Monday, April 29, 2013

Letter to my Mother/ Sister in the Lord

Titus 1:9–11

He must whold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in xsound6 doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it.
10 For there are many who are insubordinate, yempty talkers and deceivers, especially those of zthe circumcision party.7 11 They must be silenced, since athey are upsetting whole families by teaching bfor shameful gain what they ought not to teach.

                                                            April 29, 2013

Dear Nan,

            I know you have a busy week this week but maybe by the end of it you will have time to read these print outs, and can comment on them.

I’m confused.  Henri Nouwen, a Catholic priest, he died I think in 1996, has many protestant pastors who are reading his books, and quoting him.    I notice that Chuck Colson's ministry--including the Breakpoint podcast I listen to--- quote Nouwen.  I sent them this website,, and asked that since he was Catholic could he lead us astray because the Catholics believe we need Jesus plus works.  There is also Chesterton, who was Catholic and many Protestants quote him.  I remember that I was advised to not date a Catholic or I might marry one.  If we are not to marry a Catholic then why would we read what Catholics have written?  I'm praying that God will lead me.  I do believe that people who acknowledge Jesus as the only begotten son of God, who died for our sins, and rose again, are Christians, even if they add works, the Virgin Mary, etc.  I found this blog and discussion.  Maybe this would be helpful.

Also, Seattle Pacific University is affiliated with the Free Methodist Church.  Next to the campus is the First Free Methodist Church.  A couple of week ago they had a conference. This man I hear on radio attended the conference.  These are the notes he took.  What do you think?

Thanks so much for any input.  I talked to my pastor and the worship leader.  The pastor sees nothing wrong with Henri Nouwen’s writings.  The worship leader sees nothing wrong with the conference at the SPU church.  I’m leaving it all up to the Lord. 


Saturday, April 27, 2013

I Hope I am no longer on the Federal "Watch List" and or the "No Fly " List

I couldn’t believe it.  I was in trouble with “the law” again!

Chris and I had just flown from Seattle to Los Angeles and from there to Tokyo.  After a nice visit with our son in a small town south of Tokyo, we boarded the airplane and flew back to Los Angeles.  After a night in Los Angeles we arrived at the airport early.  We proceeded to check in at the ticketing desk.  I handed my passport to the airline attendant and she informed me that I was on the “No Fly” list.  I was in shock, we had already flown three of our four-leg trip, all booked on the same airline.

I literally felt weak in my knees.  I requested a wheel chair.  An attendant brought one; I sat and waited until someone with more authority could come and check me out.  It could happen to anyone though, including a baby:

This was the second time I was detained at an airport.  The first time was in Miami.  Then Customs wanted us.  We had just come back into the country from Grand Cayman Island.  We were in a long line to come back into the United States.  When we arrived at the little booth the agent checked our passports with the computer and then suddenly said to the line stretching for blocks behind us—“This line is closed.  Go to the next line.”  He then said to us, “Come with me.” 

We were put into a barred area and an armed agent blocked the exit.  We sat down and waited.  Several agents across from the confinement area looked at a computer, and then looked over at us. Finally one of them came over and questioned us.  Then he said we were free to go.  Thank the Lord!

Later we wrote to the Freedom of Information act to find out why we were detained.  They just said that there were a lot of Browns in the system.

Fortunately, in both cases we were released after a senior agent checked us out.  I am glad that agents are being careful but if you haven’t gone to the bathroom before you reach the line to come back to the U.S., I would advise that you should check out the rest room before you get into the line, which I did.   But then, if you are tired and groggy from time changes and long flights, be sure to check that you don’t have a toilet seat cover hanging from your jogging suit waist band!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Here's what the older brother in the Parable of the Prodigal son should have done.

I'm in the orange.  Taken in about 1957 or 1958 when I was 14 or 15.

Here’s my take on the parable of the Prodigal son, (Luke 15-32.)  I can certainly identify with the older brother (though I'm not a male), as I was the oldest girl. I had three brothers and a sister.  As the oldest girl I was given responsibility to help my mom. (One of my brothers was older than I was by two years, but he really couldn't be counted on to do much, if anything around the house.  Maybe he was autistic or something.) Anyway, I was my mom’s helper until it slowly dawned on me that  I was invisible to my parents --at least I felt that way.

Why did I feel invisible?

While my sister and I tried to grow up in one piece, my brothers were always trying something dangerous or cracking their heads open. So that required much of the attention of my parents.  But then my sis developed a cyst on her neck when she was about nine.  I was the one to discover it.  My folks took her to the doctor and surgery was recommended.  I was left at home trying to keep my brothers from killing themselves.  A few years after that my mom came down with pneumonia.  So I had to take over preparing the meals using only what little food was in the house.  I think we only had one car at the time and my dad and older brother were the only drivers.  Neither had the time, nor felt the need to shop for groceries, or help around the house. Because of these happenings, and others, I felt I was taken for granted, or invisible to my parents. (I remember one compliment  my dad said to me one night.  All we had in the house was eggs and tomatoes.  So I made baked tomatoes stuffed with egg, and he said, “That was good what there was of it.”)

