How Creation Speaks

I’ve been looking at pine cones a lot lately.  A book I’ve been reading makes me SEE things differently.  Makes me stop and pay attention to what’s at my feet, down close. Instead of stepping over, around and on what lies below, I’m starting to take time to notice what I see.

When I went for a walk yesterday, I discovered there were a least 3 different kinds of cones within roughly 200 feet of my front door. There were rose-like, tightly bunched balls, prickly, layered missiles, and rounded, hard-edged cones from our cul-de-sac’s fir and cedar trees.

I gathered them up, placed them on my deck railing, added twigs and lichen and this simple tableau emerged. All those variations of fir and cedar cones put me in mind of what I’d learned in my college Math Class. When I went back to school (at age 36) to become a teacher I had to suffer through Math–three times. Let’s just say I’m more of a word person.

I survived Algebra because I took it (the 2nd time) in summer school, aided by a study group at my house every day after school for four weeks.  After Algebra, there was Math 45.  I can’t quite explain Math 45, but it wasn’t Algebra. It wasn’t anything I’d ever seen that had anything to do with numbers.
I knew this would be a challenge for me.  I sat in the front row of the lecture hall to be as close to the teacher as possible, to get as much help as possible.  He will probably still recall how I was brought to tears because, although he was speaking English,  i just didn’t get it…

However, I persevered; we got to Chapter 8 and I was supremely rewarded.  Dr. Tannenbaum introduced us to the beautiful Fibonacci Sequence, (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21,34, 55, 89, 144, etc.)  The magic of this formula is this: add the first two numbers together and you get the next number, second two numbers together, you get the 3rd and so on). This series of numbers showed the not-so-random patterns in nature of things like….

Pine Cones and Honeycombs
The shell of a Chambered Nautilus
Pineapples, the whorl on a sunflower seed head… there are many, many more examples.

Leonardo da Pisa, (‘Fibonacci’) was a mathematician who discovered and identified a pattern in nature that was quantifiable, a formula which was also called The Golden Ratio, or The Divine Ratio. Divine–and no wonder–only God could make things so perfectly beautiful in a way that revealed order, thought, planning.  Revealed Him.
In Colossians Chapter 1, Paul writes:
15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”

I began to love Math.  Why?  Well, because it simply proved what I already knew to be true about the world around me. It seemed obvious– All of Creation points to a Divine Creator God if we have eyes to see Him. 

I’m being reminded of something I discovered twenty years ago—slow down, see, look for your Creator in His Creation–it all points to Him. 

For more information about the Fibonacci Sequence, click here.

Voice Messages

St. John’s College, SF, NM, Aug. 2018 jlc

“Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls;

all your waves and breakers have swept over me.

By day the LORD directs His love,

at night his song is with me–

a prayer to the God of my life.”  Psalm 42:7&8, NIV

Before my husband and I got our new smartphones (which alas, have not made us any smarter) I had several voice messages saved on my OLD cel phone.

Our precious married girl, “Hey mom, this is your daughter…”

My married, father-of-5, living-far-away son, “Hey, mom…”

And his delightful children, “Hi Nana…”

My sisters in California, my closest friend in New Orleans, my bosom friend in Florida.

Recorded treasures of the voices I LOVE.

“Why don’t you just erase them?” my husband asked.

Erase them? Extinguish the lilt of their one-of-a-kind phrases? Send the sound of their “I love you’s” into who-knows-where? I think not.

I long to hear them in person, but that’s improbable most days as these people I love are out of town or out of state. However, if I have a recording, although it’s been days, weeks or months, with a couple of gentle taps on my phone I can hear the sound of their voice and they’re right there in the room.

Without the visual presence of a person the sound of someone’s voice is the richest proof of who they are. The tone and inflection, accent, choice of words, phrasing. All of it adds up to frame the familiar for us.

I remember when my mother was dying of cancer almost 25 years ago.  I lived 500 miles away in a Central California town while she spent her last days with my sister in Southern California.

Her chemo treatments were nearly finished and my 55-year-old mother was in a significant amount of pain.  Although I’d spoken to her on my birthday a month before, I knew it wouldn’t be long before she’d be passing away.  I urged my sister to let me know when it was getting close to the end so I’d have the 4 1/2 hours I needed to be there in time.

Six weeks later the phone call came.  I loaded up myself and my things and sped down the I-5 freeway, careless whether I broke any laws–I just needed to see my mother.  I was oddly thankful for the miles between us; it gave me all the time I needed to process what it would be like to finally see her. I had no idea what to expect, but I knew she’d be changed. How much? I wondered.

I recalled my sister’s comments in our phone conversation. She reported that Mom had lost a significant amount of weight (she was thin to begin with). Then there was the loss of all her hair, her brunette waves, gone. Would I be ready to take that all in, visually?

