Sunday, May 18, 2008

Signs of Summer and Fleming Animal Adventures

The first signs of true summer....
  • multiple days of near 90 degrees

  • kids played in the Nemo sprinkler after naps

  • I baked a tomato tart with fresh basil from the herb/butterfly garden, which, by the way, looks lush and green--except for the thyme I'm killing.

  • the pool is up to 75 degrees--still way too cold for me so right now we just sit in the jacuzzi at around 82 and pretend we're in the pool

But speaking of the pool....

A few weeks ago, I was walking across the house, vacuum in tow, when I glanced out the patio doors to see a pair of mallard ducks swimming in the pool. R was thrilled and we let them swim around a bit more til D swooshed them out of the yard and they realized they could fly.

Today, as the kids and D and I sat in the jacuzzi, a ginormous bird flew low over the house and dropped something into the pool. We all stared at each other, shocked, and then finally realized what exactly was dropped--Mr. Bird's dinner. At first we thought it was a hawk, but then, after thinking about the size of the bird (huge, I tell you, HUGE) and then seeing him perched on a neighbor's roof, watching us, we decided it must have been some kind of buzzard--not a majestic hawk--and his dinner was some kind of maggot-infested, dead-for-days, washed up fish. In our pool. So, D had the joyous task of scooping up said dead fish and wrapping it up in a garbage bag, where hopefully the roaming neighborhood cats or assortment of raccoons, possums, and armadillos will not discover it before Trash Day.

Life in Florida, I tell you, never a dull moment.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Restrained Eyes

Our women's ministry Bible study has been reading through Luke this semester. I must confess I've been less than diligent with the study for various reasons, so I know I haven't gotten all that I could have, which saddens me. It's like going to Paris and only seeing the Eiffel Tower. But God has given me glimpses here and there, despite my lack of dedication.

One of the main themes that has appeared to me over the course of the study is that of revelation. In the first few chapters paralleling Mary and Elizabeth, I was struck by their obedience without knowing the full plan. Then, after their faithfulness and submission, revelation occurred--not the other way around. So often we say, OK, God, show me the way and I'll follow. He just doesn't always work like that. I loved how the shepherds, Simeon, and Anna were granted revelation--God pulled back the curtain, allowing certain people a peek into his plan.

On the other hand, there were others who eyes were closed, who were not granted perception. Even the disciples had things hidden from them. Luke writes, "They did not perceive. They did not understand. They did not know." This week, we looked at the travelers on the road to Emaus and I was struck by the phrase, "their eyes were restrained." They were prevented from knowing who was walking with them. Only later, at their meal, were their eyes "opened and they knew him." Later, when Jesus appears to his disciples right before his ascention, he "opened their understanding." Their understanding had not been large enough before. Using the same words spoken before his death, Luke says (24:44), Jesus teaches them again from Moses and the Prophets and now they comprehend.

And I kept asking, Why? Why was it necessary for things to be hidden from them until after His death and resurrection? Wouldn't they have been more confident, bolder preachers if they had gotten it all, put all the points together, "beginning at Moses and all the Prophets." But would it might have been all head knowledge--without the burning heart of faith. I think they needed to see faith in action--in the woman who bled for seven years, in the centurion with a sick daughter, in Mary with her alabaster jar--to start to feel it a bit. And to hear Jesus take the Law and push it so far beyond their understanding that they were at the end of themselves and their own abilities.

At this season in our lives, I'm wondering why my eyes are restrained. Why can't I see how this is going to work out? I have the Prophets and the Psalmists and their words are not quite penetrating my heart? As Jill Phillips says, "I can't get it down to my heart from my head."

But if my eyes are being restrained, I know the one who is restraining them and one day he will open my understanding. Martin Luther said, “I know not where He leads, but well do I know my Guide.” The hymn based on his saying "His Love Can Never Fail" says, "I may not know the way I go, but, oh, I know my God."

Monday, May 5, 2008

Weekend of celebration(s)

Well, we made it. Dave took his last exam on Monday, received his grades, and, though he skipped the ceremony, has completed his MBA. I think I won't completely believe it until the diploma arrives in the mail. With a demanding job and two kids at home, this is a tremendous accomplishment. He didn't even use the two "C"s he was allowed!

To celebrate, he and I left for the beach Friday afternoon. Aunt Jenn was kind enough to take the kids on for the night. (They had such a great time, R asked if we could go to the beach some more.) We had a quiet dinner, took our tiramisu back to our hotel, spent the morning poolside, and walked the beach under overcast and slightly sprinkling skies. He deserved more time away but we'll take what we can get.

Meanwhile, my brother arrived stateside Friday. Whoo-hoo! He and my sis-in-law spent the weekend in Elizabethtown where she competed in her first half Ironman. My parents were there to watch and keep my brother company. She came just a few minutes shy of placing in her age group. If they hadn't rounded her age UP (ick--who wants that?!), she would have placed first in the other age group. Still, an incredible finish!

And my 4th grade nephew took first place in his county's computer competition, beating out all other 4th and 5th graders, even from the schools with more technological emphasis. He's very serious and dedicated and gave a great presentation to go along with his Power Point slide show. Outstanding!

Way to go, everyone!