A New Journey

Today would have been my dad’s 104 birthday. Even after these more than 32 years since he went home to heaven those moments of a deep aching for him can still sweep over me. I wrote a tribute to him three years ago here.

In some ways he was far ahead of his time. While always courteous to woman; holding doors open, letting them go through first, etc. it wasn’t because he viewed women as weaker. His mom had been a feisty auburn with a backbone of steel who expected respect, manners, and for her boys to help out with the kitchen chores. Dad expected both of his two girls to follow our hearts even if called into non-traditional roles.

He would be pleased as punch and bursting his buttons at one of my present roles: the preacher in our small local Quaker (Friends) church.

If someone had told me a dozen years ago that I’d be a preacher I probably would have laughed. I didn’t have an inkling. Nor was it one I actively pursued.

Over a year ago I began teaching the adult Sunday School class, leading us week by week on an overview of each book in the Bible, in order. What an experience it proved to be! I found out that I loved digging, studying, praying and pulling together each lesson week by week.

Our church had been without a pastor for two years since a fire in the parsonage had rendered it inhabitable. Without the house to offer a pastor, and our small numbers, we couldn’t afford to hire pastor. As a meeting we weren’t worried; God brought in a retired husband and wife pastor team, and a woman who is a hospital chaplain. All three of them were willing to periodically preach, as did one of our previous pastors who still loved coming to preach when he was able. Between those four people and occasionally an outside guest preacher there was usually someone to preach, if not we’d have a Sunday of open, unprogrammed worship praising God and seeking to listen to the Holy Spirit. Most of all, our meeting desired God’s will for us.

A few times during this past Spring I was asked to preach, and found to my astonishment that I enjoyed it. During the long drive to Moscow in June Ed brought up the possibility that I might be called to be the preacher. And if so, we needed to free up time for me to study. He knew that I was already in the habit of waking up early in the morning to study for Sunday School and the weeks that I’d preached I’d often be up by 4am.

Ed suggested we transition from direct, online sales to wholesaling the spindles. The transition has been slow, mostly due to my not wanting to let our wonderful customers down. So many whom I’ve felt a kinship towards even though we’ve never met. I’m still working to find the best balance between being able to continue to sell direct and sell wholesale.

By mid-August I was asked to be the preacher. It’s been a wonderful time of personal growth and challenge figuring out what all this entails. I still have so much to learn! And at times the responsibility is sobering, and daunting. Almost always I feel inadequate and wonder at how it is that God has chosen to use me.

We desire to be living for God to the best that we are able. I seriously love digging into God’s word, praying and earnestly seeking the direction on where He’s leading me each week in preparing a message. It’s an honor to  equip people with knowledge of God’s Word, to an understanding of our need for Him that leads us to the place of yearning for God, to yielding to Him which bring about a relationship with the living Creator who loves each of us beyond what we can grasp on earth.

At the same time, I’m not one to shout my faith from the rooftop, to get into people’s faces. I’m not the type to stand on a street corner and preach. Oh, how that thought makes me shudder! Instead I want live my life treating people with respect, dignity, love and trying to come alongside, to understand where they’re coming from, as God wants me to. To let God’s great love draw them to Him.

I’ll not use this blog as a platform to preach, unless I’m strongly compelled by the Holy Spirit to do so. It’ll still be the place where I mainly focus on fiber stuff and the periodic meanderings of my simple life. Periodically stuff of my heart and thoughts are bound to come out here for writing is a good way of examining and making sense of thoughts.

Today I am thankful for a dad who lived his deep faith in actions more than words, a dad who encouraged me to follow my heart and who expressed complete confidence in me.
I’m thankful for the people of our meeting who have encouraged me to take on the responsibility of preaching and are giving me time, and space, to grow into the position.
I’m thankful for Ed’s valuable support.
I’m thankful that the Holy Spirit is leading us in this new journey.
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More Solstice Stuff

Looking into sunrise/sunset times has me chasing down a rabbit trails when the clock is quickly clicking to Christmas. Lene’s Dances with Wool Dec 22 post took me on an even longer jaunt trying to wrap my mind around the vast variances in sunlight/darkness around the Northern Hemisphere. (basing it only on the NH since this is where I live.)

My simple explanation of the sun rising later each morning until January 7th while it is setting a tad earlier each day has generated plenty of interest. Really, it’s fascinating stuff, as a young friend will say. The earth tips 23.5 on its axis in relationship to the sun. As it orbits around the sun, this tilt makes all the difference in the world (heehee) between what time the sun rises and sets in your latitude and longitude  and how long it may take for the days to lengthen, how quickly the time reverses in both directions. (I’m at  the latitude and longitude of 45°2′31″N   122°40′2″W)
(Taken at 10:17 am on Dec 21 , when the fog was finally lifting.)

Where Lene lives near the Arctic Circle in Finland there are the sun rises and set at the same time for 3 days: Dec 21, 22, and 23rd – which they call the Nesting Days. After which the days lengthen at both ends.  Finland is on the sunward side of the tilted planet.

Point Barrows, the northernmost town in Alaska is on the dark side of the tilt during the winter months, thus they have an even longer period of Nesting.

On Nov 21, 2011, the sun rose at 12:54pm and set at 1:38pm and there it will continue to rise and set at the same time until Jan 21, 2011! Two dark months with scarcely one and a half hours daily of the sun skimming the horizon. Once that date is hit the change is very rapid there in Point Barrow, within three days the sun will rise at 12:08 pm and set at 2:59.

Fascinating stuff!View down our road at 10:45 am yesterday morning. We had a number of errands to run and so loaded the pickup and drove from our mostly sunny small valley (due to a ridge on the east the sun actually rose yesterday at 9:14, and sank behind the southwest ridge shortly before 3:30pm)

Looking towards the Abiqua Basin, picture taken about 5 miles from our place at 11:04am.As we headed further west into the Willamette Valley the fog became denser, skimming the ground. Later we drove north to Portland and passed through areas of frozen fog (not snizzle) where the temperature never got above 33F, finally reaching sunny and warmer Portland. How varied the weather in a relatively small area!

Even in the darkest days of December there is color in our area; the varied greens of winter and red tipped blueberry plants.

Tomorrow daughter and s-i-l, Aurora and Haymaker will be coming over for an early Christmas Eve dinner followed by attending the evening service at our Friends’ church in this village. Tonight we’re heading over to Haymaker’s parent’s to celebrate our granddaughter, Gail’s birthday. I need to stop here, run to town to pick up eggs I forget to get while out and about yesterday, bake brownies to take tonight and a pecan pie for tomorrow. I’ll wait until tomorrow morning to make rolls and all the other items for the dinner.  There are still presents to be wrapped and some laundry to tend. Good times!