More stuff you don’t see every day

On the Jungle Cruise ride at Disneyland, the boat goes behind a waterfall. The guide says, “Now here’s something you don’t see every day – the backside of water. I, however, do see it every day.” Corny joke but I always laughed. Somehow it was even more funny that every guide said it every time, on every ride. They not only saw it every day, they said the same joke every day, all day long.

Here’s something I don’t see every day – the beach. I took this photo while in Australia. I walked on the boardwalk every morning, enjoying the beauty of the ocean, sand and even some wildlife.

What about the things we do see every day? I don’t live near a beach, but I am only a few miles away from a beautiful, 10,000 foot high mountain. I enjoy looking at it and am thankful for the natural beauty around me. What do you see every day? Do you long for the beach when you have a mountain in your backyard? Let’s appreciate all we have and see it for what it is: a gift from God.

 

Making a ding

The world lost a brilliant man last week. Steve Jobs made an amazing contribution to the world of technology and communication and will be missed. He said he wanted to make a ding in the universe. I guess you could say he made a big one.

I think we all want to make at least a little ding in the universe. Most of us won’t make much of a mark, and I’m not even sure that’s what God wants for Christians. He no doubt wants us to contribute as much as we can to this world, but very few will have the impact of people like Jobs, Henry Ford, Leonardo da Vinci, to name a few. For the rest of us,  our contribution will consist of what we find in Bible verses such as Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Philippians 4:5 – Let your gentleness be evident to all (or moderation, or consideration). John 13:35 – By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

We may not all be able to change the world as much as Steve Jobs, but we can all affect those in our spheres of influence by letting the Spirit produce his fruit in us. By loving people and treating each other with kindness, gentleness and patience, we can change the world by letting our lights shine in the darkness. Steve Jobs’ candle has gone out. May the candles of the rest of us continue to burn brightly.

He’s a rock!

The other day while out walking, I was praying about a speech for a women’s retreat. I plan to talk about Jesus so I was musing on who he is. I don’t remember which thoughts led up to remembering a favorite line from one of my all time favorite movies, Galaxy Quest, but somehow I got there. On an alien planet, the “captain” was trying to figure out how to fight a creature made up of a bunch of rocks. When Guy tells him to go for his vulnerable spots, the captain shouts, “he’s a rock, he doesn’t have any vulnerable spots.”

God is described as a rock and as far as I can tell, he doesn’t have any vulnerable spots either. But if we were to take the liberty of thinking of him in this way, we might say he does have one soft spot. It doesn’t make him weak or leave him open to attack. It’s not anything that would cause him to be overcome, like Kryptonite did to Superman. It’s not an Achilles heel.

God’s vulnerability if I may, is his love for us. His amazing love is what moved him to become human and live as one of us. It’s so deep he died for it – to take our sins upon himself and conquer death so we will live. Yes, he’s a rock, with no vulnerable spots, except maybe his love for his children.

Zucchini relish anyone?

There’s only one thing to do with zucchinis gone wild – make zucchini relish. I checked them one day and it seemed like the next they had turned into monsters. My mom used to make relish with the ones that got away – it’s similar to pickle relish and is very easy to make. Just grate the squash and soak in salt water overnight. Drain, add vinegar, sugar, mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric, salt, pepper and a little cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, can in a water bath and enjoy. My daughter says no one needs as much relish as I made, but I plan to enjoy the fruit of my labors for a long time. It’s great on sandwiches!

A canning good time

What do you do with a bumper crop of tomatoes? You can of course. I remember helping my mom can various fruits and veggies – standing in a hot kitchen, preparing the jars and what went in them – but I had never done it myself until this month. Our tomato plants went crazy so we ate some, gave some away and still there were more. So I bought some jars and a canning pot and went to work.

First I did plain tomatoes for soup and other recipes. Then a friend mentioned his mother used to make tomato preserves – interesting, never heard of that. So I looked it up on allrecipes.com and found this recipe. I tweaked it a little because to me, recipes are just guidelines. You can read my tweaks in the review I wrote under the recipe. It turned out to be incredibly delicious. So far we’ve just eaten it on fresh bread, but now that I have 10 pints, we can look forward to experimenting with it all winter.

Oh, did I mention we also have a few zucchini? I’ll post a photo of what I did with them next time.

 

Attitude is everything

I’m a tennis fan, so when the big tournaments come around, I try to make time to watch some of the matches. I’m looking forward to the U.S. Open in New York this month. Just as in most sports, attitude can make all the difference. It’s easy to tell when players give up, especially if they’re competing against the top seeds. You can see their shoulders sag and their facial expressions change from hope to defeat. Some players don’t give up so easily and fight it out until the last point is over.

Attitude is important in everything – in fact, it is everything. No matter what we do, no matter the trials or triumphs, a positive attitude can make all the difference. An attitude filled with hope, gratitude and grace toward others will help us run this race with perseverance (Hebrews 12:1) and ultimately win the prize (1 Corinthians 9:24). We can run complaining all the way, or run with the hope of heaven in our hearts and a smile on our faces.

Like Yogi Berra said, “Ninety percent of this game is half-mental.” In tennis as in life, attitude makes a difference in everything we do and can help us run with hope all the way to the finish line.