Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Today's Lack of Post....

...is brought to you by a twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, which a local lake was cruised, a local skyline observed, half a million bats made their way skyward, and Mexican food was consumed.  In keeping with this theme, I give you Bat Before The Moon by Biho Takashi (1910):


Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Twenty Five Years Of Marriage

So today we celebrate 25 years of being Mr. and Mrs. TB.

I do not know that I can honestly say I had a clue what I was doing when I got married. I do not precisely think the phrase "There was no chance in the world it work" applies, but arguably the odds were reasonably against us:  even at the tender age of 26 I had a fair amount of growing up left to do:  I had two degrees, college debt, and no idea what in the world I was going to do with my life.  I still contend that I probably had nothing particularly wonderful to offer.

We have lived through seven moves, three births, three houses, a rather varied number of careers, nine cars, and rather large collection of pets. We have lost and gained friends.  We have found a number of new interests and lost a number of old ones.

Marriage, in case you do not know, is hard.  It is probably by far the hardest thing I have ever tried to do.  As I described it once to an unmarried friend, "It is not as if you can take your ball and go home.  You are already home."   And I have come to understand over the years how many marriages do in fact fall apart - I suspect in the current environment it is even more difficult because there is so much in the world that tries to drag us apart.  In an age of selfish gratification, being willing to surrender your wants and desires for the sake of the other person really is an act of rebellion.

I do not really have any great advice for how to stay married, other than "Do not give up."  Which seems a bit trite.  After all, not giving up is not a particularly elegant thing (and it sure would not sell books).  But it is that commitment to not giving up, to staying in the relationship for no other reason than you promised you would, that makes things work (e.g. listening to your "feelings" at those moments is not particularly helpful).

We will have a quiet evening tonight, going out for dinner - perhaps one that is a little nicer, perhaps - and reflecting on 25 years of life together.  Not a wholly poor way to spend a milestone.

Monday, May 21, 2018

2018 Spring Garden update

As you might remember, when we last left the garden it was fenced in but with a trio of lettuce and some garlic in place:


We had a planting event about two weeks ago - and we are growing!



Jalapeno (purchased, not from seed)  has some peppers on it already!


The lettuce is putting out flowers for seed heads and the garlic is falling over:


This year's volunteer - a pumpkin, I assume:


Beans and Black Eyed Peas (and the local help):

My Painted Corn is making a promising start:


Tomato plant has some flowers already.  Maybe I can get a few this year:


My two poor lime trees are trying to recover, along with some irises from Old Home that Poppy destroyed the planter on (but have come back nicely):


And finally, a mint plant I bought to go along the side of the house.  For some reason things seem to grow pretty well here without too much extra watering - so I hope it does well:


So far the progress of my sectioned off garden has been so good, I am considering sectioning off other parts of the yard as well for other self contained gardens.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

On The Paring Of Activities

My days have become very focused of late.

With work eating up a great deal more time than I had anticipated, I have had to become a lot more selective and regimented about what I do and when I do it.  The time I have that is not wrapped up in work or family has become precious and something which simply cannot be aimlessly wasted. 

What gets packed in?  Writing (of course), journaling in the morning and blogging at night.  My Bible and inspirational reading, of course.  Iai (practice or class) and workouts (on the days I do not have class).  Icelandic, to prepare for August.  Watering my garden and trying to keep tabs on the pests in it.  A chapter a night and a little Japanese packed in along the side.  The pup and the rabbits get some loves.

And that seems to be about it.

Oh, there is a bit more time on the weekends for some longer developed activities, like cheese or more extensive yardwork or the hint of home improvement.  But frankly, right now, that seems to be about all the time there is.

I have pondered in the past what would rise as the most important activities in the event that my time became constrained.  Turns out, I seem to have discovered what they are.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Where Is Holiness?

It strikes me that holiness is something you almost never hear anything about in church anymore.

It saddens me more than I can possibly express - not because I am fan per se of judgment, but that it (to my mind anyway) demeans the nature of God.  Suddenly God is much more concerned with other things - social justice, environmentalism, _____ rights.  These, we are told, are what the gospel is really about.  Sin is at at best alluded to, at worst not mentioned at all.  We are "saved", but from some nameless thing we cannot verbalize.

Mind you, I understand the root of the complaint.  Holiness as it has been interpreted by lots of periods of time has simply become a list of things that a person should not do, sometimes without any root in Scripture.  Yet holiness, we are told, is a command of God - "Be ye holy, as I am holy" (Leviticus 11:44, 1 Peter 1:15).  It is a thing that we are told without which we will not see God.

But think about it:  holiness was valued by the prophets, valued by the apostles, valued by Christ himself (see Matthew chapters 5-7 to get a glimpse of what Christ said holiness looks like). And yet the modern church, for the most part, seems to have turned its eyes away for the clear commands of God in the matter for other things. 

Just plug in your favorite cause - "Be ye Diverse, for I am diverse; be ye environmentally friendly, as I am environmentally friendly".  Oddly enough, you will not find those verses in Scripture (although it is fair to say they are discussed or implied.  But holiness is commanded.

I have to ask myself:  where is the cry for holiness from the church?  Where are the models of holiness in her ranks?  Where are the people - not saints of far away lands and times but those that live near us - that we can look to as role models of holiness?

Holiness, said one preacher, is "to think as God thinks and will as God wills."  Do we true aspire to think as God thinks?  Or do we think as we would like to think that God thinks, sprinkled with our own flavor of interpretation.

Every successful religious movement of the Old and New Testament, even to our day, had holiness its root.  Where is the cry to discover that root in our own churches today?

Social movements and trends will fail us.   Feelings will be betrayed, relationships will be broken.  Only holiness has the enduring power of God in it to sustain us when the going get rough.

Where are the cries for holiness today?

Tuesday, May 15, 2018