Saturday, August 8, 2015

EVERY PEACH HAS ITS PIT

             I could have married into the Pedernales Falls Winery up river, but did I listen to Dad, no." Jana puffed at sweat soaked blond bangs, hefted bushel basket of peaches into the back of truck. "I could have married the rich lavender farmer down the east rapids, but did I listen to Mom, nope." The former Stonewall Peach Jamboree and Rodeo Queen grunted under the weight of yet another peach basket. "And did I listen to my best friend Amy to for sure not marry that poor peach farmer smack dab in the middle, nooooo!" That last basket did not hit the truck bed lightly.

            "Be careful," Daryll warned," or my Tuetonic warrior princess will bruise the peaches." He loaded basket of peaches next to hers.

            "Bruise the peaches?  Bruise the peaches!" Jana unleashed arched right eyebrow in Viking berserker stare, grabbed and jerked Daryll off the ground into her arms.

            In her zealous embrace the squished and squirming, boot dangling Daryll managed to squeak out, "You... are... bruising the peach."

            "I'll bruise my peach if I want to," Jana matter of facted, gave Daryll one hard and long kiss.  Daryll quit squirming.  Jana sat him down on truck tail gate, had to steady him to keep him from falling over. "I see my peach is a bit fuzzy," Jana smiled at a kiss well done.

            "Yeah," Daryll croaked, "passion and lack of oxygen will do that to a fella."

            "Just exactly what are you saying, Daryll?" Jana's brain teetered on edge of... was that a compliment or a too often as usual Daryll dig?  Affection or affliction hung in precarious balance.

            "Precious Lady," fortunately Daryll's mood swing radar activated, "you take my breath away just like the day we first met."

            "Fifth grade, what a calamity," Jana giggled, "you were out of breath alright.  Those Beasley brothers were kinda kickin' the air out of your lungs for defending my honor."

            "They should never have made fun of you for being so tall," Daryll frowned.

            "And they shouldn't have skinned up my fuzzy little peach." Jana sat down beside him on tail gate.  She took Daryll under arm, hugged him to her.

            "Yep, once the scent of my blood stained my Tuetonic warrior princess' nostrils, you sorta lost it." Daryll glowed awe and admiration of his wife. "Was that a one or two week suspension Principal Haney gave you for whuppin' those two boys?"

            "Just a week that never happened, cause when their dad, Mr. Beasley, got the truth out of them, he whupped them again." Jana reminisced.

            "And the next day Mr. Beasley took them to school and told Principal Haney, then Haney whupped 'em the third time," Daryll slapped knee, chuckled, "but I guess its better, much better to be whupped now than eternally forever later.  They did sorta straighten up after that, been good neighbors ever since."

            "And we've been together ever since." Jana looked into the eyes of her man, leaned in, gave him kiss. "But we better get busy.  These peaches are not going to load themselves," She sighed, stood, was about to lift her man from tail gate...

            "Well looky here," Daryll smiled, "I think I might just see two truckloads of reinforcements driving through our orchard front gate.  Kinda looks like our wealthy neighbors, that winery fella and lavender farmer you were lamenting about earlier."

            "The Beasley brothers!" Jana retightened her pony tail, straitened her blouse. "You knew," Jana accused, "you knew they were coming, didn't cha, Daryll!"

            "I'm a peach!" Daryll grinned, admitted, "All I did... was pray."

            "Yeah, every peach has its pit." Jana arched that right eyebrow... just before she hugged him tight... and said, "That's why I married you, Daryll, because the heart of my little peach is the seed of Jesus."

            In silence the Beasley brothers and their families gathered round Jana and Daryll.  And as all, as one, gazed out upon the hills and hills and hills of ripe peach laden trees, Daryll quoted Jesus: "The harvest truly is great, but the laborers few: pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth laborers into his harvest." (Luke 10:2 KJ)              

Saturday, July 11, 2015

MOUNT WHATEVEREST

            "Beauty beyond measure," in the sweltering heat of the beach, his tongue licked peak of chocolate and vanilla double scoop ice cream.  Tad turned, leaned back against boardwalk vending counter, saw her sitting neath table umbrella. "Beauty beyond measure," he took second lick.

