A Charlie Brown Christmas has long been a favorite of mine for its lighthearted humor and moving spiritual message. It’s the character Pigpen who cracks me up the most; how can he stir up a cloud of dust while ice skating and building a snowman? Surely that’s impossible! But my favorite scene is where Linus explains the meaning of Christmas to Charlie Brown; that always puts a lump in my throat. Recently, a brother observed that when Linus speaks about Christ the Lord, he drops his security blanket to the floor and clasps his hands over his heart. So simple. So meaningful. So beautiful.
So why am I writing about Charlie Brown Christmas when it’s the end of January, you ask? Do you remember Charlie Brown’s reaction when he hung an ornament on the Christmas tree and it doubled over?
Our Italian prune tree was sick and covered with lichens. My Dad planted it some 15 years ago with a modest layer of beauty bark over black weed barrier cloth. Soon after, mom had a stroke and dad was unable to tend to it what with the round-the-clock care mom required. Continue reading
Screen grab from the L2Survive Youtube channel
Sunday afternoon I attended a demonstration for pruning fruit trees at Paul Gautschi’s home. Observing Paul move in and about the trees as he worked with hand saw and clipper, the Spirit made several impressions on me.
As he shaped an apple tree to bow before him the Holy Spirit brought to mind the passage in Revelation where the 24 elders bow before the Creator, while in Genesis, God’s creation bows before us. In so doing, Paul was exercising his dominion over the garden.
And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the heavens, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. (Genesis 1:26 ASV)
And Jehovah God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it (Genesis 2:15 ASV).
I was also deeply moved by the number of times Paul stopped pruning to devote his full attention to sharing the Creator’s truth. As often as he stopped to speak, the Holy Spirit observed that Paul “leaned on the tree”. In scripture, the word “tree” is a metaphor for the cross of Christ (Galatians 3:13). Though it was not obvious to me in the Back to Eden film, Paul was exposed to agent orange in Vietnam which has affected his ability to stand and walk without support. Several times when Paul bent down to pick up his cane from the ground, he locked one knee behind the other, presumably to keep from losing his balance or falling. Continue reading
Early last winter, Pam Spock (http://pamspock.com/) wrote about a patch of horseradish growing on the property of her and husband Vinny’s new homestead in the Finger Lakes area of NY. Her story reminded me of the summer I planted it and then spent the next 2 or 3 trying to kill it before it took over everything! If Pam was freaked out by my story of herbicidal Armageddon in the back yard, she never let on. Though she did conclude our private email exchange with the suggestion I watch the film “Back to Eden” featuring Paul Gautschi (http://www.backtoedenfilm.com/).
Image credit BacktoEdenFilm.com
I’d heard organic gardening principles mentioned a time or two since moving to Sequim in October 2014; someone may even have mentioned Paul by name. But it didn’t make an impression on me at the time because we were just too busy making our home and taking care of my elderly father. And frankly, I was too entrenched in the toilsome chemical gardening methods I’d learned while living in the rural Midwest to be open to any suggestions concerning organic gardening.
Still when Pam mentioned the film and that it could be watched online for free I felt led to look for it.
Watch it here: https://vimeo.com/28055108
Karen and I sat down one December evening to watch it over a bowl of popcorn. During the opening flyover scene I hit pause and pointed at the screen: “Is that Protection Island?” I asked. Moments later, I pressed pause again; “Blue Mountain Tree Service? Lazy J Tree Farm? North Olympic Peninsula?” Continue reading
Preparing for the move to Sequim, Washington the fall of 2014, I sold my power equipment and all but a few tools. Watching my rototiller driven away was especially sad because I had planted a vegetable garden that first summer we lived in rural northern Illinois and every summer thereafter. The Holy Spirit taught me a lot while gardening, even while simply standing there watching, waiting and marveling at my little “patch of miracles”.
1948 Gibson model SD
It’s a wonder that I ever planted a garden in the first place; what with the memory of trying to pull weeds in mom’s garden during the heat of summer, when the ground had set up like concrete. No amount of chipping away with a trowel or weed fork would get the root like mom wanted. “Aw Mom! I’m a guitar player, not a farmer! Can’t you see I have delicate hands?!?” Forty-five years later, Dad tells me weeding was one of the ways mom punished me for mouthing off. “How’d she punish you, Dad?” I asked. Continue reading
If there were a meter by which to measure introversion, I’d register in the hermit zone. That means few people other than my wife and father know me well. While I prefer it that way, it’s often frustrating, especially where sharing my faith and talents are concerned. Not surprising then that I blog, journal, and post my original tunes on the web.
From time to time the Father has given me a friend with whom to break bread real and spiritual; someone to listen, offer wise counsel and encouragement. A friend is one of God’s greatest gifts as we make this pilgrimage through life.
The wounds from a friend can be trusted; but an enemy will smother you with kisses (Proverbs 27:6).
Love covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8)
A true friend will point out an issue, that on my own I’m blind to or simply refuse to deal with. Anger is one such issue. Decades ago, a friend observed when it comes to dealing with anger, I do a “slow boil”. Eventually that simmering pot of upset within me would boil over and I became “hell on wheels” in dealing with every unjust situation or person who had wronged me.
Upon that all-too-familiar battlefield, the grace and peace of Yeshua takes a stand against the scars and injuries I’ve accumulated over a life time and the wearisome struggle to forgive those who inflicted them. These issues, together with the all-too-frequent Continue reading
In the gospels, the word “stone” is used literally and spiritually. For example, Matthew 7:9 appears to be a literal use of the word.
“Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone?” Matthew 7:9
Likewise, Matthew 28:2.
“And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it.” Matthew 28:2
Matthew 21:42 and 44 on the other hand, use the word “stone” as a spiritual metaphor, in reference to Yeshua.
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:” ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? Matthew 21:42
And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.” Matthew 21:44
Driving west on I-80 in Iowa, we followed another car for about half an hour before we both exited for the rest stop. Gesturing at road signs, the passengers shot looks at each other several times, but I thought nothing of it. After using the facilities, my wife and I observed the foursome huddled around the map with bold red “you are here” arrow, arguing among themselves. The driver stopped me to ask for directions, explaining they’d come from Davenport and were on their way to Peoria, where in less than an hour, the girl was scheduled to open an important social event as Queen. “Oh my”, I replied; “Peoria is about 3 hours back that-a-way”.
So how does a driver miss the mile markers posted every mile or the large green and white traffic signs that count down the miles to the next city or interchange? You’d think that first sign “Iowa City 40 miles” would have told the driver they were headed in the wrong direction. Surely “Iowa City 30 miles” would have Continue reading