Virtual Reality

Yesterday our streets were repaved.  A nice “welcome to the neighborhood” gift from the city of Vacaville.  I spent the day listening for the beeping of equipment so I could dash out of the house to video the layers of repaving excitement to my great nephew who loves himself some large moving equipment.  

My brother-in-law in Jersey is a large equipment operator.  I soooo wished I could arrange for John T & Charlie to meet for a ride on one of his pieces of road equipment … way better than a video!  

Virtual never replaces reality … but, it does help create a form of connection. 

FaceTime has helped me create and sustain a relationship with my niecelette in Indiana.  I can watch her grow.  I am beginning to recognize some of the expressions on her face … that speak volumes.  That girl is a character.  She’s learning I am one too!

The Marco Polo app has kept the Cali family up to date on day to day news … what’s cooking in the kitchen … and extended session on trivialities such as “fly away hairs” the Hall women seem to be dealing with.  The greatest moments have been when no words were spoken … but when a “look”, nod, or shaking of the head said it all.  

The thing is … while a helpful tool, FaceTime did not teach my niece-lette she could trust her whacky great aunt … it was “time” given when we visited their home in Indiana last spring.  She “experienced” my directness … my consistency.  She felt my unrelenting love in a cuddle.  She learned she could trust me … not just by how I interacted with her … but also how I interacted with others.

I wonder if God sees me in a virtual sense … when I am “doing church”, instead of  “being the church” … when I tell him what is going on in my life and how I want it fixed, instead of a wordless nod of faith.  

I am certain God sees me in reality … when trust is developed between us through experience & consistency.  When consistency is displayed not only by how I interact with Him … but, how I interact with others.  When I allow myself to be vulnerable enough to receive His unrelenting love in a cuddle … even when I don’t like the choice he has just made for me … … I shall ponder … #SunriseSandi  #SandiPonders  #Virtual/Reality

WaterPick

Last year, after the long & expensive process of a dental implant … I finally invested in a Water Pick. At the time, Barry never quite got on board … but, found it humorous when I inadvertently sprayed either myself, the mirror or random surrounding objects with the shooting water.⠀

Yesterday, I finally unpacked the box with my Pik and set it up for immediate use. Our new, adventurous environment enticed Barry to get on board the Water Pick train. After I gave him a quick overview of how the thing worked … there was immediate inadvertent spraying of himself, the mirror and surrounding objects … all in one blast. Yes, I found it rather humorous!⠀⠀

The thing about a water pick is … that it is not meant to replace brushing your teeth … but to remove “leftovers” in-between the teeth … that can turn into bacteria … that can harden into plaque … that can turn into cavities … that can turn into gum disease … that can turn into expensive dentist bills.⠀⠀

Just wondering what lingering, “leftover” emotions I am holding on to that can turn into spiritual bacteria, that can harden, create cavities and disease in my heart. ⠀⠀Resentment comes to mind.⠀⠀Being the verbally forthright person that I am … resentment doesn’t seem to build up when my tongue is free and totally unleashed. ⠀⠀The tricky thing is: when I walk holding the Spirit’s fruit close to my heart … some “leashing” is required to maintain my words in love. The problem is: sometimes it is just easier to “not say anything at all”… than to figure out how to speak truth “nicely” … (Thank you Thumper!).

In steps resentment.⠀⠀The solution is … I suppose: to take a mere “2 minutes” to Waterpik with prayer … to ask for the right words to speak truth in love. Simple yes … but like flossing, it often is just “easier” not to do it … especially daily.⠀⠀Glad to have “unleashed” my Water Pick from its storage box … challenging myself to take those ever so precious 2 minutes to pray over speaking my truth nicely …⠀⠀Pondering … #SunriseSandi#SandiPonders#Waterpik

Family

We have excitedly & exhaustingly … moved into our new home. “Moved In” being defined as: packed boxes that are intermingled with possessions that have already found their new place within our home … and a 2 car garage that can “almost” behold 1 car. ⠀

