Monday, September 29, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/29/14

          There is a statue in The Woodlands that shows a lad standing on the shoulders of another and it’s meant to illustrate the truth that “I have seen farther because I stood on the shoulders of another”.

          Each generation profits from the work of others, that is a truth.  So there are high moments, we call them “ahah” times.  But life really isn't lived there. 

          Dietrich Bonhoeffer talked of small things.  In his "Life Together", he writes: “We prevent God from giving us great spiritual gifts He has in store for us because we do not give thanks for daily small gifts.” 

          Often daily life is much of what we call “same old, same old”, repetitious and even dull and boring.  There’s nothing exciting about changing a diaper, or disciplining a child.  A morning walk when it is blustery and spitting rain is not exactly fun, but we do it for health reasons.  In my long-ago morning walks I was often joined by a mutt who appeared, checked out the bushes along the way, and when I neared home he disappeared.  

          I hope this leads to a truth we must remember, “Lo, I am with you always even to the end of the world.” Our God is there, in the large, as well in the small moments and experiences. Let that truth enrich your life daily. And may God bless. 

GPD 9/29/14

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/24/14

          The other day I stopped at the all purpose room. It is used to play games, sit and chat, exercise, and stuff like that.  It also contains several shelves of books to borrow.  Standing in the corner is a table with a puzzle being worked by people who are interested. 

          There was a resident working and she was humming.  I recognized the hymn, and it reminded me of my mother.  These are the words: 
“The King of love my Shepherd is, 
Whose goodness faileth never, 
I nothing lack if I am His, 
And He is mine forever.” 

          There is such a loving, caring promise in those words, they are really soothing and uplifting.  The hymn goes on: 

“Where streams of living waters flow, 
My ransomed soul He leadeth, 
And where the verdant pastures grow, 
With food celestial feedeth” 

          Daily I read my Bible, that ‘food celestial’, and it warms my heart and strengthens my faith in my Savior. And, sadly, this truth about my walk in faith: 

“Perverse and foolish oft I strayed, 
But yet in love He sought me. 
And on His shoulder gently laid, 
And home, rejoicing, brought me.” 

          So I stepped over to the humming resident and said, “How is it going? “Oh,” she said “It’s kind of hard, and then pieces fall into place and I finally finish.  But I’m in no hurry”.  “The reason I’m asking is because my Mom used to hum while she was engaged in something, maybe baking or dusting or mending.”  I always enjoyed hearing that. It’s such a soothing, comforting sound, as if things were going well.  And so they are when “I nothing lack when I am His and He is mine forever”.  

          Dr. Luther used to say when he was hard pressed by evil, “I am baptized”.  And so I am, and that makes me His. 

GPD 9/24/14

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/20/14

          I was thinking of words.  One that I read recently spoke about a person ambling along.  What does ‘ambling’ mean?  What kind of walking is that?  Then I remember a time when the grandchildren were little and were visiting and we’d go for a ‘walk’.

          Well, you know how that  goes.  They stop and check out a bug crawling across the walk, or some growth along the side, or run back to look at something again.  They are all over the place, and we are really ambling, sort of a ‘no specific goal in mind’.  There is no set purpose to our walk except just being there and spending time with the grandchildren.  Picture the scene and I believe you’ll grasp the meaning of ‘just ambling along’.

          It speaks of an easy time, when we weren’t pressed or hurried along.  And we really had time to stop and smell the flowers.  How sweet and pleasant are such  times, and they are all too few, are they not?

          David, the young shepherd came to mind.  His flocks have been watered, and now are lying down in the pleasant shade.  Maybe there is a dog at hand, and David relaxes on a little knoll, enjoying his lunch also.  A peaceful scene, and inviting, warm and relaxed.

          I hope your lives have scenes such as that in them, when we can understand the “Be still and know that I am God”.

          How safe we are under His eternal and loving care.

GPD 9/20/14

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/17/14

          So what have you been reading?  Or, like too many, are you caught up with twitter and facebook and email and cell phones so that reading a book does not happen very often.

