When you are reading here whether you found me intentionally or accidently, please take time to leave a comment and let me know where you are and what you are thinking. I love feed back. Vondi

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

why is it?

Why is it do you think, that people get all excited talking about the ‘rapture’ and the ‘millennium’ and prophecy, but no one has any enthusiasm for the more meat and potatoes teachings about living faithfully and righteously before the Lord.

I see enthusiastic discussions about what is going to happen in the end time when Jesus “raptures” His people away and rings down terrible tribulation and wars and awful things on those remaining (and those who are left here will still have a chance to get right with God during those terrible times…) And people seem to gloat because they think that, of course, they are not going to be here for those things, but THEN, they say, He is coming back and everyone gets all enthused about the wonderful times He will usher in for a thousand years. Hmmm not much is said about after that though. Wonder what happens then.

But just mention living free from sin and destroying the fruits of unrighteousness and there isn’t a peep of enthusiasm. They get a little bit more energetic when we speak about the fruits of the spirit because those are all positive things that people think they display. Everybody likes to see themselves as being loving, kind, patient, peaceable, longsuffering, and gentle. They like to see themselves as full of goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance. And if those things aren’t within them they would rather not look too closely inside themselves.

But they don’t like to see their real selves when there is hiding within them: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. (Galatians 5; 19-23 NIV) That is why it is easier to think about the wonderful things that will be happening to the Christians in the rapture and the awful things that will come after it for those sinners (of which they are certainly not one!)

But the Word tells us to lay ourselves open to God and ask Him to search and see if there is any unrighteousness in us. (Psalms 139:23-24) We have to leave this searching up to the Lord for Jeremiah tells us the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked; who can know it? (Jer. 17: 9-10) When we open ourselves to God’s searchlight it will seek out and expose every wicked thing within us. It will give us grace and power to root out that sin within us. Then comes the victory that makes the true child of God rejoice—the sure knowledge that they are walking in righteousness with victory over sin and living a life set aside and sanctified for the Lord’s use—Those concepts not only leave them silent, but almost angry.

When we mention those things, possible only by the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives granted when we sell out fully to God, when we mention those things we are accused of self righteousness and hypocrisy. When we are told by Paul to present our bodies, a living sacrifice to God, wholly acceptable which is our reasonable service, people don’t want to hear it. But talk about living and reigning with Christ for a thousand years --whoo, buddy!-- Let’s jump up and down and shout.

Praise the Lord. We don’t have to wait till sometime in the future to live and reign with Christ we can do it now! Amen!

Do you triumph, O my brother,
Over all this world of sin?
In each storm of tribulation,
Does your Jesus reign within?

o Refrain:
I am reigning, sweetly reigning,
Far above this world of strife;
In my blessed, loving Savior,
I am reigning in this life.

One we hail as King immortal,
He did earth and hell subdue;
And bequeathing us His glory,
We are kings anointed, too.

Shall we then by sin be humbled?
Must we yield to any foe?
No, by heaven’s gift we’re reigning
Over all this world below.

Oh, what grace and high promotion,
That in Jesus I should be
Raised from sin to royal honor,
Even reigning, Lord, with Thee.

All this life is blissful sunshine,
Earth is subject at our feet;
Heaven pours its richest blessings
Round our throne of love complete.

Then we’ll sing and shout the story,
Of the wondrous blood divine;
Full salvation, glory, glory!
I am reigning all the time.

o Refrain:
I am reigning, sweetly reigning,
Far above this world of strife;
In my blessed, loving Savior,
I am reigning in this life.
What wonderful Joy !

Friday, April 23, 2010


Notah and Kerra came home from the flea market three weeks ago (Ap. 3rd) with a surprise. (Seems longer than that, but I counted the weeks twice!) Kerra came in the family room where I was sitting and started messing with the drapes. She handed me her purse and said, “Here open this for me. Will you?”

