Monday, December 27, 2010

Why Lord, why?

While we were celebrating Christ's birth, He led another precious one Home, and our "Whys" echo across eternity . . . "and thank you for your prayers for our family,Our dear Julie went home to be with the Lord on Christmas morning. We aregrieving and heartbroken for [our son] Dan and their 4 small children. We travel to Ohio to be with them at this time. Please pray for our family. In Christ, Elaine and Loren" . . . friends in Montana. Praying over John 17 . . . and "listening" . . .

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

mental health and Christmas

Those of us who have had, are having, or may have in the future, struggles with mental health issues; depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, schizophrenia and others, should never have to feel ashamed or fear seeking help and sharing our pain. An illness that is so prevalent and touches so many should never be denied or “swept under the carpet” of cultural stigma. And, the church, of all places, should lead the way for those who need healing, but even it too often fails.

It breaks my heart to see, to know of so much pain that goes unnoticed and the lack of real help and compassion because society/culture is afraid or indifferent to it. To hear the pain in the voices of those who are able, by some grace, to come to the point of expressing that pain, to find a safe place to be themselves . . . no masks, no pretense . . . to seek healing in the love and understanding of another.

Why do we refuse to heal one another?! For Christ’s sake we should be doing as he commanded, loving one another, healing one another, easing the pain, carrying the burden that cannot be carried alone. Lord have mercy on us, sinners in need of a Savior, and yet, ignoring You! Come Lord Jesus, make all things new, restore us and bring us into Your Kingdom! Come quickly Lord, we are desperate.

In this season of celebrating Your birth, do we truly seek You? The One who came in such humble circumstances to seek and save the lost. “Perfectly” dressed up for all the exuberant and glamorous celebrations, hiding pain and brokenness. The same pain and brokenness that you desire to break through, to heal and to restore us from, to make us new creations. May this Advent truly be a beginning for so many of us who suffer, may we celebrate Immanuel as the shepherds did in humility and as ourselves . . . naked of pretense and any sense of entitlement.

O come, o come Immanuel and ransom our captive hearts . . .

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas 2010

So another year survived in the Grace and Love of a God who apparently has a “sense” of humor along with that compassionate nature?! So, in brief bulleted order are the following highlights:
 Patrick Perching Eagle Watters began his storytelling “career” in earnest, spinning tales of both Lakota and Celtic heritage.
 Patti continued to enjoy her new teaching career at Sac City College, among all the ministry things.
 May saw things really “ramp up” for our family:
 Cody graduated from EATM program at America’s Teaching Zoo in Moorpark.
 Laura (Kyle’s fiancĂ©e) graduated from med. school at UC Colorado and moved to Omaha for her four year residency in OB/GYN at U. Nebraska med. ctr.
 June saw Kyle and Laura get married at Grand Island Mansion in our own Sacramento Delta. (Yes, they would be “separated” by many miles for a few months.)
 The rest of us (PnP, Cody, and Karly & Phil) sneak off to Kauai for ten days!
 July saw Cody begin work for Pacific Animal Productions (San Diego) doing shows all over the State.
 Mid-August saw Kyle finally move out to his sweetie and wife in Omaha, while still pursuing his PhD from Stanford!
 On 8-9-10 Anthony Cayden DeFazio joined us . . . and what a delightful addition to both the Watters and DeFazios, and a gift to Mom & Dad (Karly and Phil).
 In September PnP finally answered a “call” to move to another church to serve the new pastor and congregation there, after 20+ years at our old church during which time the Lord prepared us well to “go”.
 Kyle made his successful defense of his thesis and was declared Dr. Kyle Watters, PhD astrophysics & cosmology, Stanford University!
 And we ended the year celebrating Christmas early with the entire family home . . . a rare occasion indeed!
Patti and I continue to listen for God’s direction for our lives in total trust and surrender. Including, a potential “call” to be a licensed pastor for Pat. We both continue to partner in many ways, while also doing our individual soul care (Anam Chara) things. It is an amazing season, including our temporarily “empty nest” now refilled with family, including AC, our grandson. With grateful hearts and only by Grace, PnP

11 Rules That You Won’t Learn in School About Marriage.

Rule 1: Marriage isn’t about your happiness. It’s not about you getting all your needs met through another person. Practicing self-denial and self-sacrifice, patience, understanding, and forgiveness are the fundamentals of a great marriage. If you want to be the center of the universe, then there’s a much better chance of that happening if you stay single.

