Cauliflower

Cauliflower – a variety of cabbage (Brassica oleraceavar. botrytis) having a dense white mass of fleshy flower stalks that form the head. 

I mentioned in my last post … my decision making process during our evacuation was quite “surreal”.  While videoing those things that meant a lot to me, I went to this place … that was the most unemotional, rational place I had ever worked from.  That place where speed was an option.  

For some reason … that place left me when we got to the refrigerator.  It makes no sense.  We had just purchased a Costco membership with Brad & Elise and had our fridge crispers full of large bags holding vegetables of different types.  

I was able to decide not to evacuate my sewing machines that are worth thousands of dollars … but, could not decide which veggies to cram into our much smaller RV fridge.  I started loosing it when I saw Barry had decided to throw away the cauliflower ….. it’s funny now …. I think ….

In retrospect, The cauliflower decision wasn’t really about keeping vs. wasting cauliflower,  but was really about coming to a somewhat subconscious resolve that the cauliflower presented an opportunity to release some of my pent up anxiety through unloving and unnecessary words spewed at my husband.    

Decisions can be both easy & difficult … simple& complex … necessary & unnecessary.  Deciding the fate of the cauliflower was clearly easy & difficult.  Deciding where we were going to evacuate to … was both simple & complex with COVID, fires and heat all around us.   Deciding to release pent up anxiety was necessary … deciding to release it on my husband was not.

The thing is … as a Christ follower … if I ask God to guide me … He will.  His 1st step of guidance is through scripture. If I get “off track” He will correct and guide me back onto His path … it is called repentance and forgiveness.   

After a good ponder … the “Theology of Sandi” has concluded that the Lord is not as concerned with my right or wrong decisions as he is if I am making them lovingly or not.  

I shall ponder … … …

EVACUATION

Evacuation – the clearance of personnel, animals, or materiel from a given locality.

It was a telephone call that pulled me out of a peaceful prayer time.  My daughter was calling to warn us that the evacuation line for the Napa/Sonoma fire (also called LNU fire) was literally a mile from our home.  I peered out the sliding glass door and saw a thick blanket of smoke overhead.  I opened the door to take a photo of the bright red sun outside and the reality of heat vs smoke was startling.  

We knew the right thing to do … but, we prayed anyway.  A peace, a calmness enveloped me that reminded me why I should pray even when I “do” know the right thing to do.

We were scheduled to leave in a week for a road trip to attend one of my “inner circle” friend’s wedding in Iowa … so we packed the RV as if we weren’t coming home until after the road trip.  I’m not gonna lie … there were definite moments when the calmness left me …. I’m sure we’ll laugh about them later.  

I always wondered about the decision making process of what to take along in such a situation.  My process was to step back, pray and ponder …. Could I live without this stuff?  I desperately wanted to throw my sewing machines and some of the art on our walls in the RV but knew it wasn’t realistic.  So I grabbed my phone and began taking a video of our possessions room by room … a surreal moment.

Once exhausted and packed up in the RV, we headed out.  We had not discussed with each other where “out” was going to be.  Our daughter called to let us know they were evacuating also and heading south for cleaner air.  She asked us where we were heading … “McDonald’s” we said.  

After loading up on burgers, fries & drinks we headed toward highway 5.  I can’t explain the oddity of driving “somewhere” without having a destination plan.  The fire was coming from the northwest and heading east … so we eventually decided south seemed like a good plan.  

While on southbound Highway 5, we received the “official orders” to evacuate.  The fire had jumped the highway and was headed for the hills directly behind our house.  Reality set in.  We may not have a home to go back to.  It’s that moment when I remember how many times I have claimed God as Sovereign.  I take a pause … a ponder … and claim God, still, sovereign … but, it means more to me now.

We settled in Coalinga for our first night’s stop.  We have not seen blue sky since we left and we all have non Covid headaches and sore throats.  Life gets better when we eat the salad and fruit that had been smashed tightly into the fridge for dinner.  

Quickly, our hearts take a downturn when we plug into our hotspot and view some of the news broadcasts.  Soon, the Holy Spirit peace begins to leave … pressure, tension, tightness … and acid reflux takes its place.  We determine “news” can not change anything in our plight and shut down the hot spot.  Barry plays computer games and I read.  We soon fall into a peaceful sleep … Nighty night.