I said, “Good grief. Why do you want me in your purse? Are your hands broken?” But I unzipped it while she fiddled with the blind. When I did this little brown head popped up! I squealed like a teenager who just had Elvis wave at her! It was a tiny buckskin colored puppy. She is half teacup Chihuahua and half Jack Russell terrier. What a combination! But she is a cutie. She didn’t weigh a pound. I found out later she was half mine! Turned out Notah and Kerra didn’t have enough cash to pay the lady so they used some of the money I’d sent along for something else!! LOL

We ran through a couple dozen names before we came up with one that suited her. Keva of course had a bunch of ‘girlie’ names… You know, the kind of names that people usually give little dogs--Baby, Tiny, Bitsy, that kind of thing…. Thank goodness Notah and Kerra are into original names. Seth had a few more macho names, but then she was a tiny little dainty girl dog. Seth’s friend Zack was there, too, so there was quite a voting pool. Finally someone said “Chloe” and it was almost unanimous. Notah dubbed her ‘Chloe biscochito’ then later said he wasn’t serious, but I think it is as cute as she is. A little biscuit is exactly what she is—tiny and golden and round. LOL

Chloe went for a ride and hike with us that first Saturday. I must say that she soon ran out of steam and ended up sleeping in Grandma’s arms for the rest of the afternoon.

She was, and still is, so tiny that Notah made a little pen for her so she won’t get stepped on. Kerra made her a pillow and I made her a jacket. She even has a potty tray with dirt in it. And she knew how to use it right off the bat. She is still sleeping most of the day and night. But she is staying awake longer between naps every day.

Thain just loves her. She is so brave. Or maybe dumb. I’m not sure. She runs up and barks at him and attacks his feet and bites his nose. Thain wants so bad to play with her, but I honestly believe he is really afraid he’ll hurt her! When she cried to get out of her pen those first couple days, he worried and worried about her.. He would go over and poke her with his nose. And once I declare, he was trying to pick her up and take her out. His entire mouth was over her head. I told him no that he couldn’t do that and he was good. I don’t think he was real sure how exactly to go about it anyway! And THEN, when she slept too long and I was beginning to worry about her, he even went over and poked her with his nose and woke her up.

It has been lots of years since I had a puppy this little. Probably Spider was our last one. This one is a joy

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

first steps

I had a ‘set-to’ with Keva the other day. She (and her mom, too, I think maybe) was put out with me for a couple days. The topic of dancing came up. I was raised to know that was sin, but I never gave it any in depth thought until I was well into my adult years and raising my own kids. Then I began to think that activity and many others through to discover for myself why I had been taught so stringently that they were sins.

In today’s world, many things that the old saints called sin are commonly accepted by modern “Christians.” Those of us who adhere to the ‘old-fashioned’ teachings are castigated as old fashioned and judgemental and legalistic. I’m sure that is what Keva thought of me.

So here is my thought process.

When we consider many modern forms of entertainment, there appears to be nothing wrong with them on the face of things. I mean, really, what is wrong with dancing? How is it any different from running or hopping or skipping or playing ball? Many Christians believe it is okay drink alcohol, always qualifying it with the phrase ‘if it’s not done to excess’ but really an occasional “buzz” is all right—as long as it isn’t a regular habit. (Oh yeah, lots of qualifications there.) Radio, television, movies, make-up, stylish clothing… the list goes on and on. What exactly is wrong with any of them?

In thinking through the question of dancing, I think I’ve found the answer to the sin in all of those things. Keva, in very belittling and withering tones, said, “Oh, so Seth is sinning every day!” (Seth prances around all by himself all over the house in his own style of ‘dance.’ He doesn't even need music. LOL He makes his own. ) And I answered, “No, he’s doing it at home all by himself. He can move however he feels like. He’s not going out in a mixed group and gyrating in front of them.”