            "Pretty for sure," he thought, "and unique, yet classic, even modest, like an old movie." Tad breathed in the enchantment of her perfect oval face, a face in contrast with the dark sunglasses that hid her eyes, a face near as pale as the white scarf that swaddled it.  His eyes drifted with breeze, flowed with and thru her white chiffon jacket to the light lime top and peach tinted shorts beneath. "Modesty and beauty amid the land of the bikini..." Tad's thoughts gave way to unthinking magnetism, magnetism that drew him, pulled him up from leaning on counter, propelled him to the edge... of her table.

            And there Tad stood, not noticing the cool stickiness of chocolate and vanilla dribble, dribbling down right hand.  Nor had she noticed him, her gaze fastened on cell phone screen, her pink lips repeating disenchantment, "Whatever!" She poked phone screen. "Whatever." She poked it again. "Whateverest..." A tear peaked from under dark shades rim.  She wept.

            "You need a lick?" Tad wished he had phrased that a tad better.

            "What?" Her weeping abruptly ceased, gave way to blush.

            "Ice cream," Tad offered, extended cone, "it'll make ya feel better."

            The blush of anger faded from her face.  She wrestled with the smile tugging at the corners of her lips, but... "He's not bad looking," texted cross her mind's smart phone screen, listed inventory, "sandy hair, green eyes, tan, fit, and bearing gifts." She removed dark shades; her green eyes met his.

            "Ice cream is good for the soul," Tad offered again.

            "My soul?" She took his hand.  She licked chocolate, licked lips, took a bite.  Tad sat down beside her.  She did not let go his hand.  "My soul," she repeated between nibbles. The tears returned.

            "Was it sad news," Tad asked, "sad news on the phone?"

            "More bad than sad," she answered, took bite of chocolate with a tad of vanilla below, added, "more mean than anything.  Oh, that vanilla mixed in there is good." Still holding his hand, she took another nibble, added, "Just frenemies morphing into the bullies they are.  This is the best ice cream." She took bite, confessed, "They said Dwindaline is a fataline..." Ice cream squished from between her lips, dribbled down her chin. "Dwindaline the Fataline!" She wailed.

            "So you are Dwindaline." With free left hand Tad retrieved napkin from table, dabbed ice cream from her chin. "I'm Tad... by the way."

            "Dwindeeeeee!" Dwindaline cried a bit more, managed to sniffle out, "My friends call me Dwindy.  At least I thought they were my friends." She choked out.

            "Dwindy is a pretty name." Tad dabbed tears from her cheeks, wiped her nose.

            "I can weigh whatever you want me to." Dwindy searched Tad's face.

            "Weight is only a measure." Tad smiled, laid before her his heart, "You are beauty beyond measure, Miss Dwindy."

            "But meanies judge by weight?" Dwindy half stated, half asked.

            "Whatever is more: the worth of weight, or the weight of worth; the measure, or that measured." Tad could not take his eyes off of her, as he weighed in, "Good health, both physical and even more so spiritual, is the Whateverest weight of worth."

            Dwindy could not let go his hand, trembling, she asked, "Tad, who are you?"

            "Just a Tad... by the way, who is honored to even ask you..."

            That very Sunday night, Dwindy still held Tad's hand, and his arm too, as they entered by the Way... the Door... attended Church together... the Whateverest of all beginning...

            P.S. After Church they joyfully ate at an ice cream social in the back yard of the Good Shepherd.

                                                      Revelation 19:7-9
                

                         

Saturday, June 13, 2015

REVENGE OF THE GOURDS

            "This sounds easy," Kerrie Sue Cucco encouraged her cooking challenged self, while reading cookbook. "I knew I bought that spaghetti squash yesterday for some reason." From toes to nose she vibrated newlywed enthusiasm.

            As in the baking plan, Kerrie Sue set forth with gourd on baking pan, but to open the oven door she let go with one hand.  The hard as a rock spaghetti squash promptly rolled off and, "Ouch, ouch, owwee," squashed her big toe.

