Critters of the Suburbs

Last week, after we completed our move from Estes Park to the suburbs, I placed one of my geraniums pots on the front door stoop. It looked so cheery there with its bright red blooms and healthy green foliage. I got out the electric hedger—the one I haven’t used since our southern California days—and trimmed a hedge and pruned an overgrown rose bush. Bees buzzed nearby. I brushed a strand of spider web from my forehead.A large red squirrel scrabbled up and down the maple tree nearby.

A large fly somehow got into the house and made a racket until we finally managed to hunt it down with a fly swatter. A cricket got into the family room and chirped until I found his hiding place. I killed a large spider on the wall next to the curtains.

On Friday it snowed, so I rescued the potted geranium and brought it inside to defrost. That afternoon, I decided to prune the same geranium. As always I forgot to wear pruning gloves. It’s just a little plant, I told myself. Soon, the plant was shorn. I just had a couple more branches to remove. Something tickled my hand and when I looked, there was this enormous garden spider creeping across the back of my hand. I let out a shriek like Brunnhilde from a Wagnerian opera. The spider dropped off and disappeared back inside the foliage.

She re-emerged a few minutes later and I got her. But I’m slow to learn. With ungloved hand, I started to clear the clippings. Another large spider—this one looked truly dangerous— ran out onto the kitchen floor. Another Brunnhilde shriek.

Then I had to laugh when the thought occurred to me that we had to move from the Rocky Mountain wilderness to experience the closeness of creepy critters again.

In the mountains, the creepy crawlies die off pretty quickly.

But in the warm, sheltered corners of our suburban houses, bugs thrive. Under the well-watered leaves of our hedges and shrubs, spiders weave and watch.

I thought, isn’t that kind of like our spiritual lives, too? In places of obvious danger, we are vigilant. But in places where we think there is little threat, we relax and fail to guard against poisonous spiders, noisy crickets, and filthy flies.

Looks can be deceiving. The “suburbs” often contain more dangers than the rustic roads of the mountains.

Keep an eye out!

 

God is Indeed a Father

You’d think that a hundred mile move wouldn’t prove challenging.

But due to the terrible flooding in Estes Park and the highway closures, our move has eaten gas, lots of time, and our patience.

I have been off line for way more time than I’d originally envisioned, and I apologize to you, my faithful readers.

Some early observations about our flooding situation and our move:

  1. I’m not used to being on the receiving end of help, and I don’t like the fact that it makes me uncomfortable.
  2. I do rather well during a stressful event, but suffer mental paralysis afterward for at least a week.
  3. I am increasingly aware of how much more physically frail I’ve become since our last move.
  4. My husband is my hero.
  5. My Lord has proven Himself faithful to provide, to protect, and to make His presence known.

This last point, about the Lord and His faithfulness: next time you go through some challenging situation, allow yourself to be alert and watchful for all the things He does to show Himself a Father to you. It’s rather amazing.

Praise Him even when things look bleak. Because He always….always comes through. His provision may not look the way you envisioned it. His presence may feel different, according to the need of the moment. His protection may be physical, emotional, financial.

Your worshipful response, praise, is a demonstration of your faith in the Lord. It honors Him and pleases Him.

It says, “Things look bad right now, but I know that You, Lord, love me and care for me, and that You’re going to protect and provide for me. I trust You for the way You’re going to show Yourself my Father.”

“God’s there, listening for all who pray, for all who pray and mean it. He does what’s best for those who fear Him—hears them call out and saves them.” (Psalm 145, The Message)

The Flood

I haven’t been blogging for an entire week.

Because of the flood.

Last Wednesday ( Sept 11) night and all day Thursday, the rain fell.

Not a nice comforting rain that makes you want to curl up on the couch with a blanket and a cup of tea.

No. This rain fell like Noah’s ark rain. We didn’t know in those early morning hours the devastation that was occurring all around us.

Bruce and I had planned to leave early on Thursday morning to drive to Indianapolis for the big writer’s conference. We took our usual route to get onto Highway 36, the one that goes down to Lyons and then Longmont.

But Fish Creek had overflown and was raging down the road. We turned around and detoured through town. Again we were stopped, this time by the flashing lights of patrol cars. A police man—who’d been up all night and looked exhausted— said that we should go home and wait out the storm.