FRIED GREEN TOMATOES

The lightening and thunder pulled me out of a peaceful prayer time this morning.  The lightening was bright and the thunder came immediately.  I was NOT all about it …. ….

I hesitantly peeked out our bedroom sliding glass door and saw that my potted tomato plant had fallen over.  Fried Green Tomatoes??? 

According to the Urban Dictionary … the definition for Fried Green Tomatoes is:  to take someone’s parking spot in a rude fashion.  Who knew? 

The “non” Urban Dictionary simply defines it as a side dish usually found in the Southern United States, made from unripe (green) tomatoes coated with cornmeal and fried.

A few moments later … a huge wind storm with rain turned the sky grey … blowing dust, branches and almost all the planks from our older side fence.  Auntie Em, Uncle Henry … !!!!

I am brought to scripture …

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“As the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day” (Luke 17:24 & Matthew 24:7)

“So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:28)

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.”  (1Thessalonians 4:17)

There is, however, another part to this scriptural truth

For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be.” (Matthew 24:21)

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken; then will appear the sign of the Son of Man . . . “ (Matthew 24:29)

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I believe Jesus is coming back again one day … at a time no one knows … on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.  

I believe the Lord will snatch me and all my fellow Believers up to live with Him in holy eternity.  

I believe their will be a time of tribulation & affliction and also a time for the accomplishment of God’s redemption.  

I believe that all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.

I believe …

What do you believe?

Time to ponder … … …

FRUSTRATION

I let frustration overtake me the other day.  No big happenings … just a consistent bunching of little things that kept adding up … 

I dropped my “Grandma Sandi” Yeti, filled with diet coke, twice (NOT the Grandma Sandi cup!).  I mis-communicated with others more than twice.  While watering the plants in the front yard, my legs became instantly covered with ants (I feel ants on my legs even now as I am typing).   Dog sees cat on the other side of the screen … dog runs through screen to catch said cat … it is the dog that is hard to catch.  The pieced square I was working on for a “cousin quilt” came out hideously “wavy” … a good pressing did not cure the problem … … … that was just the beginning of my morning …

Frustration or Self-Pity?  Let me ponder …

Frustration comes when I stumble into the proverbial mud pit.  Self-Pity is when I decide to swim around in the mud pit for more drama and sympathy instead of working my way out. 

I am happy to report, in this instance, I did not wallow around in the mud pit of self-pity.  But, it did take some real “work” to get myself out.  I prayed … asked God to guide me out … assumed (I called it “had faith”) he would snatch me right out of that pit.  However, comma, God rarely takes me directly from A to B.  It is usually more like A to Z.  

It seems … God’s purpose for me is not speed … but, sanctification.  Hmmmm.

Paul speaks of plans he had in his letters to various churches.  He told the Philippian Church that he was going to travel from Jerusalem to Spain.  However, while passing through Rome he found himself prison.  Now THAT is a mud pit.  Paul never lost faith … never lost his focus on the Lord.

The thing is … am I focusing on God … or the mud?

Sometimes God’s purpose for us is to do work in that mud pit.  Sometimes it changes us.  Sometimes it changes the world.  

I shall ponder … … …

SUGGESTIONS & COMPROMISE

Suggestion – an idea, plan, or action that is offered for acceptance or rejection

We’ve had a lot of “projects” making this house our home.  When I am project manager … Barry has this recurrent phrase he uses; “Can I make a suggestion?”  

When I am in my “I am determined to make this work the way I first envisioned” mode … the answer is likely “no”.  The suggestion comes anyway.   The suggestion is “rejected” … the suggestion is repeated because it wasn’t really offered with the option of rejection …….  A stall happens …  

When I am taking a more open-minded approach to my role as project manager … things go quite differently … more smoothly.  The suggestions still come… still may or may not be accepted … but, I have learned that compromise is a great tool for moving forward.

Compromise – the settlement of a dispute by concessions on both or all sides.

The Bible councils that compromise is needed when dealing with the complexities and ambiguities of [sinful] man … but not acceptable when dealing with a holy and omnipotent God.  

Oddly, it took me a while to figure this out.  I mean … if I can compromise on a suggestion of how art is displayed in our home … shouldn’t I be allowed to expect God to compromise with me about how my “attitude” is displayed to said “Suggestor”?  Yeah ….. no ….

The Theology of Sandi believes that compromise with man is a medication to help heal … however, compromise with God is a drug used dangerously and without prescription.