And therein lies much of the problem. The movements of modern dances are quite frankly seductive and suggestive. They involve placing one’s body in positions and actions that were intended by the Creator to evoke a sexual response in one’s husband or wife. They involve pressing the body against a member of the opposite sex in a way that God ordained be reserved exclusively for one’s mate. It is the beginning of an adulterous affair or simple fornication in far, far too many cases.
(To make my point... My husband would have been justifyably incensed to find me in such a position with another man... Only a foolish man or woman would not find the positioning provocative)

The other side of the equation involves the locations where men and women go to dance. Oh yes, I know, modern Christians point to ‘innoncent’ high-school mixers and parties. And those may well be chaperoned and wholesome, but the next step leads to other circumstances. Once the child has learned to dance and enjoy the ‘innocent’ titillation involved in their high-school activities, they want to continue enjoying the activity and feelings. Probably 90% of the possible locations for dancing young adults and their older counterparts can find, most frequent are bars and a variety of clubs. Here there is an atmosphere promoting drinking, drugs, flirting with other members of the opposite sex and the opportunity to dance with them, fostering, even promoting, chances for illicit liaisons. It cannot even be legitimized, spiritually, by the excuse, ‘well, I’m not married” because free sexual relations outside of marriage are just as much sin as those within.

See, the difficulty in dancing is not in the physical activity, but in what it leads to ultimately. Sometime during my life I was told by a wise saint, “Once you set your foot on Satan’s road, you forfeit control over where he will take you and how far you will go.” And sadly, I’ve seen that proven over and over… Seemingly innocent activities, innocent occupations, innocent words may well be innocuous as far as the world is concerned, but they are the first step on Satan’s path.

“A little wine for the stomach’s sake” is used to promote the acceptance of alcohol consumption. (If Paul had dreamed of the long reaching and evil effects his beneficent medical advice would have provoked he would have bitten his tongue off.) In spite of all the excuses given regarding the 'benefits' of alcohol on the system, the greatest still remains that it loosens the inhibitions and relaxes the individual causing them to feel good and leading to the commission of acts that the sober person would never dream of doing. And so society laughs at drunks who dance on coffee tables, perform impromptu strip-teases, or go swimming in their clothes—or better yet in their skin.

Adults smoke tobacco even with all the proven medical consequences and manage to make it look so sophisticated that thousands of young people are still taking up the habit that leads to addiction and life threatening consequences.

Instead of providing consistent and loving discipline, we give our children drugs to control their behavior, never considering the life-long predilection to drug abuse we are fostering.

We allow our children to watch movies and tv programs that promote ungodly dress and behavior. We allow them to listen to music rousing deep sensations in immature psyches and encouraging movements that are sexually provocative.

We buy cute, revealing outfits for our little girls and never consider the modesty issues that must be molded in to the young girl in order that they might be maintained when the body matures.

And society says all these things are O.K.

How very wise are the parents who by example teach how to live and the places it is best to go. How wise are the parents who limit their child’s entertainments and choices of friends and the frequency of their association with them. How wise are the parents who limit their child’s choices of music and television programming. How wise are the parents who restrict their child from burrowing himself away in a bedroom to pursue long hours of internet activity and music ‘appreciation.’

God, in His wisdom, planned that parents teach and limit and control their children for many years that the course of the child’s life might be nurtured and shaped into godliness.. Especially since while back when some president’s foolish wife popped up with the slogan, “It takes a village to raise a child” American parents have been abdicating their responsibility for shaping and nurturing their children. They are allowing the mores of society to control their children and they are fostering a false independence in the youngsters when they do not have the knowledge or experience to be independent.

So the sin of dancing and a long list of other things, does not lie specifically in the action (although sometimes it may) but in the eventuality of those first steps. I wish parents would step back and really LOOK at where the ‘innocent’ activities they are permitting and too often actually encouraging their children are going to take them.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tis a glorious church!

Do you hear them coming, brother,
Thronging up the steeps of light,
Clad in glorious shining garments,
Blood washed, garments pure and white?