            After the dance of the newly lame and in pain, Kerrie braced herself against counter top and scanned the kitchen floor for gourd escapee.  She spied it lurking under table in kitchen nook. "You filthy stinking psycho gourd! I'm going to kick..." she caught herself, "I will not cuss... I will not cuss," Kerrie swore, as she hobbled on left heel with throbbing toe pointing the way.  At table she squatted, rolled psycho squash toward her, gathered it in arms, stood... smashed head under table, "No cussing, no cussing!" All the way back to the oven that phrase took on new meaning.

            "This time I put the baking pan in the oven first." Kerrie then hoisted hefty gourd into oven. "An hour at 375 degrees might just adjust the attitude of Mr. Psycho Gourd." She closed oven door, growled, "Burn Baby Burn!"

            Approximately 37.5 minutes later on the other side of kitchen island, Kerrie reclined in family room chair, left foot propped up on ottoman, big toe draped in frozen black eyed pea package. The toe had almost calmed down, when she said to self, "For some reason I feel like I'm forgetting something.  Didn't the recipe say to be sure to cut the gourd in half or poke holes in it before baking... oh no."

            Kaaaaa-blooey!! Psycho gourd explosion blew open oven door, scattering debris and knocking bottle of wine from kitchen island to hard tile floor.  It was a special bottle of wine that Kerrie had bought to celebrate their first home cooked meal together.  And so, there poor Kerrie Sue sat, a tad too quietly, as left eyelid drooped to half mast and face birthed tic of spasm.

            Two hours twenty-three minutes later of cleaning-up gourd parts and wine and a quick trip to Local Yokels Market to purchase yet another potential bomb, one determined new wife tried it again. This time she did not forget, "Poke holes," Kerrie said through clinched teeth. Her face spasmed as she raised the blade, its steel flashing reflection in the half mast eye. "Die... Die... You stupid..." Kerrie plunged the knife at a way too hard rind of gourd.  The blade deflected.  Her grip slipped.  Her hand slid down upon sharp blade edge... "Ouch, ouch, owwweeeeee!"

           "No cussing, no cussing, no..." she chanted, but her blood shot eyes and facial tic concealed not Kerrie Sue wrath.  Her towel wrapped hand now gripped ice pick, and into wayward gourd multiple holes were stabbed; each puncture punctuated with tennis serve grunt.  All without cussing of course.

            Thus the unholy, now holey gourd was subdued and shoved in oven.  And while it baked, one persistent Kerrie Sue prepared just a few other ingredients for her first ever husband pleasing artichoke spinach spaghetti squash boat: 3 minced garlic cloves, 3 ounces cream cheese, a load of grated parmesan, another load of mozzarella, 3 cups chopped baby spinach, one overly full cup of canned artichoke hearts, fresh parsley, sea salt, pepper and of course a bit of extra virgin newlywed olive oil.

            One and a half hours later, viola: there the beautiful Kerrie sat at table, her makeup flawless, her dark hair down low, her throbbing big toe soaking in warm magnesium salt water, her injured hand bandaged and elevated.  But she sat alone, as the sun set through kitchen nook window, the food on table growing cold, matching her thoughts of worry. "Why did David not answer my calls?  Is he hurt?  Is he with an old girlfriend?  Is he with a new woman?  How did this day spiral into such an abyss? And that's it.  I am complaining.  I didn't cuss, but I am worrying; I didn't cuss, but I did fuss; when what I should have done from the beginning is pray to and praise Our Heavenly Father in Jesus name." And Kerrie Sue bowed her head... And Kerrie prayed... And a great calm enveloped her...

            No more than twenty minutes passed.  David found his precious wife with eyes closed, head still bowed.  He kissed her temple through her coconut soft and scented hair. He took her bandaged hand in his, whispered, "Looks like you might just have had a tad worse day than mine."

            Kerrie reached up with her one good hand, cupped his ear and nape of neck, confided, "The worst was not hearing your voice all day.  Did something happen to your phone?"

