dosage (so I won´t fall asleep.)

IMPORTANT!
As with all antibiotics, when one starts feeling the results of medication, one wants to quit the medication. KEEP ON WITH THE DOSAGE FULL 30 DAYS.
When you start to feel better, do not stop dosage!
If you miss a dose, pick up on the routine at next time due.

Patient can repeat this antibiotic as needed.

                                   *            *          *          *           *          *          *          *
I take the anti-biotic.  In about two weeks I feel  better: still in sorrow and anguish, but beginning to think more clearly and have more clear-cut goals. 
I think about stopping the dosage, but keep on.  Good thing that I did!

By the end of the 30 days, God’s words in Psalms 23 become part of my daily life.  They pass from my brain to my heart, soul and spirit; then they start changing me.

My primary focus is now upon my God and Lord; not upon my husband.
 That sheep Jesus is carrying – is me!

This was in 1987.      It is now 2015.
I´ve used this antibiotic many times in these intervening years.  Each time, it changes my life, brings new understanding, always brings more spiritual health, which also affects the health of the physical body.

TRY IT FOR YOURSELF

And let me know the results.

–  with love,
Voni  

FORGIVENESS Is Beautiful

My eyes follow the eagle flying through the sky.
eagle flying on top of the clouds                                                

I watch the trees sway in the fresh warm wind.

3589750-beech-trees-from-ground-to-top-against-sky-with-green-leaves

 

 

I feel the cool breeze touching my body. . .

standing_in_the_wind_alderman

 

and I think of how all of this compares with forgiveness.

IMG_20140830_181743

I see the effects of it, I can feel it in my heart and body,
but I can’t see it.
Some things are too beautiful to see with normal eyesight;
However,  our spirits perceive forgiveness – and rejoice.

 

– Voni P.