We had one more option to try. And we didn’t tell the policeman. We knew the canyon part of Highway 7 was under water, but the upper part might still be okay.

We took that route—just beginning to show damage— all the way down to Interstate 70 and made a wide arc around Denver to escape into Kansas.

Our kids texted us often to give us updates on the horrors of the flood. So when we returned from Indianapolis four days later we kind of figured Estes would be bad.

Officials are telling us that the town’s sewage system is destroyed. They’d be happy if lots of us would leave town and stay elsewhere.

All three highways out of Estes are destroyed. Who knows how long that will take to rebuild?

The town’s one supermarket was bought out of food and supplies.

Fuel for vehicles was gone.

The folks in Pine Wood Springs are stranded, as are many Estes residents who live above the areas taken over by sewage-filled rivers.

Truly a disaster.

And on a personal note, our basement is flooded.

Of course, the devastation is not confined to Estes. It has brought untold damage to Front Range communities, and is making its way farther east toward Nebraska.

As with all weather calamities, we can’t help but wonder why God allows these things to happen.

And yet, through the days of rain, mudslides, destroyed homes, people have grouped and collected clothing and supplies to donate to those stricken. Others have opened their homes. Prayers have gone out. Workers and volunteers have shown up to start the repairs.

In these acts of mercy, God shows His presence and His unfailing love.

 

 

 

 

 

A Simple Move?

Our beautiful Estes Park house has sold. We’re packing up out things for a move down to south Denver.

We’ve ordered boxes and wrapping sheets, bubble wrap, tape.

We’ve made all the necessary small repairs, spackled all the holes where our family photos once hung, reserved a moving truck.

I was thinking the other day how complicated it is nowadays to move.

Wouldn’t it be great to just pull up stakes—literally—like Abraham and move on out?

But then I opened to Genesis and read about how wealthy Abraham was. Wealth in those ancient days was measured in livestock, of which Abraham had plenty.

It wasn’t a simple affair to move. Abraham had to consider the needs of the household members: wife, children, servants, tents and supplies.

He also had to consider how to move thousands of animals to places along the way where there was food and water and shelter. Someone had to go on ahead and scout appropriate areas. And Abraham would have had to get permission to move his herds and people across someone else’s land.

There were tribal laws to obey, treaties to make, tolls to pay. And his servants and hired workers would also have had to be able to defend themselves in case some hostile tribe decided to attack.

There were no Marriotts along the way. No comfy beds and clean bathrooms where Sarah could shower away the day’s dusty, dirty, sun-scorching move.

What faith on Abraham’s part to make such a monumental move.

But the Netherton move is also a move of faith. We do not know the people in our new neighborhood. We haven’t yet found a new church. We’ll be renting for at least a year. That will feel strange. Bruce won’t be telecommuting anymore. We’ll both have to get used to his commute to work.

And we’ll miss our dear friends at church and our neighbors.

I’m praying that our move turns out to be a wonderful opportunity to follow the Lord through an uncharted (for us) future.

“So Abram moved his tents and went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he built an altar to the Lord.” (Gen. 13: 18 NIV Bible)

 

 

God’s Storms

A powerful mountain storm pushed through Estes Park yesterday.

Thunder boomed. Lghtning zipped, flashed, and speared the sky.

I heard it coming from a long way off. The thunder almost always comes from the west. Its faint rumble crescendoes as it crosses the mountains and unleashes its tempest.

Rain fell in sheets and pushed up ruts in the roads, polished each blade of grass, dripped from the dusty pine needles.

I sat, cozy and secure inside and watched the storm play out while feeling an almost delicious excitement at this display of God’s power.

How often do we, as Believers savor our own personal storms, secure in the knowledge that God is displaying His power in our lives?

My husband and I are experiencing a storm right now. The other night we huddled together and poured out our fears and uncertainties to the Lord, asking for His guidance and His provision.

How I wish my faith were strong enough at this point that I could sit back in delicious expectation of God’s sure provision. Trusting His work. Knowing that the storm washes my soul and nourishes that part of me that yearns for the presence of my Savior.

“But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God;

I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.

I will praise You forever for what you have done;

in Your name I will hope, for your name is good.

I will praise You in the presence of Your saints.” (Psalm 52:8,9 NIV Bible)

 

Seeking the Creator in nature and the arts

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