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Genesis 22…Revisited

Some dudes call their dad their “old man.” What do they know? My old man is old. But, hey, it’s cool. He’s pretty chill. I mean, ok, he’s been a great dad. Really linked into God, you know? Yeah, following some of the rules and being “obedient” can be a drag, but hey, it’s all good. I may not like all that this requires, but I really respect the old man; and yeah, I love him. And I’m learning from him. Let me tell you what happened the other day. It was so awesome…but one of the scariest things ever.

So, we were going up on the mountain to worship God and offer Him a sacrifice. I mean, we do this all the time, right? No big deal. It’s pretty routine. So Dad loads me up with a pile of wood for the burnt offering, while he carries the knife and fire. My load is a lot heavier than his, but hey, like I said, he’s old, man. After three days’ journey, he tells the servants to stay with the donkey and that we’ll meet ’em where we left ’em.

So we’re climbing this mountain over there in Moriah, and usually we talk a lot. You know, just stuff he’s thinking about or I’m thinking about or stuff we need to do or stuff we did. Sometimes we laugh our fool heads off, but then rein it in because, you know, we’re supposed to be in worship mode. The stuff that goes on between us is stuff that just makes you feel good to be with your old man. But this time he was quiet, the kind of quiet you feel like you need to leave alone. He was, like, in thought, but it was deep and pulling on his heart, it seemed. It wasn’t the time to crack jokes or talk about zits or beards or anything like that. So we trudged alone on this really hot day, and sweat started running down my face and into my eyes, and I’m loaded with this wood, dude, so I couldn’t wipe it away or anything. I looked at my dad, and little beads of water made tracks on his brown, wrinkled skin and disappeared into his gray beard. He looked at each step he took, yet, his eyes were far away. I kept silent, but as we neared the top of the mountain, I realized something.

“Hey, Dad. We brought the stuff for a sacrifice, but what are we going to sacrifice?” Seemed we missed something really important. Maybe that’s what he was thinking about.

But he just said, “God will provide the sacrifice.”

Ok. I thought. Don’t know how that’s gonna happen, but I’ve learned to trust my old man’s faith.

We finally reached a spot that Dad says was the place to worship and make our sacrifice, but I still didn’t see where that sacrifice was gonna come from. He proceeded though, as if we already had the lamb. He built an altar and piled up the wood on it. And here is where it gets really weird…not just because of what he did, but also because of what I did, or didn’t do. After he had the altar ready for the lamb, which was nowhere in sight, he tied me up with rope and laid me on the wood, still silent, still with that contemplative look. It was like I was in some kind of weird dream that you just go along with, but another part of your brain is screaming. Strangely, I didn’t resist. I can’t explain why; I just didn’t. I trusted my dad, even in this bizarre situation. But when he brought out his knife and raised it over my throat, I thought, dude, I’m going to die right here and now. This ain’t no dream. This is death in the next moment.

As I braced myself for the plunge of the blade, he stopped and looked kind of up and away, as though someone had called his name. I didn’t hear anything, but he said, “Here I am.” Dude! I wanted to say, Here am. On a pile of wood and about to die under my old man’s knife!

But then he dropped the knife and ran off to some nearby bushes, and I could see that he was pulling something out of them. Dang! It was a ram! It’s the sacrifice that was missing. DANG! I was almost that sacrifice!

Dad scooped up that ram, and he turned toward the altar, but then he crumpled down onto his knees and buried his face in the ram’s neck. He was shaking, and I heard his muffled cries. Squeezing that ram with the only strength he seemed to have left, he staggered to his feet. And I couldn’t even help him because I was still tied up on that blasted pile of wood!

Well, it tuned out well for me because God came through with that ram. So we sacrificed and we worshiped, and then my old man made a name for that place: “The LORD Will Provide.” He got that right!