This move was quite different than others … we moved in the sweltering summer instead of the usual Christmas season … the necessity for COVID masks and gloves … we are old … but, the most significant difference was having a son-in-law (and his dad) who worked tirelessly for 2 days moving boxes, plants and “stuff” from a storage unit to our new home. I really like having a son-in-law.⠀⠀What I appreciate most is not that he worked hard in the heat … but, the commitment, affection, and honor he shows his pregnant wife … and her family.⠀⠀

Family: a primary social group consisting of parents and their offspring, the principal function of which is provision for its members.⠀⠀We desire for our new home to be filled with family.

The thing is … while we are moving closer to one family group … which brings joy … we are also moving farther away from another … which brings sadness. Our, statistically horrifying, 7 moves have taught me that … familiarity … comfort … longevity … space … does not create a home … but family does … weather near or far.⠀⠀Barry and I want our home to be purposeful. We want those who enter to feel like family. We want the “aroma” of respect, laughter, love and the Spirit’s fruit. We want the aroma of Christ. ⠀⠀

While the pandemic will keep our east coast, mid west and Cali “families” from entering our new home … we will be intentional with the time we have to focus on the 4 generations of Liberty’s family that can be present and we will be intentional to create virtual time with those who can’t … and the sweet aroma of “all family” will be present when Liberty enters this home.⠀⠀I shall ponder … #SunriseSandi#SandiPonders#Family

Growth

We move into our new home this weekend …. I have once again secured the living room as my “art studio” and laid claim to the backyard as my garden. ⠀⠀

The backyard is a mess … which excites me … offering a blank slate to let my gardening skills work freely. My first plans are for raised beds offering us vegetables of plenty … which is hysterical … because I currently have tomato, cucumber and zucchini plants in pots outside the RV which are wilting with disattention.⠀⠀I am not sure why this happened. I suppose a good portion has to do with habit, location and a secured watering system. Whatever the case, I am reminded that what a gardener does or doesn’t do matters.⠀⠀

The thing is … as a gardener I can plant seeds in a conducive plot of land with the the best sunlight & soil … I can tend, water, and weed the garden … but, I have no control over which seeds will grow into a plant. God must cause that growth. ⠀⠀God’s sovereignty knows how things will turn out long before they ever happen. His sovereignty also calls me to work … such as to tend my garden … my spiritual garden.⠀⠀

I suppose tending the garden of the soul begins with providing a conducive environment for growth … prayer, confession, spiritual food, hope … but, in the end … I have no idea what growth will actually happen.⠀⠀

Case in point … We have been living in our RV for the past 7 weeks. It seemed obvious the Lord was going to grow me some “patience”. Admittedly, patience did not grow … but, what did grow was my ability “offer grace” to others who were just as impatient and tired of living in a space smaller than our new master bathroom … as me. ⠀⠀I did not have control over what was going to “grow” in me … but, was able to offer enough of a “conducive environment” for “something” to grow in me … even if it wasn’t what I expected.⠀⠀

I am excited to tend to both of my gardens … I shall toil, pray, hope … and ponder … #SunriseSandi#SandiPonders#Growth

Aroma

“AROMA” – – a distinctive, typically pleasant smell.

As I type this … there is a strong, wonderful aroma of peaches. Barry picked up a lug from our favorite peach farmer in Brentwood on the 4th. We buy several lugs of peaches each year (my favorite fruit!) and normally I clean out the deli section of our fridge to hold the peaches … but, in the ole’ RV … there is no such section … or room. So they sit on top of the stove … wiffering their fragrance to me.

The thing about peaches is …… if not used … the sweet aroma is turned to a rather putrid one … that attracts nasty knats. These are the best peaches in the world (Suncrest peaches from Matteri’s Farms) … so I shall make sure they are used before such a thing happens.

And the ponder begins … I wonder what my aroma to Christ is? Is it strong, wonderful and sweet ready to be used in an instant for any given purpose.