            "Well, first let me thank you again for blessing me yesterday with a new smart phone.  Secondly, yes, I should have opted for that armored case, we discussed."

            "What happened?" Kerrie saw the disappointment etched in David's face.

            "Going," David slid into chair next Kerrie, "going to work, I stopped at the market to hunt and gather a few snacks.  I even opted for the health conscious organic fruit section.  But on the way thru the veggie aisle I spied a bright shiny George Washington on the floor.  I braced my self on a display of some kinda gourds."

            "Oh no," Kerrie knew that was not good.

            "Oh yes," David continued, "I bent over to pick up the quarter, the phone fell out of my shirt pocket on to concrete floor, and the gourd display dislodged and rained avalanche down upon it."

            "No doubt the gourds had to be spaghetti squash." Kerrie giggled.

            "How did you know?" David smiled at her reaction.

            "Better yet," Kerrie interrupted his thoughts, "you tell me why my brand new husband is late for our very first home cooked meal?" Kerrie giggled again, added, "Did the gourds get you?"

            "Again, how did you know?" David truly wondered, as he answered her, "Well, after work, I wanted to be here early so I took the FM 616 short cut.  Naturally, a turtle could have outrun the 18 wheeler in front of me.  And joy of joys, or I should say gourd of gourds, the trailer came loose from semi, smacked down hard on the pavement, ruptured and spewed forth gourd Armageddon." David paused, a bit confused by the amused look and chuckles of Kerrie Sue.

            "Continue," Kerrie smirked.

            Gourds everywhere!  All over and up and down the road!  Zillions of them!  And no way around!" David almost lost his breath.

            "I might just know what happened next." Kerrie smiled.

            "It was like a great wind parted the gourds," David continued, "rolled them to the road sides, filled the ditches... and yet, there was such, such a..."

            "Great calm..." and Kerrie smiled...

         
             Pray more... fuss less...

            1st Thessalonians 5:16-17 and James 4:8

            For an infinitely more awesome and true story of Biblical proportions, please see Jesus in action: Matthew 8:23-27.                                    

                             


                     -

Monday, June 1, 2015

I NEVER PROMISED YOU A HERB GARDEN

            "Every town has got one," apron clad proprietress Sally Lunn hissed at headlights peeking through Buttermilk Donuts store front window.

            "Oh, he's not so bad," sporting croissant moon grin, cashier Madeleine Olla spoke up.

            "Get a grip, before reality gets a grip on you, Maddi.  You are out of your mind dating that, that pig in a blanket, Herbert Garden." Sally shuddered, rubbed goose bumps from flesh of forearm.

            But Herbie is so cute," Maddi protested.

            "Yeah, Herb sorta is the kimchi of cute," Sally muttered.

            "Don't be a sauerkraut Sally," Maddi pouted.

            "Just looking out for my favorite niece." Under arm, Sally hugged Maddi, let out a hearty, "Humphhh," in the direction of Herb Garden as he stepped out vehicle onto parking lot tar. "What man would drive an old butchered up van?" Sally shook head.

            "Herbie cutting torched it behind front seat and added a wooden bed.  He calls it his eco-truck.  Creative isn't it?" Maddi admired.

            "That's about as creative as onion fudge.  And look at what he is wearing, stained overalls.  Now that's a fashion statement!" With pinch of leaven, Sally added, "Maddi, you have wasted over a year dating nothing more than a handyman."

            "Never judge an Herb Garden by his overalls," Maddi cooled Sally Lunn oven. "Herbie is Christian and uses his skills most every day to help the widows, children and poor of our town."

            "Poor being the key word.  How Herb even has enough money to buy coffee and a donut, I'll never know." Sally fretted.

            As Sally gritted teeth, Herb strode in, sallied up to Sally and Maddi at counter, tipped paint spattered cap, said, "Sweet morning to not one but two scrumptious donut gals."

            "If only you knew," Sally gave sourdough rise.