’Tis a glorious church without spot or wrinkle,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb;
’Tis a glorious church without spot or wrinkle,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb.

Do you hear the stirring anthems,
Filling all the earth and sky,
’Tis a grand, victorious army,
Lift its banner up on high!

Never fear the clouds of sorrow,
Never fear the storms of sin.
We shall triumph on the morrow,
Even now our joys begin.

Wave the banner, shout His praises,
For our victory is nigh!
We shall join our conqu’ring Savior,
We shall reign with Him on high!

Tis a glorious church without spot or wrinkle,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb;
’Tis a glorious church without spot or wrinkle,
Washed in the blood of the Lamb.

I was able to go to service last Sunday for the first time in several years. First because of the great pain pills Dr. Nicholson gave me, second because of the way Notah and Kerra’s church is designed. It is only a few steps from the parking lot to the church doors and only a couple more to the sanctuary. The pews are separated by an aisle at the sanctuary doors so there is a wide space for walking. BUT the great thing was I could sit right inside on the first pew of the back section. I didn’t have to scootch in between narrowly placed pews. The very best part is that their pews are low so that when I sat on them my legs could extend slightly and rest comfortable on the heels so the front of the pew doesn’t cut of circulating in my knees and lower legs.

This was the first hymn they sang. A Glorious Church without spot or wrinkle! Wow. A Church of God hymn in a little Nazarene congregation!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tuesday, August 13,2010

I’ve written before, I think, of sitting outside in the mornings. When you sit on our deck you face the Manzano Mountains. They are almost exactly due east of us and slightly to the left of them, if I have my mountains straight, are the Pinos. Going the other way, you come to the Ladrones and there is a range in between which shall go un-designated because I can’t remember the name. To sit out here in the morning is to sit on top of the world. It is quiet except fro the distant traffic sounds from the freeway.

Our house sits on top of a hill. It may well be the uppermost house, I don’t know, but it feels like it. The other morning I sat out there for two hours as the sun rose from just one cloud width above the mountain to almost a quarter of the way up into the sky. It ducked in and out between layers of clouds and alternately warmed me and left me exposed to the chill of the gentle wind. This morning the sky was blue from horizon to horizon, north to south, east to west. Although the wind was cool and pleasant, it only kept the heat of the sun from being uncomfortable. I was out there for about an hour and a half this morning. I read and snoozed in the warmth and watched the dogs play.

Gable and Huckleberry are old men. Both of them have arthritis in their old bones. Huck has a lot of tumors here and there. Gabe only has one. Both of them are grouchy and snarl fiercely at the other dogs if they get too close. Both are very protective of their food dishes. Neither of them can see real well anymore. Gable’s ears are better than Huck’s. Both of them still have good noses. I don’t think either of them laid down for the entire time we were out. They trotted back and forth along the fence or stood on the corner of the deck, peering all around with their ears pricked. Every time they heard something they turned in that general direction and barked ferociously to warn off the attacking what-evers. Poor old guys. One time they were both standing on the deck and facing into the breeze. I have no idea what they scented on the wind, but both of them began barking fiercely. Must have been something horrifically dangerous.

Thain played the entire time. Last Saturday Notah brought him a baby pool to splash in. And splash he did! The pool is just big enough for him to get all four feet in and turn round and around. ( It would make a good bed if it had a blanket in it) He enjoys standing in it and splashing around while he chases the reflections in the water. Today he had a tiny piece of bone about an inch and a half long and three-fourths of in inch thick. The water was muddied from his getting in and out of it so many times, consequently the bottom or anything on the bottom wasn’t visible. He was carrying his little bone around, chomping on it from time to time, while he played in the water. Then he accidentally dropped it!

