Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mary and Martha

There are several stories in the Bible involving Mary and Martha. These usually leave me feeling uneasy. You see, I identify with Martha. Martha is the busy one, the one getting things done. She works hard and is practical. She doesn't allow herself to feel too much emotion or to get caught up in the moment. Mary, on the other hand, wants nothing more than to be with Jesus. She hangs on his every word. She risks scandal to be with him and show him how much she loves him. I'm a Martha I see all sorts of things to criticize in the Mary's of this world. However, secretly I envy them. I envy the trusting relationship between Mary and Jesus. I am jealous of her desire to sit at Jesus' feet and just listen to him. I wish I could be vulnerable like her. I wish I could be like Mary, but I'm a Martha. I will never be a Mary, but I can become the best Martha that I am able. Serving out of heart instead of obligation. Letting go of my comparison with Mary, I can be just as close to Jesus as Mary. I wrote this poem about Martha.

My Name is Martha

My name is Martha
Cooking, cleaning, serving
My duty
Acclaimed, spotless house
My pride
Hearty kosher meals
My joy

Jesus, Rabbi, Friend
A most auspicious guest
My chance
Unparalleled feast
My worth
Lifetime opportunity
My wealth

There is too much work
Where is Mary?
My help
Wasting time, abandoning
My anger
“Master, tell my sister!”
My justification

“Martha, Martha, Martha,
What do you do?”
My self-righteousness
Your sister chose better
My indignation
You should have done the same
My shame

My name is Martha
My service
Just busy expectations
My heart
Focused on myself
My redemption
Messiah’s sacrifice

Monday, October 17, 2011


It is mid October. Ghoulish masks fill the aisles of the stores and orange frosted cupcakes tempt the unwary shopper. Crisp mornings with the tang of mulching leaves, followed by warm glowing afternoons signal the changes of seasons. Fall brings pumpkins, candy corn, Halloween costumes, Thanksgiving celebrations, and long sleeved shirts. The hillsides cover themselves with hues of red, orange, yellow and green. Flocks of birds fly overhead, squawking noisily.
Many people love this season. They love wearing the muted fall colors and carving pumpkins. Dressing up for Halloween and taking the little ones trick or treating brings back fond memories of childhood. Others watch fall creep over the land with dread. The cooler days not only indicate that summer is past, but that winter is fast upon its heals. All they see is icy roads, getting up early to scrape the snow off the windshield, and cold.
Fall is a transitional season. It makes way for the end of another year. I grew up where we didn't have four seasons. Our seasons were rainy and dry season. There were no changing leaves and although the nights cooled down the days resurrected toasty as ever. For me the changing of the season is miraculous. There are things I love about all of them. Part of me dreads the coming of winter, another part of me mourns the passing of summer. I love the rich scent in the air. I like the outward manifestation of the passing of time. I greatly anticipate Thanksgiving. I would like to host it at my house, but I just can't think of a way to get more than a hand full of people into my house. I like soaking up the last bits of warmth from the sun.
What are some of the things that you enjoy most about this season?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Predicting the Weather

Can you predict the weather better than the weather man or woman on your favorite news channel? At times I think I can and other times the weather person beats me. Radar and other technology helps forecast whether or not it will rain on your picnic, but there are some basic ways that you and I can reasonably well predict the weather. My disclaimer is that some of these methods work better in different parts of the country and climates.
Lets start with clouds. If someone says it looks like rain the first thing I do is look up. If there are big cumulonimbus clouds that are dark there is a high likelihood of rain, we all know that. Think back to science class with me. Do you remember what a cirrus cloud looks like. You might call them mares tales, pony tales, horse tails, or high wispies. These clouds indicate that a change in weather is coming.Usually between 24 and 48 hours it will rain when cirrus clouds are present, especially on the East coast I have seen this to be true.

Smoke from a fire is also useful for telling what the weather might do. If the smoke from your campfire hangs around your camp and stays closer to the ground you have a low pressure system. If the smoke goes straight up you have a high pressure system. With lower pressure precipitation is more likely and if you have high pressure for a while then more likely than not a low pressure system will be coming through and it might rain.
Dew indicates that it shouldn't rain that day, but if it rained the night before this method does not workAn increase in humidity can mean a storm coming in. Your hair may be curlier and more unmanageable, the air may feel heavier, and leaves may curl.Strong winds or easterly winds also indicate possible weather.Recall the sailors saying, "Red sky at night a sailors delight, red sky in the morning sailors take warning." This also has to do with air pressure. A ring around the moon also indicates possible precipitation. If you are wondering look for birds or animals. They usually know and will act differently then they normally would.
My favorite is the deep breath and the gut feeling. Does it smell like rain? It may smell sweeter or like mulch. Do you feel it? Don't discredit your uncles knees or your grandmothers left elbow. Aching bones and painful old injuries can shout out a change in humidity.
Now that you have some tips when you are out camping take a deep breath and observe the smoke from your fire see if you can predict the weather. If you bored at home test your new information against the forecasters, can you predict rain or fair weather better than your weather person?
Free Tip: You can tell how long it is before sunset by holding your hand at arms length and measuring how many hand breadths there are from the bottom of the sun to the horizon. Each finger is 15 minutes, ergo each hand is one hour. It works.