Rule 2: Getting married gives a man a chance to step up and finish growing up. The best preparation for marriage for a single man is to man up now and keep on becoming the man God created him to be.

Rule 3: It’s okay to have one rookie season, but it’s not okay to repeat your rookie season. You will make rookie mistakes in your first year of marriage; the key is that you don’t continue making those same mistakes in year five, year 10, or year 20 of your marriage.

Rule 4: It takes a real man to be satisfied with and love one woman for a lifetime. And it takes a real woman to be content with and respect one man for a lifetime.

Rule 5: Love isn’t a feeling. Love is commitment. It’s time to replace the “D word”—divorce—with the “C word”—commitment. Divorce may feel like a happy solution, but it results in long-term toxic baggage. You can’t begin a marriage without commitment. You can’t sustain one without it either. A marriage that goes the distance is really hard work. If you want something that is easy and has immediate gratification, then go shopping or play a video game.

Rule 6: Online relationships with old high school or college flames, emotional affairs, sexual affairs, and cohabiting are shallow and illegitimate substitutes for the real thing. Emotional and sexual fidelity in marriage is the real thing.

Rule 7: Women spell romance R-E-L-A-T-I-O-N-S-H-I-P. Men spell romance S-E-X. If you want to speak romance to your spouse, become a student of your spouse and enroll in a lifelong “Romantic Language School,” and become fluent in your spouse’s language.

Rule 8: During courtship, opposites attract. After marriage, opposites can repel each another. You married your spouse because he/she is different. Differences are God’s gift to you to create new capacities in your life. Different isn’t wrong, it’s just different.

Rule 9: Pornography robs men of a real relationship with a real person and poisons real masculinity, replacing it with the toxic killers of shame, deceit, and isolation. Pornography siphons off a man’s drive for intimacy with his wife. Marriage is not for wimps. Accept no substitutes.

Rule 10: As a home is built, it will reflect the builder. Most couples fail to consult the Master Architect and His blueprints for building a home. Instead a man and woman marry with two sets of blueprints (his and hers). As they begin building, they discover that a home can’t be built from two very different sets of blueprints.

Rule 11: How you will be remembered has less to do with how much money you make or how much you accomplish and more with how you have loved and lived.

Dennis Rainey, Family Life

Friday, December 10, 2010

submissive clay

We are not called to be successful, but faithful . . . relax.

Further, our accomplishments mean nothing if our hearts are not inclined toward the Lord, enabling us to walk in humility.

Jeremiah 18:1-6
At the Potter’s House
1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Go down to the potter’s house, and there I will give you my message.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
5 Then the word of the LORD came to me. 6 He said, “Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?” declares the LORD. “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, Israel.
2 Corinthians 4:6-7
6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,”[a] made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.

Friday, December 3, 2010

simplicity . . . it's how He came

And so, with barely a ripple of notice, God stepped into the warm lake of humanity, without protocol and without pretention.
Where you would have expected angels, there were only flies. Where you would have expected heads of state, there were only donkeys, a few haltered cows, a nervous ball of sheep, a tethered camel, and a furtive scurry of curious barn mice. Except for Joseph, there was no one to share Mary's pain, or her joy. Yes, there were angels announcing the Savior's arrival—but only to a band of blue-collar shepherds. And yes, a magnificent star shone in the sky to mark his birthplace—but only three foreigners bothered to look up and follow it.
Thus, in the little town of Bethlehem . . . that one silent night . . . the royal birth of God's Son tiptoed quietly by ... as the world slept.
[from Intimate Moments With The Savior by Ken Gire]

We would like to have something to give, to pour out for love of Him, but we don't have even that. It seems we don't have anything.
Nothing to offer except our uselessness, and our choice to be with Him: and that is a choice that no one but Him is likely to put any value on.
[from Celtic Daily Prayer, Aidan readings, Dec. 3]

This Christmas, this Advent Season, why not reflect on the simplicity of Christ’s birth? Why not, even in the midst of the commercialism, the grand celebrations and concerts, the lights and fanfare . . . why not realize again, or for the first time, the truly ignoble and curious, but oh so sweet, birth of our Savior?