Just like when we came up the mountain, going down was in silence, but now Dad seemed to be listening to or hearing something, and instead of that faraway look, his eyes seemed wiser, with a wisdom that comes dearly. And he looked grateful, certainly for the ram, but seemingly for something much much bigger than even my life. Just walking alongside this “new” old man was awesome, in a way, so I held my thoughts and just let Dad be with his. But in that silence I was trying to figure it out. If Dad knew God would provide the ram, why was he ready to sacrifice me? And if he was prepared to do that, how was it that he and I were both going to return to the servants as he told them we would? I looked at him and believed he had had similar questions, but no longer, because God had spoken to him. I just knew it.

With these thoughts swirling in my head, we reached the bottom of the mountain, met up with the servants, and returned to Beersheba. As we did, I knew the world had been rocked in some way that I cannot explain, dude, all because on that mountain something heavy, really heavy, had transpired between God and my old man.


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June Gloom, I Love Your Grey, You Keep the Summer Sun at Bay.

Oh, June, your mornings, cooled by ocean clouds that drift into our valley, are the tendrils that cling to May; as you are in days more spring than summer.

Spring’s dazzling first blooms have quieted to simple, lovely color, and the foliage grows thick and lush under your damp sun…until the solstice, when the tilted earth faces rays that sap moisture, harden soil, char leaves, and wilt blooms. The inferno will still your marine breezes, lest it rest in the evening, allowing them to slip through to brush a grateful brow.

Your task, June, to usher in the hottest days, is beloved by some and cursed by others. Know that I delight in your leaning against July. I embrace every grey day, applauding all that prolongs the magic of spring before you slip away.


“I could care less.” Are you sure?

“You know what? I could care less!” A student backhands the air as she shares with her friends her utter disinterest in a matter.what-hi

The thing is she thinks she has told them that she doesn’t care, when in fact, she has told them she does care, even if just a little.

Did I psycho-analyze her, or read between her lines, or judge her tone of voice or body language? No. I listened to her words, which was more than she did.

Have you noticed that “I could care less” now means “I couldn’t care less”? The former has superseded the latter.

When people say the words, “I could care less,”  they are literally saying, I care…to some degree But we now accept that I could care less means don’t care at all.  Yet, these two declarations are as opposite as “I have money” and “I don’t have  money.”

If you call them on it, they’ll say, “Oh, you know what I mean.”  Well, yes, I do know what you mean, but is it that hard to SAY what you mean? I guess it is. And the onus is on me to correctly interpret your mangled language.

I am not railing against the evolution of language. The glut of  new technology words that we race to keep up with, for instance, is necessary as tech-gurus birth new ideas, gadgets, and applications.

What I am opposed to are meanings that change by thoughtless and lazy misuse of words. This devolving, or dumbing-down, this lack of care for language is what makes me cranky.


It’s 11:34 pm. Do you know where your cat is?

cat_picture_why_cats_see_better_at_night-800x600I was driving about forty-five mph at 11:34 at night. Like someone who tries to “beat the train,” a cat tried to beat my car. But the cat’s calculations of my velocity and proximity were fatally wrong.

I did not see this cat fifty, twenty, or even ten feet in front of my car. I did not see this cat running from a yard, crossing a sidewalk, or springing from a curb. I was not approaching and observing a scene in which I had time to stop or swerve.

What I saw was this cat dashing in front of me fewer than 5 feet from my bumper.

THUNK! Only the cat’s head could make that sound. And it happened before I could even think of braking.

Oh, God! Oh, God! Oh, God! I am so sorry! I am so sorry!

Over and over I cried from the horror in my breaking heart—for the cat I killed, for the family who will look for it and may well find it in its gruesome state, and for myself who has never killed an animal, let alone someone’s beloved pet.

I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry! It was all I could say. It was all I could think. I’m so sorry! Oh, God, I’m so sorry!


Sweating into my eyes and loving it (well, sort of). Read on. . .