My attitude is the area I am most likely to try a justification or compromise process with God.  It usually starts with the words “I deserve”.  

Then I remember Christ … who came to stand in my place mercifully for what I truly deserve.  If I allow myself to stall for a ponder … I am able to let go of my self-justification.  

The question is … “Will I?” …. I shall ponder …

LIZARD

LIZARD  – a reptile with movable eyelids, ears that are outside the body, and has two to four legs.

Shivers are running down my spine just writing the definition.  I am not a reptile person.

My daughter and son in law had a 2-legged slithering lizard in their apartment.  I wasn’t there … but, caught the excitement in real-time postings (and gladly from afar) on the Marco Polo app.  

I “Binged” how to both find and catch a lizard … … … I helped (gladly from afar).

I used to watch our dog Franklyn unsuccessfully try to catch the lizards in our Rio Vista house.  It was entertaining … (gladly from afar).

Reptiles have always creeped me out … but, I justified my disgust after reading a book by C.S. Lewis titled The Great Divorce.  In the book, a Ghost who has been kept out of heaven tries to keep his pet sin, a red lizard.  The Ghost is constantly found rebuking the lizard that lives on his shoulder.  An angel arrives and asks him if he would like for the lizard silenced.  The Ghost is anxious for the lizard to be silenced until he realizes the means of silencing is death, then he begins to negotiate a better way to silence the lizard … in a more gradual way.  The lizard whispers his own negotiations into the Ghost’s ear … promises the Ghost knows can’t be kept … but, are far more comforting …

The thing is … sin is best slayed … not trained.  I’ve tried it …. Am still trying it …

My “Binged” research told me that lizards like to hide in the dark … a flash of light most often will cause them to move … creating opportunity to remove its presence.

I like my sin to be hidden in the dark.  Not just so others can’t see it … but, so I can deny it’s there.  When that flash of “light” comes … it is my opportunity to remove its presence … 

I shall ponder … … …

APPLIANCES

“APPLIANCES” – devices or pieces of equipment designed to perform a specific task, typically a domestic one.

When we moved into our home … we determined an electric stove just wouldn’t do.  So we had a guy come out and run a gas line to the kitchen so we could replace the electric stove with a gas one.  I have to say … I do love me a good gas stove.  

The house also didn’t have a microwave.  How could this be????  Apparently the space used by the hood is to close to the stove.  We had NO IDEA how tied to a microwave we were!  After much research I found a “low profile” model that is much shorter and meets the required 18” distance.  

Just as we were getting back into the swing of cooking/baking … we noticed ourselves rewashing all the dishes because the dishwasher wasn’t getting them all clean.  Turns out the dishwasher only has one wand under the bottom rack … requiring we only use the bottom rack for dishes/pans that need to be “clean”.  

As my prayer partner says … “First world problems”.  

The word “hedonism” comes to mind – “the pursuit of pleasure and/or self-indulgence”.

Quite the ponder for a Christian heart…

After pondering … The Theology of Sandi believes that God created me with the desire to purse pleasure … without that desire … I wouldn’t have the longing/desire needed to pursue Himself.  The problem comes when I … as a Christian … pursue self-indulgence.  

“Biblical self-indulgence is feeding “the passions of the flesh” (1 Peter 2:11). It’s indulging ourselves in any pleasure that is harmful to our souls, that does not spring from faith (Romans 14:23).”  – Jon Bloom

Faith is not required to know that I could live in this “1st world” God has placed me in … with an electric stove, a bottom of the line dishwasher and without a microwave.  The question is … is seeking better … pleasure or self-indulgence?  Definitely a case by case situation.  

Sometimes I forget that God wants me to be happy … instead of cautiously resisting it.  But what God wants most … is for me to know that the most enduring happiness is found only in Him. 

I shall ponder …

FENCE

“FENCE”: a barrier or other upright structure enclosing an area of ground to mark a boundary, control access, or prevent escape.

We live on a corner lot and are extending our back side yard by moving our fence out towards the sidewalk.  Our motorhome is set to rest there.

Having lived under the protection of gated communities the last 15 years … I am thankful for the tight “hedge of protection” our fence & cement guy is providing for our new home.