At first he was a little worried because he couldn’t find it. But the pool is so small that inevitably he stepped on it. Then he had the challenge of finding it with his teeth while the water was halfway up his long nose to his eyes. Of course he figured it out since it involved splashing even more water everywhere. Then came the game of picking it up, ‘accidentally‘ dropping it in the water, then ‘diving’ for it and picking it up again. Then he would drop it out of the pool on the deck. It always fell just under the beveled edge of the pool so it was a little hard to see from his angle. That involved in his getting out of the pool to find it. Or sometimes he could find it from inside the pool. In either event, continuing the game still involved accidentally dropping it back in the water and so on. He entertained himself for most of an hour that way. I was beginning to worry he would be all wet when I was ready to go back inside. But finally he took his bone over to the end of the deck facing the wind and lay down with it between his front paws. Before long he was all dried off.

I enjoy sitting in the sun as long as it isn’t too hot. I hiked for long hours in the sun long before we had the medical profession advising us about the life threatening dangers of skin cancer. ( I sometimes wonder how Man survived for how many thousands of years before we had doctors to tell us about skin cancer and the dangers of red meat and smoke in the air!) At any rate, I’m sixty five years old. If I want to sit in the sun I will and if I get skin cancer--oh well. My father and grand father worked in the sun for their entire lives and had no skin cancer. My husband’s ancestors lived in the desert sun and I’ve never known a Navajo with skin cancer. So I’m not going to worry.

Meantime, the sun feels good on my muscles and bones.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

'maundy' thursday, 'good' friday, 'desolate' saturday

In observing the death and resurrection of Christ, we focus a lot on ‘good Friday’ and jump to Easter Sunday morning. I know lots of people now are objecting to the term “Easter” being used for the commemoration, but for me Easter is simply the time of remembering the death and resurrection of Christ. The fact that it has been perverted in modern times has no influence on the observance. For that matter, I’m a little shaky on the term ‘good Friday’ too. I’m not entirely sure Jesus died on Friday, but that makes no difference when I’m focused on remembering the events leading up to His Death. He still died, was buried and rose again!

To go on, Friday was an awful time for the disciples, friends and family of Jesus as we consider their horror at His death. Sunday was a glorious time when we remember the victory of his Resurrection. But just think of the desolation that the apostles and family of Jesus must have endured on Saturday!

From events described in the Bible and accounts we have historically, we find that up until the actual death of Christ, the apostles were expecting some fantastic and miraculous event that would stop the process they were seeing and bring God's Kingdom into a blazing and glorious Reality. Surely this Christ, this Messiah, this Son of God would not be allowed to die the ignominious death of a common criminal. And when it actually happened they were distraught. Their faith must have been shattered.

I remember the day after my husband died. It was almost surreal. It simply didn’t seem possible that he was gone. When I actually dwelt on the reality, my world dissolved in blackness. I had no past and no future without him. And this was only the loss of an ordinary man. I can’t imagine how much more greatly magnified the grief of the apostles and Jesus’ family must have been! This was the Man who had instilled in them such great faith in Him and in God’s Teachings. His promises of a coming Kingdom were glorious. His teachings of a new life were wonderful. The intimate relationship with the Father God which he showed them was magnificent beyond their imaginings. But to them it all became empty words as they faced the harsh reality of His Death.

With no hope of anything more, the women came early on Sunday morning, their first chance after Sabbath to anoint the body properly since they hadn’t had opportunity in the rush to get Jesus body in the tomb before Sabbath began. They didn’t come expecting Him to have risen from the tomb. In their experience, in the experience of all men to that time, when a man was dead he stayed dead. They came in absolute and complete anguish to do the last kindness they could for their beloved Jesus. To them
now, He wasn’t a wonderful Messiah. He wasn’t a Divine Teacher. He was just a man like any other who had taught a wonderful message, but had died without seeing it fulfilled. And yet they loved Him.

Saturday must have been a time of unspeakable loss and complete devastation beyond any expression. The Man whom they had believed to be the Eternal Son of God, had been proven to be simply a human being like they were themselves. They had not only lost a dear friend and brother and son, they had lost their faith.