            From under counter, Maddi popped out white paper bag donut half dozen and coffee thermos. "Your usual, Mr. Herbie." She leaned over counter, her sweet smile interrupted with kiss of Herb.
      
            Herb let loose Maddi lips, grabbed donuts and coffee, headed for front door, over shoulder reminded, "See ya at two o'clock quitting time."

            "Now I see how he affords my donuts... and my coffee," Sally Lunn baked.

            "Now Aunt Sally, I always pay the till for Herbie, because I know the money he saves goes to help those in need." As Maddi watched eco-truck lights back out, turn and leave parking lot, she also shared, "I finally get to see Herb's home sweet home this afternoon."

            "That log shack up on the ridge?  Good luck it doesn't cave in and fall over the edge.  But then again you get what you date; poor handyman equals... poor house.  Wake up and smell the poverty, Maddi." Sally warned.

            "Icing without cake... is but riches without soul..." Maddi hugged Aunt Sally.

            An Aunt Sally who worried out loud, "I fear the bacon is just about to hit the frying pan.  There is just something a tad strange bout old Herbie."

            Two o'clock came, and two o'clock went up a winding gravel trail; and as eco-truck climbed so did the anticipation of sweethearts side by side inside, until...

            "A... one room... cabin?" Standing in a rocky front yard punctuated with prickly pear cactus, Maddi was a wee more than a bit underwhelmed that the stone chimney overwhelmed the tiny log cabin and front porch.

            "Ah, but are the least of true homes, not homes of mansion?" Even more than profound, Herbie teased..

            "It's okay, Herbie." Maddi hugged his arm. "Mansions are of the heart."

            And up the steps, and on to the porch, and through weather beaten cedar plank door, the two entered hand in hand, stood upon cabin stone floor. "Cozy," Maddi offered, as she studied every bare log of wall, each wood brace of roof, the native stone of fireplace hearth, the hanging cast iron pots, the cupboards, the rustic wood cot, the total lack of electricity, and no running water.

            "Cozy," Herb interrupted her thoughts

            "Cozy," Maddi repeated, punched Herb in the the same arm she clung to. "Now, funny man, where do you really live?"

            "What?" With smile Herb fained, "What makes you think I don't live here?"

            "Because you never stink," Maddi giggled, added, "no bathroom."

            "Hey, is that not an antique wash stand, basin and ewer by yon back window?" Herb offered proof.

            "Why yes, yes it is; and a very dry and dusty wash stand, basin and ewer they are." Maddi gave wide eyed the jig is up.

             "Quite observant for a donut girl." He pulled her to him, caressed her neck with his nose all the way up to ear, whispered, "Oh how I love the fresh baked aroma of my Donut Girl." So followed the plant of Herb Garden kiss.

            "So where?" Out of corner of kiss cornered lips, Maddi muttered, "Where do you really live?"

            "There," Herb sort of pointed with nose to near log wall.

            Out of corner of eye, Maddi starred hard, reached out, pushed.  A fist sized portion of log sank in.  Broad hidden door slid open.  Herb stumbled as Maddi took off, dragging him with her into...

            "This is no bathroom!" Maddi blinked, "Its an elevator... with lights."

            "I got a bit tired of the manual chain hoist to your left and installed electric controls.  Pretty nifty, eh?" Herb was not above admiring his own handy work.

            "Down, please!" Maddi squealed in anticipation.

            Herb pushed button, teased, "Descent of Donut Girl into dungeon below.  BwaaaHaHa, BwaaaHaHa, Bwaa-erk!" Donut Girl elbow interrupted Herb ribs.

            "You got some explaining to do, Mr. Herb," Maddi demanded.  As elevator settled to floor, Maddi eyes saw, "The light, under ground  sunlight! Everywhere, the sunlight is so bright!"

            "Takes a while for the eyes to adjust, doesn't it?" Herb steadied her.

            "Drawing tables, plans, computers, printers! My Herbie is an architect?"

            "Guilty." Herb grinned.

            "But sunlight? Under ground?" Arms down, palms up, as a moth to flame the light drew her from the arms of Herb to the... "Windows,.. oh my!" She gasped. "How high up are we?" The majesty of the river valley straight below swept her heart away, almost as much as her equilibrium.