This took me to a ponder … the “hedge of protection” …  I am pretty sure it comes from the book of Job … it makes sense … the poor guy certainly needed a hedge of protection!  But, what I was unsure of was the situation surrounding the hedge.  Did God build the hedge or did he call Job to build the hedge?  Does scripture specifically call out the hedge for protection against the evil one?  Why does Job’s hedge seem rather faulty?  It wasn’t long before I realized I used this term frequently, prayerfully, and it seems … rather (scripturally) loosely.  Hmmmm….

It turns out “hedge of protection” does not appear in scripture in those exact words … or even in the context with which I was using it. In Job 1:10 & 11, Satan claims that if God removes the “hedge”, the blessings of prosperity He has provided, Job will curse Him.  

God does remove the hedge.  Job does loose almost everything that prospered him.   Job does NOT curse God.  In fact, Scripture tells us that he fell to the ground … worshipped and said:  “The Lord has given and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:21).

The thing is … this context is not about the “hedge” … but, the response to the hedge.  It is about worshipping the Lord wether He gives or takes away.  

There are many scriptures that speak of God’s protection over His people.  I picture spiritual airbags for when I crash and spiritual motion detectors, alarms & pepper spray that defuses danger when it is near.  

The truth is … I need protection because I am vulnerable … because I live in a “fallen” world.  In some instances, the spiritual air bags may not deploy … the pepper spray may not diffuse danger. My only absolute, ultimate protection & security … is faith in Christ.  

In Psalm 91, God does not promise that the worst this world has to offer won’t come upon us, but when it does, we are not alone, abandoned, or destroyed.

The Theology of Sandi now believes my protection is not in a “hedge” … but is my faith in the sovereignty of our Father.

I shall ponder … #SunriseSandi  #SandiPonders #Fence

Yellow Rose

“YELLOW ROSE” – 8-1-20 – Soooo … I have been “silent” for a while.  No big explanation other than I am “move-in” tired.  After I make the 3 mile roundtrip trek out to get my morning coffee … I lay my head back on my ohhh so comfy “prayer chair” recliner to “hear” from God …. And all that can be heard are my snores of restfulness.  

I worked hard at finding our possessions their new “place” and have been joyously working hard to begin the first strokes of my art yard.  MUCH work has been needed to prepare my canvas.  

There are 8 huge, old, overgrown rose bushes along the back fence.  I try to prune one down every day or so.  When I do … it is like a meet & greet of sorts.  

The red rose had potential, fragrance and was kind to me as I cut her hair.  

The pink rose was beautiful, without fragrance and absolutely unruly in character.  She left many painful teeth marks as I tried to cut her hair and remove her sucker branches.  She will not be living with us much longer.

The yellow rose …   At first glance she looked like another wild one.  Very old, very overgrown and only a showing of a few small, feeble, yellow roses.  As soon as I began to work with her … the fragrance of those few yellow roses were overwhelming and beautiful.  I knew immediately we were going to be friends.  I introduced myself … also old, overgrown and needing a lot of work.  I assured her she not only had a place in my art yard … but, would be one of my focal points.  

The truth is … we will help each other realize our beauty, as a focal point in God’s yard art.

“I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”  Psalm 139:14

I shall ponder … #SunriseSandi  #SandiPonders  #YellowRose

Perception/Perspective

Yesterday I began a ponder on perception … or was it perspective … I can’t remember … and I’m not sure what the difference is.  

It seems …

Perception refers to an “interpretation” that an individual comes up with through their awareness and can be influenced by past experiences, feelings and thoughts … 

while … 

Perspective refers to a point of view, a framework we use to look at something and is more likely to be influenced by attitude ….

Therefore, comma, …

 It is my interpretations (perceptions) that lead me to a point of view (perspective). 

Does this matter?  

I suppose so … or all the “psycho-social” peeps out there wouldn’t have written such extensive information about it.  But, I must ponder how this information relates to me. …

Pride comes to mind.

While pride causes me to filter out any perception of nastiness I see in myself … it also causes me to filter out God’s goodness in others.  My pride allows their faults to create a perception about them … and eventually a perspective of who they are … viewing them through developed attitudes … possibly words of nastiness … written around the framework I view them through.

Grace on the other hand … is undeserved favor.  

Grace causes me to see God in myself and others.  It causes me to filter out nastiness, faults, developed attitudes, and undeserved perceptions and perspectives.  

My ponder leads me to this personal statement; “Perception vs. perspective doesn’t matter when looking through the framework of grace”.

There is more to this … so I shall ponder … #SunriseSandi  #SandiPonders  #PerceptionPerspective