{ 7-Green Summer }

IMG_20180830_145116Summer was dewy mornings and mossy smells and strident cicada songs. Its scenery was a scrim of seven different greens.

Hot and slow days became beach days. We sifted sand through content toes, then raced into the lake again.

Steamy, sweaty work and walks alternated with trips inside chilly stores and brain-freezing smoothies.

Now, tomato plants are curled up in the fetal position, but the zinnias are gaudy in their prime.

Their tiered blooms offer fast-food to uninhibited hummingbird moths.  I watch their straw-tongues sip, then zip! They are gone.

Weedy tree-fruits tangle together and creeping vines shroud the trees.

The sun sinks into a humid horizon and crickets lullabye summer to sleep.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. ~ Ecclesiastes 3:11

Photo by Gino Luciano

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{ What is an Adventure? }

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What is an adventure?

An adventure is a little trip that twists unexpectedly, making life more intriguing or educational than just staying home.

It’s like heading to Hinckley because someone on Craigslist wants to buy your antique chair.  Along the way, you run into tangled traffic and a surprising amount of snow.  And when you are almost there, the chair customer calls and says she is not interested after all.

So, the tears and loud expressions of regret you yell aloud in an empty car make you realize that you are still pretty rough around the edges and God has more work to do on you.

Life is an adventure that is filled with mini adventures.  Just when you think you are going to the store for potatoes, you run out of gas and meet an angel on County Road #1. And when you arrive home without the forgotten potatoes, you are faced with the truth you should have known all along:  everyone wanted pancakes, anyway.

An adventure is a journey of corners. As you peek around each one, you may find a nest of  naked, newborn field mice, or a key lime donut with chocolate sprinkles.  You never know. A true adventure is usually not 100% bad or 100% good – it’s a little of both.

Unplanned, unexpected and possibly unwelcome, an adventure makes you richer because, after all the field mice and donuts, you have a true and unique story to tell.

—-

“Adventures are never fun while you’re having them.”

~ C.S. Lewis, Voyage of the Dawn Treader

—–

© Lisa M. Luciano

 

 

{ Real Thoughts }

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I’m reading a book called “Wordsmithy: Hot Tips for the Writing Life” by Douglas Wilson. My daughter gave it to me for my birthday.  It’s funny, inspiring, and short enough to read in a few hours.

In one sitting, I read all the way to section six, which advises:

“Live an actual life out there, a full life, the kind that will generate a surplus of stories.”

So it got me thinking:

Am I living a full, actual life?

Or, do I lose sight of purpose between shuffling laundry loads and racing to town to grab groceries and the discount latte of the day?

(These duties are needful, of course.  Especially the latte.)

I grudgingly left my book and walked out to the garden.

This reassured me that I must be living a real life– a busy life that keeps me from tending weeds and overripe cucumbers wasting away under dry, tangled vines.

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And just then —  with one foot, I stepped on a thistle, while my other foot stepped on a bee, who had been sucking on the clover that grew from an unmowed lawn.

Suddenly, I felt fully alive.

© Lisa M. Luciano

Photo credits:

Laundry — Nik MacMillan

Cucumbers —Markus Spiske

{ Recipe for a Happy Birthday }

 

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Ingredients:

1- 5# bag of expectations

2 gallons water

1 cup possibilities

1 lb. gratefulness

1 cup sugar

3 1/2 cups whatever!

 

  1. In a large bucket, mix expectations with 2 gallons water.  Stir until dissolved.
  2. Dump this mixture outside. (Makes good compost.)
  3. Chop possibilities into bite-sized chunks and set aside.
  4. Using a blender, combine gratefulness with sugar and process until fine.
  5. With fingers or a pastry blender, chop whatever! into coarse crumbs.
  6. Layer the possibilities mixture alternately with the whatever!, sprinkling gratefulness / sugar mix liberally over each layer and on top.
  7. Let sit 30 minutes, allowing flavors to combine.
  8. Serve with coffee or tea.
  9. Enjoy immediately, because it will be gone by tomorrow.

 

 

(c) Lisa M. Luciano

Word Prompt:  harmony

 

 

Photo credit:Audrey Fretz

{ Declaration of Phone Independence }

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary to disconnect oneself from the despotism of a cell phone, it only makes sense that one should list reasons for the separation.

Prudence dictates that smartphones should not be thrown out for light or transient causes. We need to keep in touch, check our bank balances, and navigate via GPS.

But, there comes a point when a phone becomes ridiculously demanding or distracting. And, after repeated usurpations of time and attention, it is a person’s duty to throw off such tyranny.

To prove this, let these facts and resolutions be submitted to a candid world:

  1. My phone is not part of my body.  I do not have to take it everywhere I go.
  2. When someone raises a question, wonders why? or seeks a word definition, I do not have to immediately drop everything to ask Google.
  3. I can fall asleep and awaken without a phone to help me.
  4. My phone may whine for me to touch it and spend time with it, but it can wait for a scheduled appointment.
  5.  I won’t look away from loved ones’ eyes to sneak looks at a screen.
  6. To check the weather, I can look at the sky and smell the breeze.  I do not have to check an electronic display to see if it looks like rain.
  7.  I will not allow my phone to shackle my eyes to its surface.  When a human comes into the room, I will give the individual my focus and respect.
  8.  My phone should be unseen and unheard when I am in a group setting.
  9. I will not force others to look at my photos or favorite videos without their kind permission.  And if they agree, I will not overdo it.
  10. My phone is a tool.  I will not let it carve me into a distracted, addicted, unpersonable person.