            "Roughly, I'd say it is about 399.33 feet or so from your feet to valley floor." Herb had surveyed. "But if you really want to see something, look to your left."

            As wide as Maddi's eyes were, they grew wider, "A city, an underground city?" In near trance Maddi's feet felt as if floating toward...

            "Not exactly under ground, nor a city." Herb explained, "Pueblo is the Indian term. In this case a town of cliff dwellers, who lived in these adobe buildings centuries ago."

            "Wow, but how," Maddi wondered, "how many people have seen this?"

            Of the living only one, until a minute ago, now two." Herb took her hand, "This alcove simply is not visible from any place, any angle it faces.

            "But who found it and built the cabin, obviously over the entrance?" Maddi asked.

            "The who found it, according to my late Dad, was my great grand father's horse Nugget.  Seems old Nugget stepped into the camouflaged entrance and near broke a leg with great grandpa Eden Garden in saddle."

            Pondering all these things in her heart, Maddi returned to the windows; and gazing out into the lush valley below, she felt familiar nose and lips warm her neck,  She smiled, "I've said it once, I'll say it again, you just can't judge an Herb Garden by his overalls."

            Standing behind her, Herb gathered her round waist with arm and hand. With other he retrieved from pocket a certain gold and diamond circle.  Into her ear his warm breath waft sacred whisper, "Until now, I never promised you an Herb Garden... Maddi, will you..."

            Bright sparkle drew the eyes of Maddi down to the hand of her Christian man. And without turning Maddi answered, "To never end... my Herb Garden shall I attend."

         

            Isaiah 58:10-11; John 4:14 & 8:12; John 10:9-10          

         

         

         

         

               
                         

Monday, May 11, 2015

WATERY WEATHERED WISPY WINK

            Bleak black blank blink... watery weathered wispy wink... nothing out... nothing in... bleak black blank blink... watery weathered wispy wink...

            Too unwell Cheryl knew that too pale look: the lull before the storm, the receding tide before tsunami, the rumble before...

            Mount Tim spewed lava salad, grabbed water glass, rinsed and in near panic searched restaurant table, then floor, then table again, grabbed salad bowl and spit.  As he repeated the rinsing, a lady at nearby table gagged; her husband glared.

            Elbow on table, Cheryl clutched forehead in palm, sighed, "Not again."

            "Onions," Tim stared into salad, picked at it with fork, exposed dreaded veggie.

            "Tim," Cheryl warned.

            "Onions in the salad," Tim's pale face lightly flushed.

            "People are watching," Cheryl breathed under breath.

            "Can they not get an order right?" His face grew redder.

            Cheryl reached across table, held his hand.

            "They tried to kill me!  Which part of no onions, I am allergic to onions, please make sure no onions touch my food, do people not understand?" Tim rinsed mouth and spit again.  The salad bowl overflowed onto table.  Tim weakly choked out, "Doctor."

            "Oh alas, forsooth and woe is me, Tim.  Just shut up.  Your prima donna has merged with your drama queen." Cheryl raised eyebrow.

            Tim shut it, but grew even redder in the face, like an over ripe tomato about to burst in blazing mid-day sun.

            "I am sick of your hypochondria induced anger.  You need a doctor alright, a psychiatrist!" Cheryl flared a little anger of her own.

            The eerily silent face of Tim morphed from red to purple, his eyes crossed, he slumped forward at increasing velocity, until viola: ker-splatting face into onion laced salad bowl and plowing tsunami of water logged lettuce, tomato, cucumber and onion toward dress and wincing face of Cheryl.

            "Tim! You pig! You have embarrassed me for the last time!"  Cheryl would have made a screaming banshee proud.

            ...A tad later, sitting in the St. Patrick Hospital E.R. waiting room, Cheryl found no solace from the fact that she would never again be embarrassed by her husband.  Sat there too unwell with a too pale look... bleak black blank blink... watery weathered wispy wink...


