Thursday, May 26, 2022



John Koenig's The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows has given the world a word that deserves acceptance and celebration.

scabulous  -  adj. proud of a certain scar on your body, which is like an autograph signed to you by a world grateful for your continued willingness to play with her, even if it hurts. (From scab + fabulous)

Paul must have been feeling a little bit scabulous when he wrote in Second Corinthians 12:9, "He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me."

It makes me think of Steven Curtis Chapman's song, "Remember Your Chains":

Remember your chains
Remember the prison that once held you
Before the love of God broke through
Remember the place you were without grace
When you see where you are now
Remember your chains
And remember your chains are gone

Truth is...Like Jacob's limp from having wrestled with God, what some people would call a weakness or a flaw, others can appreciate as a reminder of a life lived with bravery and strength.

Thursday, May 19, 2022

So Much Life!


2022.05.14  -  Saturday, 8:42 AM  -  Pacem in Terris Hermitage & Retreat Center, Isanti, MN

Sitting on the screened-in deck, I hear a woodpecker tapping away. There he is! Directly in front of me, about 30 yards to the east, intermittently hammering its beak into a  -  what?  - a birch tree?

A squirrel bounces from a pile of leaves to a fallen limb. A cardinal flies off on a mission. A smaller bird flits from tree to tree. A dragonfly finds its way back to the shore of the lake.

And the sounds!

In addition to the tapping of the woodpecker, there is a symphony of chirps, tweets, whistles, honks, and quacks. The leaves are rustling, both on the ground and in the trees.

A strong breeze wakes up and swoops through the woods as if to say, "Here you go, gang! Something fresh for your morning!"

So much life!

And this is just in the two or three acres I can physically see. There's a whole world of this going on "out there."

It's like birds. I'm aware of a fairly limited list of bird species. Let's see...eagles, hawks, condors, vultures, woodpeckers, robins, sparrows, cardinals, bluejays, hummingbirds, crows, and owls. Twelve kinds of birds. That's pretty varied. But wait. What about ducks, geese, pelicans, penguins, peacocks, ostriches, emus, falcons, finches, and pheasants?

What about the fact that there are over 11,000 different kinds of birds?

So much life!

And don't get me started on insects or bacteria. That's a whole other miniature universe.

So much life!

And humans account for such an invisibly small slice of the pie.

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Truth is...Psalm 8:4: What is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?

Thursday, May 12, 2022

On Indecision


From Ulysses S. Grant by Brooks D. Simpson.

"That winter James Rusling, a colonel in the quartermaster's department, caught his first look at the hero of Chattanooga [Grant] and was disappointed. Here was no shiny general with brass buttons, sash and sword, but a rather common-looking man, just like 'a country storekeeper or a western farmer.' The general was 'evidently intent on everything but show.' But when it came to giving orders, Grant came alive, his 'clear and penetrating eye' and set jaw suggesting that he could 'dare great things, and hold on mightily, and toil terribly' in pursuit of his objective. He might be a man of few words, but 'he knew exactly what he wanted, and why and when he wanted it.' Nearly every night the general could be found using the telegraph to keep tabs on his command (and the enemy), as he pondered the next move.

"Once, the colonel approached Grant with a requisition order authorizing large expenditures. Briefly reviewing the report, the general gave his approval, catching the colonel by surprise. Might the general want to ponder the matter a little longer? Was he sure he was right? Grant looked up. 'No, I am not,' he responded; 'but in war, anything is better than indecision. We must decide. If I am wrong, we shall soon find it out and can do the other thing. But not to decide wastes both time and money, and may ruin everything.'"

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Truth is...There really are only three options: Lead, Follow, or Get Out of the Way.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

What Are You Leaning On?


When we moved to our current house in May of 1995, we had to tidy up the back yard a little bit. There was a stray railroad tie that we weren't sure what to do with, so we leaned it up against a maple tree "for now".

Now, these many years later, we couldn't put that railroad tie anywhere else, even if we wanted to. The tree trunk has grown around the end that was resting on it and has even lifted the railroad tie off the ground as the tree stretches toward the sky.

Truth is...A person could draw more than one lesson from this little parable, and you are invited to do so. For me, it shows the importance of what I choose to lean on in life for stability and balance...because eventually, I will not only be leaning on it, I will be part of it. Praise God that when I lean on Jesus, he accepts me as his own and brings me closer to the Father.