 

© Lisa M. Luciano, with apologies to Thomas Jefferson, for borrowing parts of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

“All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.” 1 Corinthians 6:12

 

{ A Do-er or a Cutter?}

Yesterday in church we learned about Josiah, who became king of Judah at age eight.

Who was King Josiah, what did he do, and why does it matter hundreds of years later?

Josiah had a notorious grandfather (Manasseh) – recorded as the most dastardly king of Judah. He had a son (Amon) that walked in his evil footsteps, leaving a poor spiritual heritage to his son, who was Josiah, the young king we are talking about here…

Josiah was eight years old when his father was assassinated.  Early in his young royal life, Josiah was curious about spiritual things. Although his homeland was black with evil, Josiah still began to seek God.

It might be better to say that God drew him.  God does that – and it’s often surprising.  Especially when conditions around us don’t look promising, and we don’t appear to be headed in a holy direction.

All this drawing and wooing and curious interest about God made Josiah’s heart fertile ground.  God was preparing his soft heart for an upsetting, earthshaking event that took place a few years later…

King Josiah told workers to clean out the temple. This was looking like a no-brainer job. Laborers were simply there to de-clutter, dust and organize. They were even told to keep track of their own hours. Things looked easy.

As trinkets were unearthed and dust flew, a scroll was discovered and brought to King Josiah.

This scroll was actually a treasured but forgotten book of the Law of God — given and practiced hundreds of years before.

Back when people followed God.

Back before people exchanged a loving God for a lie.

Reading the scroll aloud put a horrifying spotlight on Judah’s current state of affairs. God’s chosen people had been living in direct opposition to the words of this scroll-book. The nation was practicing child sacrifice and idol worship, even though generations before they had ousted people that were doing these same things.

When Josiah heard the words of the neglected book, he wept and tore his clothes.

Here they were, trying to tidy up the temple, making it sparkle and shine. But the temple – the spiritual heart of the nation– didn’t need dusting, it needed to be stripped down, disinfected, dismantled and rebuilt.

Josiah’s heart was overwhelmed and heavily grieved.

But Josiah wasn’t only stirred.  He was changed.

Josiah turned the nation of Judah around 180 degrees.

(This thorough process involved lots of idols being ground to powder and piles of burnt bones.)

A woman named Huldah gave a prophecy at this point:

Judah be destroyed because of its abominations.  It would be disciplined for the cries of its sacrificed children. But because of Josiah’s repentance and love for God’s discovered Word, Judah’s depressing end wouldn’t come during Josiah’s lifetime.

Lots of personal lessons here:

  1. We should expect to see God’s Word in God’s house.  It shouldn’t be hidden, neglected, unused or unpracticed.
  2. Maybe we feel safe, knowing we will avoid the coming judgment.  That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t warn others. I want to be faithful to share God’s Word within my sphere of influence.
  3. When I am confronted by God’s Word, do I change?  Or, do I continue puttering around, just dusting the externals?
  4. Josiah burned and destroyed the evidence and the promoters of idol worship in Judah.  This made it impossible for the people to return to the former way of life.  Have I made it easy or difficult to return to old, sinful ways? Burning bridges here can be a good thing…
  5. 300 years earlier, a prophet actually named Josiah by name, predicting that he would destroy idol worship in Judah. (I Kings 13:1-10) The Bible is bursting with fulfilled prophecies, confirming its truth.  
  6. After all that Josiah did to reform Judah, his son Jehoiakim went the opposite way. He heard God’s word, and what he didn’t like, he conveniently had cut out with a knife and burned. God has no grandchildren; our children need to surrender to God for themselves. 
  7.  Josiah’s life ended on a strange note.  He felt compelled to fight against Egypt, even though Pharaoh warned him that it really wasn’t his fight. Josiah did it anyway — he dressed up like a common person, was wounded and died.  It’s always good to be reminded that even if a person’s life is resplendent and glorious, he or she is still just a person who makes mistakes. 

    @scissors
    When I read God’s Word, am I a doer– or a cutter (do I effectively *cut out* the parts of the Bible that aren’t comfortable or pleasant?)

Word of the Day: Resplendent

Scripture references:

  • 2 Chronicles 34,35
  • Jeremiah 36
  • 2 Kings 22,23

 

{Editing Talk?}

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I’m learning to write succinct sentences.

It’s becoming easier to cut out extra words.

But there’s a problem with learning:

Suddenly you see problems that need to be fixed.

Example: When I read a book about listening, I start noticing people with good — or bad listening habits.

Because I’m currently focused on succinct writing, I’ve now been tempted to mentally edit wordy talkers.

Sometimes I wish I could edit/delete:

  • that energetically winding rabbit trail that goes nowhere before it reaches the
  • the elaborate sideline speech about a neighbor’s dental work before we revisit
  • the same phrase you just said a minute ago and the
  • day’s news told three times, three different ways

Maybe I just need to enhance my listening skills…but are you ever inclined to edit talk?

Photo: Pixabay