            Postscript: Until it strikes too close to home, it is often hard for us, who do not suffer allergy or other illness, to relate to those who do.  At the least we should not criticize, belittle, nor make light of.  Perhaps we might even protect and love instead; as in speak blessings: Proverbs 16:24 KJ, "Pleasant words are as an honey comb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones."    

                         

                   


Friday, April 24, 2015

NAUGHTY FIGS

                "No wonder I couldn't find it," Adam Figg feigned aha moment, plucked favorite coffee mug from cupboard. "Since when did we start putting things up where they are supposed to be?" He teased.

                "If snide boy wants breakfast, he should not criticize the cook." Eva Figg arched left eyebrow in direction of pestering husband.

                Pestering husband smiled, slinked up behind Eva as she flipped eggs in mid scramble.   Round her rounding tummy went gentle hand, with other he caressed her long brunette hair to side, exposing freckled nape of neck, and he kissed, and he whispered, "How do you smell so good in the morning?" So began the usual Figg family dance, that had led to a whole lot a little Figgs.

                The full lips of Eva Figg slightly parted, sighed familiar sigh...

                "Daddy," little Ruthie tugged his pant leg, "Daddy leave mommy alone, so she can cook me breakfast.  I'm hungry!" Came the all too usual Figg family dance interruption...

                ...Not long after, Daddy at breakfast table had just, "Amened," the morning prayer, and serving platters were passed around...

                Did little Ruthie ask, "Daddy can you please jelly my biscuit?"

                Daddy looked down the table.  Eva had not the jar of fig preserves.  Neither did Matt, Mark, Luke, nor John, nor did Moses, nor Elijah, nor Isaiah, nor Jeremiah at end of ta... "Jeremiah, what is that hiding behind your glass of milk?"

                Jeremiah answered with oops wide eyed look, then matter-of-facted, "Well, it used to be a jar of fig preserves." He held empty jar up for Dad's inspection. He smiled, offered, "But for Little Sis, I'll sure fetch another jar from the pantry."

                In moments, slathering fig preserves on Ruthie's biscuit, Daddy Adam stirred reflection, "In the Bible, what were the contents of the two baskets, that the LORD set before the prophet Jeremiah at the temple?"

                And Jeremiah, the youngest of the brothers stands again, thrusts forth index finger and recites as if it were written on the wall, "Jeremiah 24:2 KJ, 'One basket had very good figs, even like figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.'"

                Dad asks, "What does that mean?"

                The children grew quiet.

                Eva cued, "Could it be that the naughty figs represent folks who hide from the washing and refining of our Creator?"

                "They reject and avoid fulfilling God's purpose for them," Moses shook head.

                "They fall to the ground and rot." Elijah sighed.

                "But the good figs," little Ruthie took delicious bite of fig preserve laden biscuit, "the good figs," she chewed, swallowed, took gulp of cool milk, "the good figs are gathered, washed, cooked in Mommy's pot, get lots a sugar on 'em, and are sealed in jars, so I can eat 'em now!"

                Good figs... have God purpose." Luke smiled.

                God refines us to be good figs... because he loves us," John added joy.

                "But no matter how good figs are," Eva enlightened, "they are never washed clean enough nor refined pure enough for God in heaven, until washed and purified by his son, Jesus.  For by believing in Jesus or rejecting Jesus, figs are either... preserved forever... or wither away..."

                "And who are the Jesus washed and refined good figs?" Daddy Adam asked.

                "Children of God!" All the little Figgs sang out.

                "Believing is... be-living..." Little Ruthie squealed.

                 John 3:16-18; Romans 3:23; 6:23; 5:8; 10:9


Post Script: If any naughty figs have fallen to the ground in your back yard, please direct them to the B-I-B-L-E and nearest Christian Church.  (For a fuller explanation of the washing and refining process, please read "The Fullers Soap," in this blog's March 2013 menu.)                  

