Tuesday, January 27, 2009

My girls

Well, we have been here for a day and a half now. How great this is! Avery Rose is SUCH a good baby. She sleeps for hours at a time, including at night. This is very different from her big sister, Abby, who is 19 months now. This picture is of Sarah, Abby, and you can just barely see Avery's head poking out of her blanket.

This picture is of Avery last night. She was so alert for quite some time, after sleeping fo
r almost 5 hours and then being fed. Not much crying either......

And this is Grandpa giving Avery a kiss. It was just so precious I had to share it.

I hope this finds you all well and enjoying YOUR families!


A short 3 chapters. How bad can it be, right?

Oh ug!!!! The whole first chapter is the word of the Lord to the people. And it is not a good word. The harvest has failed. Nothing is good. The priest mourn. The trees are all dried up. "
Come, pass the night in sackcloth, you ministers of my God! Grain offering and drink offering are withheld from the house of your God."

Then Joel goes on to say that the people should sanctify a feast and call a solemn assembly. Everyone should come, for the day of the Lord draws near.

Chapter 2 is even worse than chapter 1, at least in the beginning. A great and powerful army comes, laying waste to all it travels over. Imagine this sight: "
Before them the land is like the garden of Eden, but after them a desolate wilderness, and nothing escapes them." How frightening is that picture. And still, God says that if the people would turn from their wicked ways, with all their hearts, and with fasting, weeping, and mourning, God would show mercy. God says: "...rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing." They should gather all the people - young, old, newly married, just born - that they might pray that God would spare them.

And then the good news does come! God has pity on them: chases all the foreign armies away, brings back the grain, the water, the wealth of the people. And promises that never again shall his people be put to shame: "And my people shall never again be put to shame. You shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I, the Lord, am your God and there is no other. And my people shall never again be put to shame." Then come the wonderful words we read every year at Pentecost: "Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, and the old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions." I LOVE this text! It continues on and is GREAT reading for us, because "everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved."

In chapter 3, it seems that God is now calling down desolation for those who have scattered Israel. Remember back in Genesis, when God gave Jacob a new name, Israel? In that moment, God also made a promise that this would be a great people. God keeps coming back to that promise, that these are God's people whom God will love without fail. So in these short chapters, the Word is that God is loving, steadfast, and merciful, and remembers the promises God has given in times past.

You go, God!

A final word on Genesis...

Did you finish reading Genesis? If you did, you will know that Bible reading is not for the faint of heart! Such things we find there. The overwhelming concept for me, though, is that these people are completely human, yet God uses them. They are not perfect or somehow more able than other people. They would likely be our friends.

The other thing is that it is God who judges, not the people. That was a good reminder to me. God IS merciful. God IS steadfast (can you believe that, after all the things those people did???). God LOVES them without question, without strings attached -- we call that unconditional. So, I think God is AMAZING for being willing to love them and, by extension, us.

Look at chapter 50, when Jacob is blessing his sons. Jacob knew each of them in his heart and was willing to bless them according to their talents. I am sure that God gave Jacob the words to know how to bless them. Made me think a bit: how is it that we do not give blessings to our children today? Do we listen for the words of blessing God gives us? Maybe we need to open our ears, as well as our eyes and our hearts. I am sure God has a word for us today....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Avery Rose

Avery Rose Dimeo arrived on Tuesday, Jan 20th, at 12:17 pm Pacific time. She was 7 lbs 5 oz and 19 and a quarter inches long. She is beautiful and doing well (note the piano fingers....). Mama Sarah is tired but happy. Big sister Abby (19 mos) came in, saw Avery in the bassinette, said, "Oh! Baby!" and walked away to do some other stuff. We will leave to see them after the annual meeting on Sunday. We are very much looking forward to that!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Genesis VII

Did it surprise you to find that Abraham remarried -- and had SIX more sons? First he didn't have any children until he was about 100... Well, one just never knows how all this works. It sure is a good thing that God is in control of it all because it sure seems unfathomable to me...

