A Mighty Fortress is my Garden

Fort veg

From “The Lizard Lounge” Series on Clay

Below is the next installment in “The Lizard Lounge Series on Clay,” a piece about gardening and God. I hope it grows on you… Here is a link to the whole series, if you’re just tuning in. (And here’s a link that explains the whole “Lizard Lounge” bit.)

Who knew my earthly home could teach me so much about the journey toward my heavenly one…?

• • •

Something you should know: I love fruits and vegetables. You can open my refrigerator or poke through the fruit bowl on my kitchen counter any time of the day or night and find peppers, carrots, tomatoes, avocado, melon, or sweet potatoes. (But please don’t come poking through my house at night, especially if I don’t know you’re there; that’d just freak me out. If you absolutely feel as though you must, however, would you mop before you leave? I’ve been a little busy.)

A while back, my church decided to spend time in prayer and fasting, and the Daniel Fast, where you only eat fruits, vegetables, and grains for 21 days, was presented as an option. Eating fruits, vegetables, and grains only? I don’t call that a fast; I call that last night’s dinner…

And now for the rest of the story…

*squish*

From “The Lizard Lounge” Series on Clay

Below is the next installment in “The Lizard Lounge Series on Clay,” a wet-n-wild little piece about disasters—house AND spiritual varieties. Here is a link to the whole series, if you’re just tuning in. (And here’s a link that explains the whole “Lizard Lounge” bit.)

Who knew my earthly home could teach me so much about the journey toward my heavenly one…?

• • •

Stepping into my dark kitchen one evening after work I heard a sound I wasn’t expecting…

*squish*

*squish*? I thought. Tennis shoes on tile don’t usually make that sound. *squeak* maybe or *kerplop*—but *squish*?

I made my way across the room to flip on the light switch.

*squish*squish*squish*

That can’t be good

And it wasn’t. With the light on I could see that the kitchen was standing in water. While barely a half-inch deep (so far), standing water of any depth in one’s home is not a good situation. Not a problem on tile floors, but…

…wood floors. Please no, I prayed silently as I set out on a tour of the rest of the house.

And now for the rest of the story…

Oh, How I Lub Jesus, Because He First Lubbed Me

From “The Lizard Lounge” Series on Clay

Below is the next installment in “The Lizard Lounge Series on Clay,” articles about house painting and gardening and, lately, about bugs. Here is a link to the whole series, if you’re just tuning in. (And here’s a link that explains the whole “Lizard Lounge” bit.)

Who knew my earthly home could teach me so much about the journey toward my heavenly one…?

• • •

Philodendron bipinnatifidum. I can’t pronounce it either, but I have a host of them throughout my yard. They’re dark green, shrub-like plants with huge leaves that can grow more than 36” long and almost that wide. They’re perfect for my Plant Hardiness Zone (9B) and give a quasi-tropical feel to the grounds of the Lizard Lounge.

I planted all of them myself. At the time they were small enough to fit in the trunk of my car—now, though, they’re as big as my car. It’s fun to plant something like these philodendron and watch them grow to maturity—kind of like raising children, except philodendrons are a lot quieter and smell better.

One day, in a fit of whimsy (or insanity) I gave them all names—Phil (of course), Phillip, Philemon, Philicia, Phillo (he was Greek), Philm (he was into the arts), Phillerup (a blue collar type), Philbert (he was nuts), and Philanderer. (I had to replant him because he couldn’t keep his leaves off Philicia.)

I love my big ol’ philodendron plants. Turns out, though, I’m not the only one.

And now for the rest of the story…

Fire on my feet

From “The Lizard Lounge” Series on Clay

Below is the next installment in “The Lizard Lounge Series on Clay,” articles about house painting and gardening and things like that. Here is a link to the whole series, if you’re just tuning in. (And here’s a link that explains the whole “Lizard Lounge” bit.)

Who knew my earthly home could teach me so much about the journey toward my heavenly one…?

• • •

I’m digging a ditch in my backyard. Thought that was blog-worthy…

Actually, it will eventually be a dry creek bed, a landscape feature that uses various shapes and sizes of rocks (which I’ve started amassing) to look like, well, a dry creek bed; one that, while currently dry, gives the appearance that, at the first drop of rain, could become a rushing torrent.

For now, though, it’s pretty much just a ditch.

If you saw my backyard you would probably think, “Didn’t you think adding some grass or a patio would provide a much better return on your investment than a ditch full of rocks?”

Yes – yes, I did. But I’m in ditch mode, so judge not.

And now for the rest of the story…

Open up!

From “The Lizard Lounge” Series on Clay

Below is the next installment about do-it-yourselfing I’m calling “The Lizard Lounge Series on Clay.” Here is a link to the first one, Old Jockey Shorts, if you’re just tuning in.

Who knew my earthly home could teach me so much about the journey toward my heavenly one…?

• • •

Sliding glass patios doors – who thought these marvels of engineering up? (“marvels of engineering” – I jest.) If you have sliding doors and love them, then just stop reading right now. It’s about to get ugly.

When I moved into the Lizard Lounge, sliding glass doors were the primary method of egress from the kitchen to the back porch and, subsequently, to the carport, where the groceries typically ended their journey from the store. Now reverse that process – trunk, groceries, back porch, kitchen via heavy, stubborn sliding glass doors – and therein lies the rub. Ever try to open a heavy, stubborn sliding door with hands full of grocery bags and a watermelon? Can’t be done – at least not without cussin’.

