Tuesday, May 27, 2008

For to Tote the Weary Load

Really, it's great. I totally recommend the Paralegal Studies program at Whatcom Community College. But I'm eager to finish. Get done. Have it over with. Just three more weeks (and this week's almost half over). I'm almost, almost there.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Before and After

Here is my dog before his haircut.

Here he is after his haircut.

Avian warfare

Early this morning, while I was out walking the dog, I saw two eagles fighting with a flock of crows in mid-air. The crows appeared to be the aggressors. The eagles were flying along, and the crows were chasing them, and bumping into them. The crows were cawing, and I heard the eagles' cry. Weird. Then on the drive home, along the Hannegan, I saw a small bird chasing a crow and flying at it. What's with the birds?

If I were an ancient Roman, say, I would consider these events omens, and try to guess what they foretold for me or my country. Eagles are the symbol of the U.S. Or they can simply symbolize "flying high." Crows are symbols of what? They're black, like ravens. And I don't know what kind the smaller bird was. I'll have to keep thinking about what these sights might portend.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Growing, not growing, and other things

The peppermint has grown a lot.

Three of the four spreading petunias are spreading. The fourth one had a health crisis. It seems to have recovered, but its development is behind the others.

The tea rose is the last rose I have. All my roses have this issue where the leaves turn yellow, as these are starting to do, then they all fall off. Then new ones grow, and the cycle repeats. The plant doesn't die, but when the leaves fall off, it's not very attractive. I don't know if it's too much or too little water or sunlight, or a disease, or what.

Growing flowers

Pansies blooming.

Rosemary is blooming, too.

The contorted filbert is leafing out, and the verbena is starting to bloom.

Springtime evening

Beautiful moon tonight. Funny how it looks bigger in real life than in the picture. I had an artist speak at my store once, who does a lot of local landscapes, and he said he often has to exaggerate the size of Mt. Baker in his paintings, compared with how it looks in a photo, to match the impression it makes in your mind when you see it.

The robin who was here a while back built this great nest, but now he doesn't seem to be living in it. I thought maybe my pottering around my flowers last weekend might have scared him off. Or maybe one of the neighborhood cats (two of whom I saw noticing his activity) ate him. Tonight I thought I saw him again. Hopefully he just moved into a tree.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Pentecost, May 11, 2008

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. (Acts 2:1-4)

Where the birdies is

Yesterday in the early evening and this morning, I was sitting on the couch reading. I kept thinking I saw some fluttering, but when I looked up, I wouldn't see anything. Finally, I saw a robin with a lot of grass clippings in his beak. He seemed to be going to the upper deck, so I went upstairs, but saw no nest, so I figured he was nesting in our pin oak tree. But later I went to look at my own plants and discovered the beginnings of a nest on this drainpipe under the floor of the upper deck:

In the center of this picture is the householder. Click on the picture to see it larger. (Use the "Back" button on your browser to come back to this page.) Besides showing the robin, it also shows how gray the sky was today.

Later in the afternoon, the nest was quite a bit larger:

I'm interested in watching the process, although I'm concerned that when I water and move my potted plants I'll disturb the birds and possibly make them abandon the nest. I'm also concerned that cats could fairly easily get to this nest. We get a lot of cats in our yard, trying to catch the birds at our feeders and bird bath. They would just have to climb the posts of the deck and reach out, or even see if the drainpipe could support their weight.

My dad is disgusted by the idea that the birds will make a mess on the lower deck. I don't mind. After they leave, we can clean it off and get rid of it. I'd like to see the baby birds hatch and grow. We'll see what happens.

Monday, May 5, 2008

More plants

I filled the last half whiskey barrel. It's on the shady side of the deck and has shade loving plants in it. In the center, a calla lily--such a regal flower. Around the sides, some pink and white variegated leaf plants, and some lobelia with light blue and white flowers. If all goes well, the lobelia will eventually trail over the edges of the pot.

Two hanging baskets at the end of the deck have lobelia with dark blue flowers at the edges and a vibrant red begonia in the middle.

And I planted the second French lavender I bough the other weekend. It is in the foremost pot below.

For my folks

On the upstairs deck, attached to the part of the house where my parents live, I put some plants for their viewing pleasure.

Both pots have geraniums of a pretty white and mauvey-purpley color, and one has light purple spreading flowers, the other white ones (snowdrops).

New developments

The verbena in the pot with the contorted filbert is getting some blooms. Isn't that a pretty flower?

I bought this sun sculpture for two reasons. The first is that it cost $4, while everything else in the same bin was over $20. The other is that I often doodle faces that combine the profile and front view, as does this object. The combination must be important to my unconscious.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

A terrible beauty

As far as I know, this, Mt. Baker, is where Kevin LaFleur left this life and entered God's presence. He went to climb Baker Saturday, April 26, his friends realized he was missing on Monday, April 28, when he didn't come to work, friends and rescue workers searched for him most of the week, when the weather on the mountain permitted it, but Saturday, May 3, the Sheriff's Department suspended the ground search. I heard at church today that some friends were making a final attempt today to find any trace of him, but I have not heard that they found anything.

We, his church family, and also his own family and all his friends are left to assume that he died up there. People at church were crying as we prayed for his family and friends and for the searchers. He is a loss to our congregation, that's for sure. I feel so sorry for his family not to know the circumstances of his death or where his body lies. We know that his soul is with God.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:7-8, 16b

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Ascension Day, May 1, 2008

Ascension Day is possibly the most overlooked church holiday in American Evangelicalism. It is always on a Thursday; it is 40 days after Easter and 10 days before Pentecost, both of which are always on Sundays.

Here's what happened:

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. (Luke 24:50-53)

After his suffering, he showed himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: "Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit."

So when they met together, they asked him, "Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.

They were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. "Men of Galilee," they said, "why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven." (Acts 1:3-11)

Here's why we care:

Heidelberg Catechism

Q & A 46
Q. What do you mean by saying, "He ascended to heaven"?
A. That Christ, while his disciples watched, was lifted up from the earth to heaven and will be there for our good until he comes again to judge the living and the dead.

Q & A 49
Q. How does Christ's ascension to heaven benefit us?
A. First, he pleads our cause in heaven in the presence of his Father. Second, we have our own flesh in heaven—a guarantee that Christ our head will take us, his members, to himself in heaven. Third, he sends his Spirit to us on earth as a further guarantee. By the Spirit's power we make the goal of our lives, not earthly things, but the things above where Christ is, sitting at God's right hand.

Q & A 50
Q. Why the next words: "and is seated at the right hand of God"?
A. Christ ascended to heaven, there to show that he is head of his church, and that the Father rules all things through him.

Q & A 51
Q. How does this glory of Christ our head benefit us?
A. First, through his Holy Spirit he pours out his gifts from heaven upon us his members. Second, by his power he defends us and keeps us safe from all enemies.