          An article in the WSJ begins by reporting  of a book club in Wellington, New Zealand that meets once a week at a restaurant, settles in a cozy corner with coffee or tea at hand, and spends an hour in silent, slow reading.  The whole point of such an evening is not to end up discussing, but simply reading.  They deliberately select a corner far away from the ringing and pinging of electronic devices, and the hour is spent in reading their own selection of books, quietly.

Slow readers list numerous benefits to a regular reading habit.  It improves their ability to concentrate, reduces stress levels, and deepens their ability to think, listen, and empathize.

Reading fiction helps people understand others' actions and beliefs, this is crucial in building relationships.

Yet reading habits have declined in recent years.  A Pew research study showed last year about 76% of Americans 18 years and older said they read at least one book, down from 79% in 2011.

In my profession I did much reading; various reports, letters, study books, especially the Bible, but I always found time for just reading a book.  Often took notes, copied a striking phrase, noted an excellent point, but I read.

So if you go ahead and join a slow reading group, or start one, I pat you on the back and say “Good wishes to that”.

“Reading makes a full man,
Writing makes an exact man.”
The line is still true from Ben Franklin.

GPD 9/17/14

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/16/14

“Write these commandments that I’ve given you
Today in your hearts.
Get them inside of you, and then get them inside your children;
Talk about them wherever you are,
Sitting at home, or walking in the street;
Talk about them from the time you get up in the morning,
To when you fall into bed at night.”
Deuteronomy ¸6-8.MSG

          The Bible is filled with such words to remind us that history is important, because so often it teaches us something about life; maybe just to remind us of a problem that lies when we do a certain thing, or plan some sort of action for our life.

          It’s interesting that the Smithsonian, the nation’s storehouse and record keeper, is trying to put its vast array of material into digital researchable files.  So they are calling on the public for help.

          They have set up a Transcription Center that allows any interested person to sift through scanned, hand written documents, and send in their own transcription online. The Center checks the work and it is digitalized for use. So far 3,400 have signed up as volunteers.

          I have read letters written by pioneers, or civil war soldiers, to home and family.  They often describe conditions and circumstances that shed light on their lives.  I find such reading not only interesting, but often also enlightening.  It often sheds light on something that happened.  Maybe an action that puzzles us to ask, “Now just why did uncle Oscar sell that section?”  Answers to such questions may bring us satisfaction, and understanding, and peace.

          History has its uses.  Not the least of them simply to do what Moses had said so long ago, Memorize what is vital for your life.

          Become a historian.

GPD 9/16/14

Friday, September 5, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/5/14

“This is the day
That the Lord hath made,
We will rejoice,
And be glad in it”

          Today the house Ruth and I lived in longer than any other went on the market, so please do remember me in the prayers you send to the Lord God that there will be a quick and satisfying sale in the offing.

          I think of the rich and varied blessings that came to us as we lived there, the friends we made, the neighbors who lived, and moved on, the changing scenery, and all the things that go on.  And by selling, I end them, and leave them in memory.

          So remember the sale, please.

GPD 9/5/14

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/3/14

          We sing "And the days grow short, When we reach September. . .” 

          So it might be well to pray this evening prayer: 
               O Lord, support us the day long of this troublous life, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening come, and the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work is done. 

               Then, Lord, in Thy mercy, grant us safe lodging, and holy rest, and peace at the last.

               This we pray in the name of Jesus Christ, our Blessed Savior and Lord. 


GPD 9/3/14

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Shade Tree Wisdom 9/2/14

Oh, it's a long, long while 
From May to December 
But the days grow short, 
When you reach September. 
When the autumn weather 
Turn leaves to flame 
One hasn't got time 
For the waiting game. 
Oh the days dwindle down 
To a precious few . . . 
September, November . . . 
And these few precious days 
I'll spend with you. 
These precious days 
I'll spend with you. 
Oh the days dwindle down 
To a precious few . . . 
September, November . . . 
And these few precious days 
I'll spend with you. 
These precious days 
I'll spend with you. 
These precious days 
I'll spend with you. 

Join in to sing. 

GPD 9/2/14