Inside out

“The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature.”
Ezra Taft Benson

(a spicebruch swallowtail butterfly found its way into the kitchen / Julie Cook / 2015)

My aunt and I walked out onto the back deck this afternoon–out from the kitchen door in order to get a closer look at a deer out in the back yard—we had left the kitchen door slightly ajar.
As we stood gawking at a doe nibbling on the grass, a spicebrush swallowtail butterfly, sporadically flittering over our heads,
makes it’s way along the deck heading directly for the kitchen door–
with the cat in hot pursuit.

The next thing I know, the butterfly is in the kitchen, flying immediately toward the shuttered kitchen windows. In a blink of an eye it makes its way through the slats of the far window, trapping itself between the shutter and the window. The cat now stretching to reach the window.



I quickly opened the shutters, gently reaching in to cup my hands over my flighty visitor.
Easing my hands around him / her, I quickly escort my friend back outside. Freely opening my hands, the spicebrush takes off missing nary a beat with its herky jerky flight pattern. . .
this time far away from my open door.

Inside out, or outside in–either way it made for a bit of a trouble for the visiting butterfly, as well as for me, as I clambered over chairs to get to my guest quickly before it hurt itself or the cat beat me to it.

This latest escapade of mine had my thoughts shifting to the whole concept of inside out / outside in. . .
With Mr Benson’s quote for today’s post painting a very plain talking sort of thought, his words resonating deeply in my thought process. . .”God works from the inside out as the world works from the outside in. . .”

Intrinsic verses extrinsic.
Proactive verses reactive
Victim verses survivor

To be a Christian–one who lives in the world yet is not of the world is nothing short of learning to swim against the rip tide current.
When the world screams inclusiveness, the Christian claims conviction—
When the masses demand rights the Christian stands firm with an absolute.

Lines have blurred.
The world demands the bending of the sanctified spirit.
There are those who begin to question their beliefs—thinking that if the whole world seems to think that its way is the only way, lulling the questioning believer into falsely accepting such as truth, then the existence of the sanctified Truth becomes colluded.

Yet the Word was spoken. . .it has not changed, it has not deviated–it resonates deep from within, emanating outward—just as a stone dropped into a still pool of water with the rings of disturbance reverberating outward, ad infinitum, as it grows greater and wider from its center, so too does the Word of God. . .from the inside where God plants the seed of Truth in the heart of man, the Word spreads, speeding ever outward to touch a troubled world. . .and nothing shall stand in the way of God’s emanating Truth. . .that which starts from the inside spiraling ever outward.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
John 1:1-5

Make hay while the sun shines

Sweat cleanses from the inside.
It comes from places a shower will never reach.

George Sheehan

“He who works with his hands is a laborer.
He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman.
He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”

― Francis of Assisi

(my grandmother’s old pitchfork / Julie Cook / 2015)

Maybe it was the brilliant bright sun.
The endless deep blue sky.
The tender vibrant new green leaves.
The deafening serenade of the cacophony of birds. . .

Outside was calling. . .
And I had no choice but to heed the call. . .
As I just couldn’t drive, one more day, over to Dad’s.

Yet this was not a day for leisure.
No idyllic lounging under a welcoming shade tree
No whiling away the hours. . .
Sitting idly by, just taking in the day. . .
Nope, there’d none of that. . .
As there was work to be done.

Balancing a hectic life,
Taking care of two households in two different cities. . .
Dreading the three letter name that constantly pops up on my phone,
As in Dad = a crisis. . .
Small or large, a crisis will be brewing

Running here, there and yon
Darting in and out
Dashing from here to there and back again,
4 times a week if not more
Rushing to and from frantic traffic. . .
To and from the unhappy confused
The frustrated caregivers. . .
Loons who loom. . .

Which all leads to a weary, frazzled, beaten mind, body and soul

The best curative you ask,
Other than running away, or something illegal or illicit?
Well for me, it’s always been to head outside. . .
To work in the yard.
Even when I was teaching and raising a family. . .
Having a day, maybe even two, to be outside. . .
Working with my hands. . .

As in really work.
Hard work.
Manual labor sort of work.
The blisters on the hands sort of work.
The nitty, gritty, down and dirty, sweaty sort of work..