I love to work in the yard. Love it. I’d rather mow a lawn than roast a chicken. I’d rather weed a bed than make one.  I’d rather sink my hands into dirt rather than sweep it off the floor. Ornamental gardening, not vegetable gardening, which involves winning the war on bugs, is a passion of mine.

So, here’s a typical scenario. This morning, I went to Home Depot just to buy a pot. I was giving a jade tree to a friend who had admired one in my yard, and I needed a pot for the presentation that would be a birthday gift. My undoing was the credit card in my pocket. If I had had only $20 cash and no plastic, I would have left Home Depot with a very nice pot. Period.

However, as I left the store with the lovely, glazed green pottery, I also carted with me 10 tiny mums, one purple fountain grass, a croton, a dracaena, and a peace lily.

Of course, they all had to be planted today, I insisted. In fact, the fountain grass did not get into the ground yet. However, I spent several hours in the yard steeping the rest of these leafy purchases into new soil, whether into the ground or into house pots.

As well, I divided and replanted some overgrown agapanthus that went into the ground at least 30 years ago. I’m not sure when they started growing on top of each other, but that arrangement was depriving them of water and nutrients, I had decided.  The project involved digging and moving dirt and then amending the soil with mulch, struggling to free the plants from strangling one another, then planting them afresh in their own newly-mulched soil space.

The weather was nearly perfect for these undertakings, but warm enough for sweat to start running down my forehead and into my eyes. If that has not happened to you, let me warn you that it stings a-plenty.  Poking my finger behind the material of my blouse, I dabbed my eyes then remembered my new terry sweatband. That protector in place, I continued with my digging, mixing, dividing, and planting.

Once everything but the fountain grass was in place, I was filthy, sweaty, and achy, but oh so satisfied as I stood back and considered the results of my labor.

Resolute that I was done with that work for the day, I came into the house. It was a mess. “Ugh. I’ve got to clean this place up, but I SO do not want to.” I never want to. Yes, eventually I do it, especially if guests are coming; they are my most compelling motivation. I will clean up and pick up for guests lest they discover the slob that I actually am.

But why can I spend hours in the yard, grinding dirt into my hands, straining my back, burning my skin, and sweating into my eyes and love every minute of it, but facing a messy house that needs my attention leaves me in a crumpled heap of apathy? After all, both have the same results: they will look nice when I’m done. Is it because once the house looks nice, one lazy non-action (after another) messes it up again, whereas the efforts in the yard grow into something beautiful?

Or is it simply that I am an outdoor person who loves nature, and when I garden I know I’m working with God’s awe-inspiring creation.  I like to think that I’m partnering with Him in that kind of work. I’m not saying that I necessarily think about that as I dig and plant, but maybe subconsciously it’s the kernel of my joy.

Whatever the reason, my heart is in the soil – the soil that is outdoors, not indoors, because indoors it’s the enemy – and in helping God bring forth and sustain His delightfully creative flora and foliage. If only He had created my floors, carpet, furniture, and all the clutter on top of them, then ALL of my responsibilities would be a joy.


My Debut Blog

Kyle is my nephew and has blogged for years. He’s actually made quite a name for himself through his blog posts. He has become recognized for his skills and has even gotten jobs through that platform. It delights me that he enjoys writing them.

Kyle is not the only one to urge me to write my own blog, but it was his name I dropped into my blog name “perkylesadvise.” So now you know it’s not Perky les advice. I may change the name at some point, but in a nod to my amazing nephew (and, by the way, I also have an amazing niece – Christy), perkylesadvice is how I will begin.

The tagline, “I might have something to say,” expresses a lack of commitment to post regularly, as I may not have something to say, but it opens the door if I do.

When I told a writer friend that I had begun a blog, she was thrilled and wanted to know if I had a theme. No. I’ll do well to post thoughts without striving for continuity from post to post. A theme will emerge, however: me, through various lenses. If you find that boring (or scary), there are oh so many other things to do on and off the computer. But I thank you in advance for any interest you might have in my thoughts.