Chapter 25 has the story of Jacob and Esau, when Esau sold his birthright. I am stunned! In my memory banks, this is a BIG story. But it only takes up a few sentences. I know it is not finished until the blessing, when Jacob deceives his father, but it just surprises me. Hmmm. Makes me wonder -- after all, as I said before, I just read Genesis last summer!

The deceiving of Isaac happens in chapter 27. I cannot believe that Rebekah was so unwilling for Esau to get Isaac's blessing! And then when Esau comes, right after Jacob has received the blessing, he is such a pitiful specimen, at least in some ways. He begs his father for a blessing -- any blessing! When at first he doesn't get one, he weeps. Finally, Isaac gives him a blessing, but it is a blessing that has spikes.

But you know, we are only human. How many of us would have cherished the blessing of Isaac? What would we have done to get it? That's the thing -- we don't really know. What we do know is that God uses us, with all our follies and foibles. Pretty cool!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

news flash!!!

did you know Abraham had 2 nephews named Uz and Buz? It's true! Genesis 22 has it.....

Friday, January 16, 2009

Genesis VI

Oh ick! There are such goings on! I tell you what, God is extremely patient, as we can see reading about Abraham. I mean, I can't believe it! After he had tried to tell Pharaoh that Sarah was his sister and how that all turned out, now he gives her to another King. Fortunately, God warns the king so that he doesn't call on her. And then, the king gives Abraham some slaves, some flocks and herds, AND 1,000 pieces of silver (as an exoneration of Sarah) AND tells Abraham to settle where he pleases! Unbelievable! I can't believe Abraham would do that. Didn't he learn from his previous mistake? Hmmm.... he must have been like we are....

And then that whole thing with Sodom and Gomorrah in the previous chapters. God loved Abraham because he made sure that Lot and his family made it out of Sodom to safety. Of course, that story doesn't end that well.... I guess the Bible really does just tell it like it is. It doesn't gloss over the icky parts of life. Is there something in that for us to learn? Maybe that we need to face all the "junk" of life too? Another thing to think about....

Thursday, January 15, 2009

real ramblings...

well, I really was going to let the day go by and not add anything. But I just couldn't. I haven't read any more of Genesis. But I did enjoy reminding myself of the fun time we had making ice cream pie. I hope you had a fun day too....

I don't know -- there are 50 chapters in Genesis and I've only finished chapter 17. I suppose there is a chance I might finish it... How about you? Will you finish it?

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ice Cream Pie

So, we made ice cream pie at youth group tonight. Well, at least some of us did. As you can see, it was mostly the guys who were making the pies -- except for Sarah, of course.

Others were reading or in the computer room or whatever.....

It seems that when they were telling me what they needed for ingredients, they left out a few things.... One of those things was brownies. By happy coincidence, I had made some lovely chocolate chip bars for Golden Voices today and had some leftovers. And I also tend to keep Oreos in my office, so I had those to help them. Apparently, you have either a graham cracker or an Oreo crust (we had one of each). Then you put a layer of whipped ice cream with some cinnamon in it, a layer of brownie/cookie stuff, some fudge topping, some mini M&Ms and/or mini chocolate chips, another layer of ice cream, a layer of whipped topping, then decorate it with the fudge topping, mini M&Ms, and mini chocolate chips. Freeze until it is not easy to cut. Cut. Eat. We, of course had limited time, so it wasn't that frozen. But oh, so good! Naturally, I was eating mine, so didn't have time to take pictures..... We ate the Oreo crust one, so only the graham crust one is left. Will have to see if it will keep until next week!

Looks good enough to eat, doesn't it???