Saturday, March 28, 2015

HEAR THE OLIVE SCREAM

                "Never fails," Kaffee mused, "always got to be at least one escapee in the bunch." Helplessly she watched errant olive roll across gray marbled counter top to edge, titter a tad, then plunge screaming toward red tile floor below. "AAAaaaahh!" Kaffee mocked, for no way could she save it from perilous plummet without spilling and scattering the tablespoon full of other olives in hand.

                "Just one of making dolmas little mishaps," Kaffee matter of facted as she dumped spoonful of olives into bowl next to knife and cutting board, the ill-fate of non escapee olives.  The Mediterranean skin tone of her arm and hand nearly matched that of the doomed olive, that she reached down to recapture; but orange claw and paw beat her to it, slapped tan green olive across red tile floor.

                "Duff, you silly cat, bring that olive back to me this instant!" Kaffee laughed.  As the olive rolled, Duff chased then swatted, belly scooted and slid, til round corner of kitchen island.

                "From cutting board to cat attack, that poor olive just can't win," Kaffee smirked.  Then as oft the habit, she tilted and turned her head, flicked long dark hair from bosom to back.  She returned attention to food prep plan. "Let's see, in the mixing bowl already added we have: sauteed ground lamb with herbs, boiled rice, dill, mint, pepper, sea salt, lemon, olive oil, and soon to be smidgeon or two of diced ripe olives."

                Kaffee sliced, she diced, she added olives, she stirred, sat down bowl to left of cutting board... "Let the dolma stuffin' begin." She smiled, set plate of palm sized grape leaves to the right of cutting board, selected top grape leaf, tested texture. "Parboiled to perfection, pliable but not too soft, just right to plop the mix onto and roll without tearing." And on the cutting board she laid leaf out, dolloped on the mixing bowl mix and rolled then tucked in the ends, rolled and tucked, rolled and tucked until... there a tight little package of gastronomical delight lay, the dolma. "One down, and only about a hundred or so to go." Kaffee sighed.

                And that night with dolma platter in hand, Kaffee did go to a mixer of the human kind, sponsored by lifelong protector and older sister, Alyx.  Alyx, who coaxed little sis, "Kaffee, stop hugging the snack table and find a manly arm to hug."

                "Oh, I've got plenty of time for that," Kaffee mildly protested. "The night is young," she added wisp of wist.

                "But..." under arm Alyx gathered Kaffee to side, "but some folks are entering that stale bread stage, just before turning moldy."

                "I am only thirty-two." Up and side-ways Kaffee's eyes mirrored into sister's.

                "Exactly!" Alyx nodded, then added, "Just sayin', you're not quite swimming up the rapids to spawn for the very last time, but those rocks and boulders are taking a toll..."

                "Get away from me!" Kaffee growled, "I am not a dying fish."

                "OK," Alyx pulled arm away. "Sorry, I ruffled your scales."

                "Ruffled my scales?" Kaffee burst out laughter in spite of hurt feelings.

                "That's the spirit, old girl.  Now swim out and find a fellow scaley man to share it with." Alyx fled before getting punched in the arm, a well remembered to avoid childhood Kaffee coping mechanism.

                Kaffee took deep breath, unclenched fist, let go ire mixed giggles, "That's my sis." She shrugged, lamented thought, "Not like I don't pray every night for a God fearing man to take my hand."

                Twas then that Kaffee activated yet another all too familiar coping mechanism... reached for food... clutched a pimento stuffed olive twixt index finger and thumb. "How long," Kaffee sighed, raised olive to eye level inches from nose, contemplated, "how long before my olive skin begins to sag, can no longer pushin-z-out zee baby?" She squished the olive just enough to make pimento baby pooch out before the whole olive squirted out of fingers onto table top and... "Roll baby roll," Kaffee accepted olive fate.  She watched it roll to table edge, titter a tad, then plunge screaming toward floor below, "AAAaaaahh!" Kaffee mocked.  Yet was it reflex or hope that her hand shot out to save olive from perilous babyless plight...

                ...No olive did Kaffee catch... but the hand of a man who rescued olive in the palm of his hand...  A gentle God fearing man, who said, "Night after night have I prayed to find you..."

                                                     Psalms 128:1-4