Friday, April 3, 2015

Friends and flowers

Pictures tell the tale:

Old but personal
I pack some artwork from the basement suite this week, to personalize our home in Indonesia.

Tuesday, March 31
We're at Northwest U in the morning and early afternoon for a seminar on balancing truth and grace for cultural hot-buttons such as sexual orientation and other issues. My takeaway includes the startling thought of how redefining words has historically been used to remove freedoms and abuse people. (For example, Stalin redefined those he intended to wipe out as "former persons" to be able to lock them away.)

Redefining marriage for the first time in human history changes the entire context and reason for marriage. It's also being used to persecute people of conviction and label them bigots and haters.

In the evening, we eat supper at Très Hermanos. Timo, Melissa, and the grandkids join us. Grandparents seem to be able to invent mischief without much repercussion. After a good meal, we let the grands splash in our water glasses to entertain them while we talk.

I can't believe I forget to take pictures with Marj and Julia, dear friends and writers. Julia and I meet at Starbucks and take goodies - gooey salted carmel bars of deliciousness - and tea to Marj's apartment. I love the time with these dear women!

W picks me up for lunch with another long-time friend, Rich. It's so great to hang out, to catch up, and get a great plate of pasta at the same time.

On the way back, we check out sewing machines at the local shop. Our daughter needs a lightweight model that's sturdy enough to last a while.

At 8am, Kim and I meet.

She has to leave early, but exchanges a few hugs and howdies with the other women at 9, before heading off to work.

These are women I admire and do life with, women of passion and calling.

After that, I drive to Molbaks for time with one of my best friends, Martha. Just over two years ago, we sat together and she asked if I was interested in moving to Indonesia. Well, yes, I was. That conversation - and her husband's subsequent one with W later that week - changed the trajectory of our lives.

She and I always have lots to talk about and this morning's setting is gorgeous. Lunch in the little café is refreshing. It almost feels like the tropics: the large leaves of vines and shrubs - and the orchids - around us make me feel at home.

I fill a bag with vegetable and herb seeds, looking forward to growing fresh greens when I get home! The gardener comes a few days a month to hack back the abundant foliage. I wonder what he'll think of the new plants.

Friday: Good Friday. 
That's always a special day on our calendar. Time to reflect, renew, to be grateful for Jesus. How can we imagine giving up our life for others? We look to the cross, our model of sacrifice and service.

W and I spend the morning with a family that hopes to stay with us for a while. Their hopes for SAFE travels together (Serve / Adventure / Food and Fun / Education) make our hearts sing. Plus Laura bakes fantastic banana muffins to enjoy with our cups of coffee and tea. She sends me the recipe later in the day.

After a quick stop at the Kirkland Library, we drive home. I need to unwind from this week's many conversations and sights. It's also my writing day - from newsletters and blogs to other interactions.

We work on the talk for Sunday before W heads out to coffee with a friend. Then he drives to Seattle to spend the night on a boat with guy friends. He'll have breakfast followed by another coffee group in the morning. It's safe to say that he's officially our socialite.

Our granddaughter jumps all over the bed, looking for the hot water bottle and her blanket as I hide them. It's so much fun to hear her squeal with joy when she finds them! and I'm tucking away memories, sounds, and the feeling of soft little-girl fingers and cheeks for when we're far away.

On this lovely day of remembrance, I take time for the contemplation I crave. The honor and the horrors of the cross fill my heart to overflowing.

Read more:
*Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground.

He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
    nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, 

   and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. Isaiah 53:1-4 NIV

*And as Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, he took the twelve disciples aside, and on the way he said to them, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. And the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day.” Matthew 20: 17-19 ESV 

*Darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three in the afternoon Jesus
cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" (which means "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?").

When some of those standing near heard this, they said, "Listen, he's calling Elijah."

Someone ran, filled a sponge with wine vinegar, put it on a staff, and offered it to Jesus to drink. "Now leave him alone. Let's see if Elijah comes to take him down," he said.

With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last. The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, "Surely this man was the Son of God!" Mark 15:33-39  NIV

Moravian Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, as we come to you today in prayer and praise, we recognize you as our Creator, Defender, and Sustainer. Let us always remember what you suffered for the forgiveness of our sins. Amen.

From C. S. Lewis in The Great Divorce[One fictional character speaking to another about hell] 
"There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in Hell choose it. Without that self-choice, there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek, find. To those who knock, it is opened.. . .

"Hell is a state of mind—ye never said a truer word. And every state of mind, left to itself, every shutting up of the creature within the dungeon of its own mind is, in the end, Hell. But Heaven is not a state of mind. Heaven is reality itself. All that is fully real is Heavenly.” . .

"Hell is smaller than one pebble of your earthly world: but it is smaller than one atom of this world, the Real World. Look at yon butterfly. If it swallowed all Hell, Hell would not be big enough to do it any harm or to have any taste. . . .

“A damned soul is nearly nothing: it is shrunk, shut up in itself. Good beats upon the damned incessantly as sound waves beat on the ears of the deaf, but they cannot receive it. Their fists are clenched, their teeth are clenched, their eyes fast shut. First they will not, in the end they cannot, open their hands for gifts, or their mouths for food, or their eyes to see.”

“Then no one can ever reach them?”

“Only the Greatest of all can make Himself small enough to enter Hell. For the higher a thing is, the lower it can descend—a man can sympathise with a horse but a horse cannot sympathise with a rat. Only One has descended into Hell.”

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