I arrived at my sister’s home in record time and held my breath as I knocked on the door.

I was shocked at what I saw when the door opened. Who was this gaunt, old woman with a turban on her head? Where was my mother?

Then she said my name and welcomed me in. I nearly wept at the sound of her voice; there she was right in front of me.

I thought about this the other day reading the Gospel of John. Jesus tells his disciples that his sheep would hear and know his voice.

Without a doubt, when God says our name, it is a voice like no other. We know He is there even if we can’t see Him.  And God is always speaking to us, day and night, in our wondering, our worrying, and in our wandering. I want to remember to walk away from the noise, the rushing water, the other sounds and voices that sometimes drown Him out, and listen for His songs in the night.

I love the sound of His voice. How about you?

The Song of Your Life

Son Aaron at the piano with his firstborn, Hanan, 1 year old, 2004

Maybe you have a Life Verse, one Scripture that encapsulates your identity, from God’s voice to your ears. Mine is Psalm 45:1, “My tongue is the pen of a ready writer…), but what would be your song?

When the service begins to celebrate your passing (which I am not doing any time soon, just for the record) will they know what to play?
I’ve been considering this question more and more lately, as I approach my ‘twilight’ years.
Without sounding a little weird, I think it’s wise to have something written down ahead of time so there are some directions and you have a little say-so in how things are done when it comes time to mark the end of your life.

Choosing The Song….the stand on your feet at the end of the service song–is practically impossible for me–way too many choices. I’d want to fit a few favorites in somewhere in the requisite slide show–surely a Broadway tune or two, maybe some James Taylor, Josh Groban…well, I’m getting ahead of myself.  WAY ahead of myself.

Anyway, for the final song, I think I have it decided.
The other night as I was listening to a recording of the Odes of Solomon (produced by Andrew Schreiner), the familiar notes on the piano began the piece I love the most–‘Sing Allelu’ (Ode 40) sung by Fernando Ortega.**

I had to get up from my work, throw my arms in the air and sing…it’s one of those ‘stand on your feet’ kind of songs.

Planning ahead, I pictured my going home service–how would this ‘Sing Allelu’ be delivered?   Would it be during a stirring video with amazing photos and the accompanying song?  Or someone singing live? 

And instantly I saw plain as day, my son sitting at the piano, as he has been doing since he was 8 years old, encouraging everyone to rise to their feet and join in the worship.

People would be moved, my grandchildren (maybe my greats??) would hear what their Nana loved more than anything, there would be tears, there would be joy and most of all my Jesus would be lifted up.
It’s amazing what one piece of music can do for your soul.

Just for fun, if you could plan ahead, what would be the song(s) of your life that celebrated what you loved the most?
What do you want people to remember you by and why?

Leave a note in the Comments.

**turn up your volume, take 5 minutes–pure worship

Jumping in with Both Feet

Jan. 23, 2012 Snow day

It’s not actually a snow day here in the Seattle area.   It’s a ‘recover-from-the-snow-and-ice-and-wind-damage-day’ so there is no school. And, since I’m a teacher, blessed me, there’s oodles of extra time from the Time Keeper, my Heavenly Father, to do what He’s called me to do–write to you.

But first, since we rarely if ever get weather like this, here are a few pictures….

Ice crystals on fir branches

Front yard with very flexible, ice-embedded jacquemontii birch trees.

Poor viburnum, Pink Dawn, was just beginning to bud….

Since I have no idea what to say or where to start, I’ll offer you this. My first blog post and all.

It’s the beginning of the year and I’m plowing through the Pentateuch, much like I plowed through the snow to take these photos. And since my spiritual life dovetails with the rest of my life, I thought I’d share something from Exodus Chapter 16 about manna (Hebrew for ‘what is it’?). There are parallels I noticed between gathering actual food and spiritual food.

You have to get something to eat DAILY-even if it’s just one meal, feed yourself on the word of God. Also, fresh food is best, old stuff just rots and brings no life.

You have to get your own food–you can’t take someone else’s word–i.e. live your walk with Jesus on someone else’s nourishment. You know what I mean. A friend tells you what the Holy Spirit showed them, or they pray powerful prayers on Sunday morning or in your small group. You figure if you just hang out next to them it’ll rub off and make you ‘cool by association.’ You’re off the hook to find a word or morsel of food for yourself.

You can’t go looking so you’ll have something to give away to someone else. For instance, while you’re reading the Word, saying, “Oh, so and so needs to hear this.”  Don’t do that.  Ask God to feed you.

Gathering food will cost you something. The Children of Israel had to go out early every morning.  Like roll out of their cozy warm sleeping mats, leave their tents and go outside to gather their meal. Going after the food of God’s word costs us time and effort, just like getting physical food. But we can’t live without it.

Asking to remind myself and you, dear reader–have you eaten today?

Happy new beginnings!