So when I think about the older brother in the parable, I picture myself holding down the fort while everyone else took all the attention.  But I didn’t become bitter like that older brother.  I refused to do that.  Instead I ran away from home when I was thirteen and my parents helped me. (See my blog on Running Away.) When I returned home after three months, everything returned to the norm and I again was the go-to girl.  (I then began telling my mom that she needed to hire a maid and she did until the maid dropped her Rex Air Vacuum down the stairs.)

But, then at fifteen I refused to babysit anymore.  If the older brother in the parable had just spoken up, as I did, I’m sure his father would have given him some attention.  Maybe the older brother was phlegmatic as I was and it was difficult for him to summon the energy to speak up.  When his brother came home he should have let go of his bitterness and gone in to the party and loved his brother.  Then he should have trusted that his father would give him everything if he would just ask. 

As for me my display of "civil disobedience” resulted in the household chores being distributed to others.  Few chores were given to my older brother as he could go through a tank of hot water washing one dish.  I give all the glory to God.

That’s my take on the Prodigal Son.  What do you think?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Running Away

Me with my 2 grandmothers and my cousins Dorothy and Janet five years later.

When I was thirteen my parents helped me to run away from home.  Being the sensitive child that I was, and living in a trailer with 2 brothers, and a sister plus my parents, and my mother to give birth at any time—I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I had been the family helper since I was 8 years old.  I was burned out at thirteen.  So with one mighty leap I was shipped off to my relatives in Wisconsin to catch a ride with them to Spokane, Washington and my grandparent’s farm.  (Riding the greyhound from Washington D.C. and changing to another bus in Chicago by myself was a miracle in itself.)

I was deposited at the farm and my vacation began.  Grandma Edson was a small woman.  She could walk beneath the low branches of her apple trees and barely tap her head.  Her hair was as white as the house she lived in, and her eyes blue bell blue, like the wildflowers sprinkled over the fields around her fifteen-acre wheat farm in eastern Washington.  She could eat a piece of toast with her coffee at breakfast and smack her lips to convey to us her enjoyment.  When she did that I wanted a piece of toast too.  (I drink coffee to this day and I blame her.)

  The covered well was just down the hill from the house and down the hill from the covered well was the acre garden.  Grandma, along with my grandfather, Uncle Beanie, and Aunty, gathered up corn, beets, carrots, and maybe some tomatoes, peas, or green beans every day from the acre truck farm, for our dinner. Grandma was an organic farmer before it was popular.  She’d plant marigolds around the garden to keep bugs away.  She’d spear stakes into the ground and place empty tin cans upside down on each one.  Early in the morning, she would take a boiling teakettle of water out, take the cans off one at a time, and pour boiling water on the unsuspecting earwigs underneath.

Grandma’s soft skin wrinkled early and she had developed a hump on her back, which was always there as long back as I could remember.  She wore round steel rim glasses.  On town days, she would don her blue dress and blue hat.  Her purse was large and black and she would always hang on to it as if she might misplace it if she put it down. 
On days when we would drive into Spokane for a picnic with other relatives, or shopping, we drove west into the sun on the way back home to the farm each evening.   From the back seat, we would hear Grandma sing in her mellow, comforting voice,

“See, the sun is sinking in the golden west.
Birds and bees and children, all have gone to rest,
And the merry streamlet, as it runs along,
With a voice of sweetness
Sings its evening song.

Cowslips, daises, violets hang their tiny heads,
All among the grasses, flowers are in their beds.
Mothers of little children, as the stars go by,
Hush them by gently singing this little lullaby.”           

 Grandma wasn’t afraid to tell me good things about myself.  She told me that I was pretty and she appreciated my politeness.  My mother tried to tell me nice things about myself but she was so busy with the other kids she didn’t always have time to think.  So Grandma was the first person that really noticed me-- other than my Aunt Ruth, (my mom’s younger sister,) who helped me put on a “show” for the wire tape recorder when I was just five.  Also, my Aunt Jeanne, (my dad’s older brother’s wife,) said that when I was playing with the cousins and the kids in her neighborhood I, one time, stood and said over and over, “I wished I could throw a rock!”  Apparently the kids in the neighborhood were driving me crazy.  She said that my cousin, Janet, younger than me, would have thrown a rock!

When my cousin, Dorothy, two months younger than me, arrived at the farm with her mom and brother, (from Fairbanks, Alaska,) we would walk along the hot dry dusty farm road the wind gently blowing the threads on my unhemmed cut off jeans.  Dorothy, as usual, had on smart shorts, which coordinated, with her matching top.  Our tanned legs and feet caused puffs of dirt to float toward Grandma’s house, which by that time of year was surrounded by stubble wheat fields. 

Uncle Beanie would escort us down the hill to sit on the bench he had built and wait for the mailman to deliver the mail to all of the boxes arranged on the old wagon wheel.  Uncle Beanie would write a message on the backs of the letters that Grandma had written to my folks. When the mailman drove up in his car he would spin the wheel and put the mail in each box.

Now that was my idea of a vacation!  Rejuvenated and appreciating my family again, I went home.  My folks bought a house.  I had a room of my own while my little brothers slept in my parent’s room or the laundry room.  I didn’t run away again until I went to college!