Silent night, Holy night . . .

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Two Wolves Story

The two wolves story is said to have originated with the Cherokee peoples, but is also a traditional story in many other Native American people groups. The story is most often told by a grandfather to his grandchild or grandchildren, and this is how it came to me. The wisdom and spirituality contained within is clearly from the Creator, Wakan Tanka, God. And, if the wisdom were applied to our lives the world would be very much different and beautiful.

When I was a youngster, our family always returned to northeastern Montana where my father’s family grew up. All the cousins of the eleven children of James and Eliza Watters would gather at the home in town, Nashua, or out at Uncle Arvie’s ranch. We would play, ride ponies, learn to drive farm equipment, hunt with bows and arrows and more. Grandfather would chew plug tobacco, tell stories, play his mouth harp and pass on his wisdom learned in hard times.

Inevitably, the two wolves story would come up. Many of us children were being raised in California where violence and corruption were prevalent. Yet, in Montana life seemed to be another world; people cared about each other, were kind and always helpful, even if they didn’t know you. Whether we asked the question, or Grandpa just felt the need to share, the two wolves story became important to us, and even more so as we grew into adults.

“Grandfather, why is there so much killing and cruelty in the world?” we would ask. “My children, inside each of us are two wolves who are fighting each other,” began Grandfather. “There is a dark wolf who is filled with hatred, lust, greed, evil, and selfishness. There is also a white wolf who is filled with kindness, compassion, selflessness and love. They cannot exist together, so they battle within us.” “But, Grandfather,” we ask, “Which one wins?” And Grandfather replies, “The one you feed.”

I have told this short, but powerful story many times as a parent and storyteller, and in my adult years my faith has drawn me to Bible passages which seem to speak about the two wolves story. It could almost be applied to discipleship in the sense of imitating Christ Jesus? Personally, Philippians 4:8-9 seems to be an exhortation to “feed the good wolf”?

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”

May you feed the good wolf and teach your children and grandchildren to do likewise.

Patrick Perching Eagle Watters

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

coming to God just as we are . . .

There is a story told about a Jewish farmer who, through carelessness, did not get home before sunset one Sabbath and was forced to spend the day in the field, waiting for sunset the next day before being able to return home.
Upon his return home he was met by a rather perturbed rabbi who chided him for his carelessness. Finally the rabbi asked him: 'What did you do out there all day in the field? Did you at least pray?'
The farmer answered: 'Rabbi, I am not a clever man. I don't know how to pray properly. What I did was simply to recite the alphabet all day and let God form the words for Himself.'
When we come to celebrate we bring the alphabet of our lives. If our hearts and minds are full of warmth, love, enthusiasm, song and dance, then these are the letters we bring. If they are full of tiredness, despair, blandness, pain and boredom, then those are our letters. Bring them. Spend them. Celebrate them. It is God's task to make the words!
Ronald Rolheiser

If my lips could sing as many songs
as there are waves in the sea:
if my tongue could sing as many hymns
as there are ocean billows:
if my mouth
filled the firmament with praise:
if my face
shone like the sun and moon together:
if my hands
were to hover in the sky like powerful eagles
and my feet
ran across mountains as swiftly as the deer:
all that would not be enough
to pay You fitting tribute,
O Lord my God.
Unknown author

For many years I've written under the pen name of Anon E. Moose because I've always felt the words belonged to God and not me. Both of these writings reminded me of that truth.