Sunday, August 24, 2014
Dear Friends and Relations;
This week’s devotional included the following: “Then they said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.’ And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.’
So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.” Exodus 20: 19-21
Leave it to God to be in the middle of “the thick darkness” .
During the past few years, I remembered the story of the Prophet who went looking for God in the middle of the tempest, the earthquake, and some other disaster. The Prophet said God wasn’t there. I’ve come to the conclusion that God IS the tempest, the earthquake, and every other disaster. There is no separation between the anxieties, fears, and losses, and God. They come as a set. It just takes a little courage to go through the cloud and rumblings to the heart of God.
This verse was especially significant, because the partner of one of my prayer team needs lots of grace and healing, and while I do not wish them darkness, I do, indeed, wish them the presence of God.
It has been an eventful week here in Arizona. I took myself for a drive on Saturday afternoon over to Saint John’s (Hannah, the newest pup, is from out that way). I’ve been dreaming about the road to Saint John’s, and darned if it wasn’t just the way I’d seen it! Mind you, Saint John’s is about 30 miles east of Show Low, making it about 80 miles east. But, it actually looks like a town, rather than the odd assortment of scrap wood shacks, oak-covered wikiups, mobile and modular homes that populate the rez, or the collection of shops, pubs, and RV communities that seem to be the heart and soul of Show Low.
I drove around for a while, and decided to stop and have a look at the local Catholic cemetery. It was located about a quarter mile back a gravelly road, smack dab in the middle of an angus ranch. Never mind the large boned animal giving me ‘the look’ from the other side of what seemed like a mighty thin wire fence …. Cemeteries in Arizona are not like anything I’ve ever seen before. Decorated slabs of cement and stone, brickwork, intentional placement of broken glass, etc., with lots of doodahs and knickknacks. Oh, yes, and what was that thing that scared the willies out of me? It seemed to move forward and backward at the same time, and so, I did what any proper little girl would do, I shrieked – as the snake slithered past my foot… Hail Mary, full of Grace…
I stopped by a grocery store on the way out of town, to get some juice. The man in front of me and the clerk were having a discussion about “Memorial Day”. They weren’t sure when it was, so I reminded them Labor Day is next Monday; Memorial Day is the last weekend in May. Ah. Right. They said. The clerk then asked for clarification: “Is it tomorrow’s Monday, or next week’s?” “Next week’s,” I told him – and instantly we became friends. “I’m surprised you knew what I meant!” He said, with a look of incredulity on his face. “Most people would have told me, ‘Tomorrow’s Sunday.’”
I thought his description was just perfect. “Tomorrow’s Monday” – the possessive form.
Yes, folks, I’m not alone out here! There’s another Word Wizard just down the road!!!
About the kids at school… I learned that all of the students in my reading class have been using the SAME (very boring – and I like phonics! -) text book for the past 2- 5 years (depending on which student I asked). They place into this book by the scores they earn on the standardized state test – which means they actually haven’t learned how to use the material in the text. Nor have they learned that standardized tests are just another example of Theater of the Absurd. Well, you know we’re about to change THAT!
Because it is required, we re-read a story that included a character who played classical music on the piano. So, on the reading guide, I asked if anyone could name a classical composer.
There is a particular facial expression I have come to recognize that signifies a lack of knowledge, and the accompanying discomfort with the question.
Right. Whales have heard Beethoven, but my students have no idea who he is. So, we spent some time listening to different composers – Bach, Mussorgsky, Whitacre. Then I brought the Flash Mob Halleluiah Chorus onto the Promethean board (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE). Leave it to Handel to bring tears to the eyes, and a yearning to the heart.
Friday we had Sergey Rachmaninoff Rhapsody on a Theme by Paginini (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dHyCClQ9S3M).
We’ll be starting our day with music. Chopin was referenced elsewhere, so we had some of his work. The Pachelbel Canon is still one of my favorite pieces. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos remind me of Duncan – he would always raise his head a notch or two, cross his paws, and smile while the Concertos were playing (who was he when he wasn’t my dog?).
The kids listen attentively, and it is a fine way to begin my day. Thank you Peter Byre, music teacher, wherever you are!
On the home front… I have permission to remove the nasty carpet, so the worst part of it is already gone. Thanks to Brad Vincent, for the advice on what to do next. Hopefully, by the end of October (my budget….) the carpet in the living areas will be replaced with laminate – dog proof, and easy to clean!
I have also been mulching and turning a section of the backyard in anticipation of a garden next year. I think my Aunt Jane and Uncle Bob would be proud. They always teased me about going out with a shovel and bucket to pick up the manure the Mennonite and Amish horses left on the Pennsylvania roads. Now I’m collecting Apache Pooh – the dogs think it’s divine! (yuk) Of course, my back aches, and my shoveling foot is sore, and I did break the fork…. clay, you know…
Temperatures are cooling. I overheard one woman tell her friend she actually had to turn on the heat this week. Obviously, she isn’t from New England! It was probably 62 degrees, or thereabouts, at night. Ok, then.
The dog situation continues to break the heart. I tried keeping Sadie with me, but that led to too many fights with Nala and Mae. Sorry, but she can’t live here, either. In addition to praying for the dogs, I would really like a ton of daily prayer for our superintendent. (Can you hear my teeth grinding?) That man …. Well, my prayers have all been of the sort where I wish he’d drive into a ditch and end up in a permanent coma – which sort of smacks in the face of Christ-like love, so maybe you’d better pray for me, too.
Well, I suppose I’ll head to the kitchen and make myself some breakfast. It’s bread day, so today we’ll be eating zucchini bread with walnuts.
I re-sit for the language test on Thursday in Chandler – reasons to pray in Spanish… lol.
Oh, the Tribal Fair is this week, so we have off from Wednesday to Wednesday! Apache County Fair is next weekend. So, I just might get to see a rodeo and/or pet the sheep! I love fair season, no matter where it is!
Be blessed and have a caramel apple with walnuts for me!