Genesis V

Whew!!! Reading the Bible is TOUGH! So, when God told Abram to count the stars and so should his descendants be, it was when Abram was very weary. He had just had to go win back Lot (his nephew) and all his goods after he was taken captive in a war. Abram and 318 of his own men - they were born his slaves - went to fight for Lot. So Abram was tired and probably cranky. The next thing you know, Sarai figures she is too old to bear a child so she gives her slave, Hagar, to Abram. Low and behold, she gets pregnant -- and what does Sarai do? Throws her out!!! I guess maybe sometimes we women can be a bit irrational... So anyway, God comes to Hagar and tells her she will have many descendants. But then, I really have to hand it to Hagar. She doesn't get mad at God. I tell you I would. God told her that her son, whom she would name Ishmael, would be at odds with the whole rest of the world -- "He will be a wild ass of a man, with his hand against everyone, and everyone's hand against him; and he shall live at odds with all his kin." Well, there now. Doesn't that just warm the cockles of your heart? Not really. God just lays it all out there. Hagar must have been quite the woman, since she doesn't really scream out at God. She must have gone back to Sarai because Ishmael and all the other slaves were circumcised along with Isaac, after he was born.

I don't know -- gives me a different sense of who God is. I think maybe we can't just put God in a box and say that God will always act in a certain way. I mean, the Bible shows that God is multi-faceted! Hmmm, now I have another thing to think about!

Genesis IV

Well, well, well. As I am reading now the story of Abram (he isn't yet Abraham), I am seeing that God simply uses people as they are - we don't have to be perfect. I mean, really, going into Egypt because there is a famine, but telling Sarai, his wife, to say she was his sister. Then Pharaoh took a liking to her and all of a sudden plagues come upon his household! So God up and tells Pharaoh that Abram didn't tell him the truth so he kicks Abram and Sarai (and all their stuff) right out of Egypt! But God continues to use Abram anyway..... So maybe we are "good enough" to be used by God too.

But I also got to thinking. Wherever Abram settled, he built "an altar to the Lord." What does that mean for me - for us? I don't think I have an altar to the Lord in my house. Is this really just more a place to go to remember all that God has done? Hmmm.... I wonder if there is something to this creating a space for God.... I am just thinking here, you realize. Would it have to be a formal place? Could it just be that I keep my Bible with my recliner? Is it enough to just pray before I go to bed? I don't know. Seems like maybe I could think about this some more, for myself....

Have a GREAT day!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Genesis III

So I finished the story of Noah and the ark. Imagine being cooped up with all those animals for a little more than a year....

Anyway, in chapter 11, the descendants of Noah start to build this tower to "make a name for [them]selves, otherwise we shall be scattered..." Okay, I guess. But the Lord sees it and decides to go down to earth to shake things up. I have read the book of Genesis several times in my life, but I don't recall reading this portion in quite this way: "Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there...." And then the Lord scattered them abroad in the earth anyway! So why did the people think if they built a tower they would not be scattered? Who warned them that such a thing might happen? And did you notice the plural way that God spoke of God: let us go down. Kind of interesting, I must admit....

And now you know that I have a fascination with words, which I am sure you did not know before...

Genesis II

Good morning!

Here I am in chapter 7, with Noah and the ark. Did you notice that Noah was 500 before his sons were born? And they were married adults before Noah built the ark. Whew! Not something I would enjoy....

Happy reading to you!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Genesis I

Here it is, a little after 4, and I have finally started reading Genesis. So did you guys know there were 2 creation stories? We go through all the first day, second day, etc, stuff in chapter one. Then the beginning of chapter two is the resting on the 7th day. All of a sudden we read "These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created. In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being."

Here we have human beings created first. Can't you just see that steam rising? I envision it like a great fog and suddenly out of this thick veil comes a living, breathing human being! Pretty awesome....

So I am now in chapter three -- when Adam and Eve sinned. We are not so different - we want to blame stuff on the 'other' person. Must be human nature....

If you are wondering, you certainly can find online resources for reading the Bible. My favorite is http://bible.oremus.org You can choose your version of the Bible and everything! So the Bible is available to you wherever you are. I also use the NRSV that I have on my Palm. But, when I really want to cross-reference and really study the Bible, I hold it in my hand. I use the Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha.

Happy reading to you!

Reading Genesis....

So yesterday, as Publicist, I challenged the congregation to read the book of Genesis this week. Now, I know it is really a pretty easy read -- cuz I just read it last summer! However, I will attempt to read it in this one week. It is now 11:24 am on Monday and I have not read any of it. Hmmm.... might be harder to get it done than I think. But, I guess I'll try a little later today. So what about you? Are you making any progress?