And so the women came, grieving and faithless, but still loving to do that last simple kindness for the man of clay that they still loved. And they found instead, the angel who said to them, “Why seek ye the living among the dead?”

Friday, April 2, 2010

good friday

They’re walking up Tome Hill this morning. Some started early, early and it’s only 5:30 now. Tome Hill is, I guess you would call it, a shrine. Catholic believers from all around make a pilgrimage on Good Friday to the top of it where there are crosses set up commemorating the hill of Golgotha.

Some carry heavy loads, posts, or crosses to the top of the hill and leave them there. Others just walk. I don’t suppose saying hundreds would be an exaggeration. Hundreds of people some with children, some with pets trailing them, some carrying water, some not, old, young and in between, some for 20, 25 miles away—they all walk up Tome Hill. To many it is an act of dedication, remorse, repentance, restitution, seeking for absolution of sin; for others, I’m sure, it is a tradition pursued in honor of not just Jesus, but past family members and commemoration of happenings long past. It is at the very least an impressive site.

I have divided feelings about the trek. The sentimental part of me finds a certain value in commemorating Christ’s suffering in this way. It is only a emotional self serving kind of feeling though. Call it self-gratification-doing something because it fulfills a need to be perceived as devoted to Christ and the Church, an admirable tradition perhaps remembering past years when the walk was made with much loved parents, grandparents, friends and family.

For many, though, the walk is one done as an act of contrition, as an atonement of sorts for committed sins and a sign of dedication to God. And here is where the sad part of it comes in. There is no atonement from God to be gained from subjecting the body to the privation of a long difficult walk to any place. Forgiveness comes only through true repentance. And true repentance can happen only between man and God. True repentance can only be achieved when sins are forsaken and the individual is changed.

To the child of God remembering the death of Christ bring heartache and tears. If the movie, The Passion of Christ, did anything good, it was to portray for thousands the reality of what Christ suffered for us. But for those thousands, it only brought a few minutes of tears and heartache; then it was forgotten. That suffering is of no effect if it is only remembered for a few minutes of empathy and sentimentality then forgotten throughout our daily lives.
For that great suffering to have meaning, it must take effect in our lives. It must result in our own sorrow and conviction and ultimately our repentence for sins. When that happens the cost of our sins will be paid by that suffering. Our love and gratitude will result in a deep and lasting change in the way we live.

Thank the Lord for a Savior! Thank the Lord for Saving Grace! Thank the Lord for enduring, keeping power that endures past a few days of sentimentality and self-imposed castigation and self-punishment that requires we return time after time and year after year seeking pardon!

Christ isn’t lying in a tomb. He isn’t hanging still on a cross with those horrific wounds. He came down from that cross to make a change in the hearts of men! He can and does and will live in your heart and mine!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

weather such a humdrum subject

I was sitting here in the dark this morning after Notah left for work. It’s a good time of day on our hill. I can see across to Belen in the valley and across the other way to the far-off highway with its high bright lights. This morning and every morning I hear the distant train whistle blowing. I love this time of day. I can’t wait until my chair comes and I can sit on the deck.

This morning, Thursday, I would need a jacket and a blanket! Two days ago it was 84 degrees at five pm. Goodness knows what the temp was at three, usually the hottest part of the day. This follows SNOW a week ago on the 19th. Now today it is back to cool temps. Predicted high today is 54 in Albuquerque, 57 here in Belen and 51 on the Sandia slopes where Seth is going for a field trip.

I’m worried to death that he’ll freeze. If you’ve never lived or more especially spent time outside in New Mexico’s mountains or desert, you won’t know how quickly temperatures can drop and the wind can chill your bones. Tuesday people were in shorts and tank tops and complaining of the heat. Today, Kerra made Seth go back for a jacket in addition to his sweat shirt. He’s gonna be real put out if he doesn’t need it.

I love New Mexico. I only wish I could hike with Notah and his biyaazh.