Cut all the shrubbery
Weed the weeds
Spread out new pine straw
Cut limbs
Rake out beds
Dig up the overgrown
Haul rocks
You name it. . .

From sunup to sundown
As in doing it while there is time in the day
Making the most of the light of day, the time we have. . .
For it is good for the soul
Cleansing of the mind
Stretching muscles and joints to the breaking point
Strenuous work, which in the end, results in a visible difference.
A visible and tangible accomplishment

On something with a beginning, perhaps a long forgotten beginning. . .
Maybe a monumental beginning which may appear almost impossible. . .
Something that could possibly take a while, as in ongoing. . .
Or maybe its something as simple as rearranging, replanting, repainting, replacing. . .
Something, that at the end, is going to be different, better, organized, improved. . .
All because I, me, we, you put our hands into it, our mind into it,
our backs into it, our hearts and soul into it. . .

Whereas I, we, me, you can’t always “fix” or solve the issues that come into our lives,
or into the lives of those we love, or even into the lives of those we don’t even know. . .
Those issues that challenge us, engage us, enrage us, frustrate us, try us. . .
And whereas we can’t always make things better for others or ourselves. . .
Because the issues are bigger than ourselves, our abilities, our control. . .
Being able to see, to feel, to experience something that we can change, or fix,
or make better, or make a difference with, or something we can finally meet head on, something that has been waiting for us, possibly for years. . .
It is to such laboring tasks that we can find healing and the need of being cleansed. . .
The clearing of a heavy heart, a cluttered mind, a confused world. . .

It is the satisfaction of knowing that [finally] we tackled it, brought a resolution, made a difference, made a change, made some small corner of our world. . .better.
Be it something seemingly insignificant, tiny and small. . .something not necessarily
Noticed by others, no one other than ourselves. . .
Nonetheless the change being there, is for the positive. . .

It is this sort of honest, simple, often repetitive, work. . .
which can make all the difference in the world in ones
perspective, well-being, thoughts, heart. . .
Providing the incentive to, in turn, meet the ever looming challenges or our lives with more focus,
a better determination, and with the hope we may have initially lost. . .
For in such we find ourselves feeling better about ourselves and in our lot in life in general. . .

So may we never shy from any work that calls for our hands, our backs, our minds and our hearts. . .
May we never look down upon those who make their livelihoods doing the sort of work with their hands and backs that many of us so often take for granted- – –
May we come to understand that the working of hands and backs, the manual labor sort of work, is more often than not some of the most honest, refreshing, rejuvenating, perspective changing, cathartic, satisfying and even edifying work that any of us, who may often lose our way in our journeys,
in this ever instant gratification,
touch of a button, sort of world we find ourselves living. . .
Here’s to the work of our hands. . .

All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.
Proverbs 14:23

Beautify the place of my Sanctuary

(Photograph: The Pacific Rim Trail, a spruce’s pinecones/ Julie Cook/2013)

The glory of Lebanon shall come to you,
the cypress, the plane, and the pine,
to beautify the place of my sanctuary;
and I will make the place of my feet glorious.

Isaiah 60:13
Revised Standard Version

I hope that at some point this summer, you will be able to get outside, enjoying the wonders of Nature–it is restorative and soothing to whatever ails the spirit…..even if it’s just out around the yard–or sitting on the front porch…. If only to enjoy watching the birds at the feeder outside the kitchen window or the hummingbirds darting about.

I marvel at our almost seemingly dire need for Nature… as is noted by the rising numbers of urban gardens–the abandoned city lots transformed into agricultural wonders complete with raised beds of vegetables galore, the rooftops of apartment and business buildings transformed into urban oasis, the growing surge in chefs desire to produce garden to table meals providing patrons with that oh so fresh experience—which indeed does make a dramatic palate difference.

It seems to be something almost innate, a prewired component—is that why we see such an insurgence in the number of urban pet owners—the pets that require us to get out for a walk, as we decide to take them with us everywhere we go…are they perhaps a small excuse to head to the dog park, the city park, a drive out of town for some “exercise”… 🙂

No matter—the woods, the park, the shore, the mountains, the pasture, the backyard…are all calling—quit reading this and get going….just I must quite writing in order to get going myself 🙂
Happy Trials to you………