The Bible says I am a pleasing aroma to Christ when I am sharing who he is to those among me (2Corin 2:15). I believe the aroma becomes sweeter when I am sharing in the way he directs me. It may be a simple smile of sweetness, a word or prayer of sweet encouragement, or sharing the sweet truth of Christ.

Yes, as a sweet peach of Christ … I may have some dark bruises from sitting too long in one position … some bruises that may even need to be “cut out” before I can be used as God directs … none the less … I am a sweet aroma to Christ … and THAT is more than a ponder! #SunriseSandi#SandiPonders#Peaches

Independence

Today is the day we celebrate American Independence (and the final approval of the wording of the Declaration of Independence). ⠀⠀

I have always loved celebrating the 4th of July. Until age 7, I lived in a town that was known for its 4th of July Parade. My dad served in the Navy and we were a family thankful for the meaning of the red, white and blue.⠀⠀

I married a patriotic man, whose patriotism takes him further than a parade, hot dogs and fireworks. He takes the wording of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution to heart. ⠀⠀

The Declaration of Independence begins with what I think is one of the greatest sentences ever written …⠀⠀⠀

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”⠀⠀⠀

All men are created equal⠀ Life⠀ Liberty⠀ The pursuit of happiness⠀⠀It seem’s here in American’s we are still working on each of these “unalienable” rights. We are still working to overcome various kinds of racial, gender, and economic injustices. It seems we are still trying to decide when life begins. There still seems to be great tension between personal liberties and order. Most certainly … happiness has become something we feel entitled to … instead of something we are to pursue. ⠀⠀

The thing is … America is a country that has never wavered on freedom of speech. Maybe we should use that right with an intention to communicate with humble dialogue … instead of overpowering, prideful commands. Just thinking. ⠀⠀

Change starts with me …. … so I shall ponder … #SunriseSandi#SandiPonders#Independence

Identity

“IDENTITY” – to indicate who or what (someone or something) is.⠀⠀

Barry and I were on our morning circle of the RV park, puppies in tow, when I spotted an old truck in an overflow parking lot. I veered off our path to get a better look of the truck about 100’ away. ⠀⠀

I was excited because I thought it was a Studebaker. Barry’s first call was a Ford. We soon called out a Chevy. As we got closer and closer … we kept switching what make we thought the vehicle was. When we finally arrived we learned that it was “none of the above” … but a GMC. Well then … almost a Chevy.⠀⠀

It is easy to think we know something at first glance … by its headlights, the front grate, contour of lines … but, it is not until we get up close and see it’s name … that we can claim its identity. ⠀⠀

My name is Sandi, but at the “grate” of my being is a name identifying me as a “Child of the King”. I am defined by how God contours my life … the destiny he appoints those wheels to take … the people he chooses for me to share cupholders with … and those who choose to come close enough to see “who I really am”. Those who see that my identity is to make known Christ’s identity. ⠀⠀

On any given day … a “conversion” of my true identity can emerge. You know … trying to re-contour who I am to fit in with the changing whims of society. Wheels that are grossly larger than need be … just in case I need to barrel over a log on the way to the grocery store. Or maybe over-compensating suspension lifts that require a ladder or elevator to gain entrance to the vehicle. Why do we do this to ourselves? What are we overcompensate for? ⠀⠀

I am hardwired to gain my identity vertically through God. As I make “conversions” to who God made me … I begin a normal human struggle to look for my identity horizontally, in society. When I look in a mirror … I forget who I truly am.⠀⠀

Oddly, like this GMC truck, I find myself sitting in a parking lot … an “in-between” point. Not settled into a new church … a new ministry … not quite a grandma yet … not even a homeowner yet. But, those things do not identify me … Christ does. ⠀⠀

I shall ponder … #SunriseSandi#SandiPonders#Identity

Laundry

No definition needed.