Poor sliding door – and poor anybody who tried to open and close it. And no amount of slicky stuff squirted or sprayed in the sliding track made that chore any easier, either – all that goop just tended to gather a lot of fuzz and dirt and get all gloppy and taunt me when I tried to vacuum it out. (I used to blame the dogs for all the lint and wads of fur in the house, but now that they’re both gone and there are no fewer of those golf ball-sized balls of fluff, I realize it was me all along, with my Sasquatch-ian propensity for hirsutism. I’ll have to apologize to Rosie and Hardy when I see them in Heaven… “Kids, it was daddy – he was the one shedding.”)

And now for the rest of the story…

Old Jockey Shorts

Old Jockey Shorts

From “The Lizard Lounge” Series on Clay

It’s summer—the season for tackling long-procrastinated-on home improvement projects is in full swing here at the “Lizard Lounge.” (Follow the link to find out where that name came from… No really, I’ll wait…) And when I’m outside having a little DIY moment—painting or digging in the yard—I have a lot of time to talk to or (even better) listen to the Lord. Invariably, I end up with an idea for a blog post.

So below is the first post in what I’m calling “The Lizard Lounge Series on Clay.” Who knew my earthly home could teach me so much about the journey toward my heavenly one…?

• • •

The color was…

I stepped back and took a good long look at the color of the fresh coat of paint I had just rolled on the most visible exterior wall of my house…

  • The color I had ruminated over for weeks…
  • The color I had gotten a little test sample for and used to paint yet another 2’ x 3’ patch on the side of the house for all the world to see as they drove by wondering what manner of person lived in the color-happy, Mondrian-inspired house…
  • The color I had then spent two weeks squinting at while trying to block out the old color (and the other 2’ x 3’ sample patches) surrounding it so I could envision the house adorned in all its fresh-coat-of-paint glory…

That color – the one that was…

…wrong – totally wrong.

And now for the rest of the story…

“M” is for…

M is for

Where would we be without mothers? Biologically, of course, we wouldn’t—be, that is. But mothers have contributed a lot more to the world than just the fruits of their loins. No doubt we’ve all learned a lot from, and been blessed by, the various mothers in our lives. I know I have.

In addition to my real mother (more on that sweet thang later) I’ve had heaps of surrogate mothers in my life. (Turns out, I needed a lot of nurturing and guidance growing up.) They fed me and did my laundry while I was off at college; convinced me that opening car doors for their daughters was a sure-fire way to receive a to-go box of homemade baklava; patiently explained why we can’t wear the red stoles with our choir robes at Christmas—a liturgical calendar no-no, even though it seemed like a festive idea to me, a Baptist, who had no idea there was a liturgical calendar; and taught me to read music, use the correct fingering when playing the piano, and eat the English peas in a TV dinner without gagging.

It took a village.

And now for the rest of the story..

I’m goin’ to Disney World

From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48 NIV

When I was a senior in college, I never would have imagined that a couple of 10-year-old kids would grow up to be two of my dearest friends. At the time, that would have just been weird. But let 35 or so years go by – during which time those kids get married and have a family and do all sorts of wonderful stuff – and now it doesn’t seem weird at all.

The “kids” I have in mind are Monday and Darin Cleghorn, dear friends from North Alabama and members of the church where I grew up. Prior to being the responsible grown people they are now, though, they were just like any other kids – well, sort of. When Monday was a youngster, she wrote and illustrated a story for me about a poisonous “snak.” (You know, silent “e” is such a waste of crayon when you’re 8…) And although I was not a witness to this, I understand that Darin stole a tractor once and took it for a joy ride. (Since he was just 2 at the time and wasn’t wearing anything but a diaper, no arrests were made.)

And now for the rest of the story…

Why are you crying?

2011-10-021-jesus-is-resurrected-2400x1200

“After three days I will rise again.” Matthew 27:63 NIV

It was Friday. The day before, she had spent Passover with family and friends in Jerusalem, feasting and celebrating like hundreds of thousands of other Jews in the city. Today, however, there was no celebrating. Today, she stood huddled with several other women watching a barbaric execution.

She was at Golgotha—“the skull,” an apt name for such a foul, place of death—helpless, trying to be strong, watching as He hung there dying. When He told His followers they would have to take up their cross, she never dreamed He would be the first to set the example.

For months she had taken care of His needs and those of His disciples, using her own money and resources to support Him and His ministry. He gave her her life back; gave her new life. Just like each of us who are His followers, she owed Him everything she had.

Most of His disciples ran and hid in fear; but not her. She forced herself to watch the Light of the World hanging there like a common criminal, determined to stay until that light was extinguished.

That Friday, Mary Magdalene was a witness to Jesus’ crucifixion.

And now for the rest of the story…

It’s real

From the CLAY “Story” Series

The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2 Corinthians 4:4 NIV

In Paul’s second letter to the church at Corinth (4:4), written about 20 years after Jesus died, he warned them about unbelievers being so blinded by Satan that they were unable – or unwilling – to believe the gospel of Christ. It seems little or nothing has changed since then and the “god of this age” is no less busy today – if anything, he’s had almost 2000 years since Jesus’ message of salvation to learn what makes us tick; what will give us a false sense that all we need is ourselves; what will keep unbelievers as…unbelievers.

Even when we encounter an unsettling brush with reality…

• • •

“More coffee, hon?” Erin stuck her head through the door from the kitchen to the dining room where her husband Ryan sat reading his Bible at the table.

“Hmm? Oh, yea – thanks, sweetie.”

She topped off his cup. “Whatcha reading there?” There was that cheery tone in her voice she had begun using when she wanted to feign interest in his new life.

“First Thessalonians. My mid-week Bible group is studying Paul’s letters.”

“Yea? Sounds like fun.” She turned to take the coffee pot back to the kitchen.

And now for the rest of the story…