July 31, 2008

Sabbatical #4 Chainsaw Sculptures

Deb and Linz drove in at 3am...yea God! Got up @ sunrise and did a double power walk...some good prayer time. Was at the dump by 8:20am and back to keep cleaning and moving mom.

On the way to the dump on the second trip today...listening to country music and thinking about keeping it really real and authentic in life (after all County Music does that better than most Christians I know and especially most pastors)...anyway on the way there I saw a place with a big sign that said "CHAINSAW SCULPTURES"...I immediately thought, "that's my life"!

God is the great sculpture of my life and I keep thinking there is a "David" by "Michaelangelo" inside me...and there's truth there...but I am so stubborn sometimes that God has to use a CHAINSAW to get the useless stuff out of my life. You can't do much fine sculpting with a chainsaw! God keep up your work on my life...use a CHAINSAW when necessary...but also get me to that finer tuning that comes when you can pull out your small wood chipper and your whittling knive and do some detailed work on my heart.

A 72 year old Panda Bear causes a melt down...We were cleaning more stuff in a separate barn and suddenly mom found a Panda Bear she had when she was 4 years old and burst out in tears. I held her for a while and got the story...our humanity is so intriguing...70 year old things can trigger emotions that take us back to childhood.

I also thought of the verse in John 21 when Jesus prophesies about John and says when you are old, people will come and take you places you do not want to go....Mom wants to stay here but knows she can't so she must go where her circumstances dictate.

July 30, 2008

Sabbatical #3 Rat Poop and Reality Thinking

Got up for an early morning prayer\power walk...maybe I should call them a double power stroll...gorgeous as I watched the sun start shining on the Cascade mountains. Then went to work in dad's shop...gross...rat poop, squirrel poop, mice poop mixed with remnants from 77 years of Dad's life...I probably tossed 5000 worth of outdated veterinary medicine.

After about 4 hours of this I was beginning to think...what am I doing? I have a doctorate this kind of work is below me...Just then I sensed the Lord say..."who do you think you are?, Are you so high and mighty that you can't get on your hands and knees to serve your deceased father and your cancer stricken mom....get real, Larry!" I repented in the rat poop. "Lord I know you honor humility...please let me live in the beauty of humility.

I sensed what I believe was the Lord's inner voice one other time today...As I was cleaning my dad's stuff up, I began to think about dad. He was a man who always had a new idea, a new vision, a new dream...rather than cleaning up the mess from his latest idea he just moved on to the next idea. I thought to myself...he needed to slow down a little on the vision thing and not move forward without cleaning up his mess"...so do I...I need to see the mess that my next dream is going to create and count the clean up cost into the risk analysis before charging forward.

Deb and Lindsey will get here about 2am....yippee!

July 29, 2008

Sabbatical #2 Chemo & Cockroaches

A 3 mile walk at sunrise, working until breakfast, taking mom to her cancer chemo treatment and then a trip to the dump - at least that's what they called it the last time I went...now it's not a dump at all but a "transfer station"...but still smelled like a dump to me.

Then a quick trip to Home Depot and then to the country grocery store and we had friend chicken...which is just like fried chicken only with an "n"...(don't let Deb know I ate fried chicken and even had jojo's which are a disgusting form of potato that I am told is well known by truckers and 7-Eleven junkies.

Then I went to work on a disgusting hay shed filled with junk and hay and beekeeping stuff and multitudes of cockroaches and spiders. Deb would have run for the house. But I like cockroaches... especially fried.

Catch this I was on the phone with Deb when a 5.7 earthquake hit So.Cal.

All this sweat, and hay hauling, and dirt and dump yards...such a far distance from my usual day to day life...I sense you Lord...I loved our quiet conversation throughout the day...unfettered by a to do list dangling from my neck like a noose. I am exhausted, yet at peace...just mom and me and you in a 900 sq. foot mobile home on Crooked River Ranch with the cool breeze blowing through the door. Blow, Spirit...refreshing my soul.

July 28, 2008

Sabbatical Day 1

Departing from my blog style to date, I will be posting spontaneously rather than deliberately...which is to say...brief notes that serve as an on-line journal of this 3 month sabbatical adventure that I am on. More for me and Jesus than anyone else.

up at 4am to keep a promise to a woman worthy of being honored...promised to do the floors and take care of the boat before I flew out from LAX...

flew to see mom and care for her during chemo treatments which have recently been rougher.

landed in Redmond, ate at the Country Nook...yes sireee, yee haw...it was actually better than some prefabricated piece of cuisine conjured up in some fast food accountant's recipe book.

mowed the yard...that feel good to get really dirty...marveled at the deer in the front yard...then cleaned out the camper with mom...it was filled with dad's stuff and so it awakened memories and reminded me that since the middle of May I haven't had a minute to do the important work of grieving...Lord let it begin, cleanse my burden with the tears of gratitude and farewells.

Read paper, talked with Deb and Lindsey...they are driving up on Wednesday...oh and congrats to TJ on the new supervisor staff position at my alma mater, APU!

July 09, 2008

Little or True Pleasures?

Toilet paper, toilets, garbage collection, street sweepers, sidewalks, asphalt, hamburgers, vegetables, napkins, clean water, deodorant, hot water, running water, stoplights, etc.

Oh the little pleasures of life in a first world country.

I need a yearly dose of a third world country to remind me of how rich I really am and what rich is and is not. Having just returned from a trip to a remote part of Ethiopia, I am enjoying all the small things in a big way. I am so thankful for the fact that I live in SoCal America. Yet I always end up asking the question, Why me instead of Tesfye, Ashenafi, Getachew, Teshoma? They are great people who live on so little.

At the same time I am taught once again, what has real value. Is my real value in my Costco card, my 24 Hour fitness card, my Disneyland pass, my Starbucks card? My friends in Ethiopia are rich without having even toilet paper. The love of friends, the vibrant relationship with Christ, the tightness of their family, the joy they get from each new day, the purpose they find in simply helping someone who is in trouble or in sharing the simple story of salvation…these are their true pleasures that so many Americans are missing while we enjoy our little pleasures.

God help me fully live who I am and where I am, without missing the true pleasures because of the little pleasures that become much bigger in my mind than they really are.