I am heading over to Elise’s apartment to help her with laundry. It seems little Liberty is already getting in the way of her ability to get the task done. ⠀⠀

In our society, we often gauge the value of work based on compensation, title, and even the name of the place we work at. If you don’t get paid, have a formal title, spend too much time in meetings, then we clearly are not at work. ⠀⠀

But the truth about work is … it is far more about who we reflect when we work, than the finer details of our labor. God created work … he created man to work … to meet the needs of his creation and for his glory. Likely, that work will continue on the other side of heaven.⠀⠀

My daughter is officially on maternity leave. For all the moms out there … I say … her destined work, best work, most difficult work, most God-glorifying work is about to begin … and in a several weeks the fruit of true “labor” will be born.⠀⠀

Instead of overflowing email, will be overflowing laundry. Instead of organizing work tasks, will be organizing closet space. Instead of daily meetings with clients, will be nightly meetings with a hungry Liberty. Instead of going to a supervisor when she needs help, she will call her mom … and I am honored to help… starting with today’s laundry. #SunriseSandi#SandiPonders. #Laundry

Church

Today we are going to attend what will likely become our new church home. It is attended by our daughter and son-in-law and his family. They have attended this church through Brad’s entire childhood. That says something to me about both the leadership of the church and the commitment level of Brad’s family.

Churches are messy. They are filled with people like me. I can relate to these people. They are also filled with people unlike me. This requires a little more work … and as an “outspoken introvert” … I’d rather sit in my same spot, at the same church service time … and make a quick exit to the car immediately following service. I have progressed, but not conquered my social inabilities.

Church’s are meant to be filled with people of every color and age. They are meant to be filled with both the spiritually mature, the new convert, the non believer and everything in between. They are meant to be filled with both those who read the Bible and pray … and those who do not. Those who struggle with addictions and those who do not. Friends who utter unnecessary harsh words and friends who walk with you … carrying your cross … through a most difficult time.

Churches are meant to be filled with those whom God loves … man.

God has many plans for his church … one is to make his grace known to the world. He seems to be choosing not to do that with a bunch of perfect people, living together in perfect harmony … but with “unique”, differently “gifted”, differently “challenged”, “sinful” humans like me.

I suppose my ponder … comes from a conviction … that I am called to “get to know” these people … who “all” are actually quite like me … so that I can share grace back and forth with them. #Sunrisesandi#Sandiponders#Church

Heat

Yesterday, we were blessed with a surprise lunch visit from Elise & Brad. The BBQ broke. Five people (and 2 dogs) in a small RV … while prepared BBQ pork cooks in the cast iron skillet … in 103+ temperature … is not ideal. The poor AC in the RV just couldn’t keep up.⠀⠀

Barry made a pool reservation for Elise and I to go swimming after lunch. The water was PERFECT. Not to cold that you spend the reserved hour trying to get your entire body submerged … but, cool enough that it is still refreshing once you do. ⠀⠀

Brad and Barry made a run to a market down the street known for its great ice cream sandwiches and met us at the pool. Cool bodies, double thick ice cream sandwiches marked a moment of pure refreshment. ⠀⠀

There is a verse in Isaiah … “And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain. Isaiah 18:4⠀⠀

In a thought … yesterdays refreshment could be placed with a cool pool and yummy ice cream sandwich … but … both were temporary. It is the tabernacle … the meeting place between God and I that provides me the true and lasting shadow of refuge.⠀⠀

The thing is … while the tabernacle is God’s meeting place with man … it is also a place of sacrifice. ⠀ ⠀

The ultimate sacrifice for man’s sin has been placed … but for man, for me … hardship will still come. The heat of hardship drives me deeper into the all-sufficient, refreshing grace of God. ⠀⠀

When heat comes, I shall thirst, not for a temporary ice cream sandwich, but for the security and strength of an all sufficient God.⠀⠀

Today, I hope to go visit the refreshment of the pool again … and I shall ponder the true refreshment of God grace. #Sunrisesandi#Sandiponders#Heat