Washington D.C.’s Cherry Blossom Festival 2017…I Wanna Go!

Kathi and Liz in ChicagoI was the baby in my family, but for the past nearly 50 years, Lizzie has been like the little sister I always begged my mom for. She’s somewhere between flesh and blood and a BBF buddy, and over the years, we’ve spent countless hours sharing happy times and propping each other during hard times. I’m a fan! Liz and Chuck with Washington Monument in BackgroundRecently, Lizzie and her husband moved to Washington D. C., so when Alan had to attend a conference there, you can bet I was overjoyed  to keep him company and hang out with Lizzie for a few days.

Mt. Vernon, VAAlthough I was there before the cherry blossom festival, we had a great time
and saw some wonderful museums (which I hope to share in the next few days),Lady and cherry blossoms Washington D.C. but the pictures Lizzie posted from the National Cherry Blossom Festival
just a few weeks later made me drool! Cherry Blossoms in Washington D.C.Next year, the festival is March 20-April 16, 2017,
and I’m already dreaming about going! Washington Monument. Cherry Blossom FestivalI’ve read that there are three National Park Service locations:
on the Washington Monument grounds,Monticello VA seen through cherry blossoms around the tidal basin in West Potomac Park, Washington D.C. Naitonal Cherry Blossom Festivaland in East Potomac Park, which is also known as Hains Point. Cherry Blossom Festival with Family 1988It occurs to me that it’s been nearly 30 years Capitol with Cherry Blossoms 1988since Alan and I took our family to the National Cherry Blossom Festival Washington D.C. Cherry Blossom Festival 1988…back in 1988 just a couple of months before Stephen was born. girls-with-cherry-blossoms Kyoto JapanThe last two years Alan and I were in Asia enjoying our grandchildrenTemple near Kiyomizu-dera Kyotojpg and taking in the cherry blossom festivals there, Washington D.C. Naitonal Cherry Blossom Festival 2and I somehow forgot about the fact
that we have gorgeous cherry blossom festivals right here in America. Cherry Blossoms. National Cherry Blossom Festival Washington D.C.I wonder, did any of you grow up with Christian roots and a blossoming faith…Kiyomizu Temple- Kiyomizu-dera buddhist-temple in Japan with Cherry Blossomsbut have now spent so many years searching for
wisdom, meaning, peace and beauty kyoto-city-scape-cherry-blossomsin the writings of other religions and cultural experiences that you’ve forgottenMourning Dove in our cherry tree April 2016 about the wisdom, meaning, peace, and beauty that can be found right at home? Mourning Doves in our cherry Tree 4.28.16“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16)

(Thank you to Elizabeth for all the beautiful pictures of the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C. this spring! The rest are mine, and I took the photos of the mourning doves out my window.)

From Yesterday’s Pink Rivers to Lime Green (Warning: Un-P.C. Alert)

Lime GreenI just passed the milestone of my blog having been accessed 333,333 times! Doubtless no one has enjoyed reading Summer Setting a fraction as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. The research and thinking are challenging, and pawing through old photos transports me back to beautiful places and happy times. Absolutely therapeutic! So, most of the time I love writing, but today it feels more like having my teeth pulled, because I’m supposed to write a review of Lime Green, a book by Dr. Jackie Roese on the topic of “reshaping our view of women in the Church.” I’d like to tuck Lime Green away quietly and forget I ever read it, but I’ve joined Net Galley and received the book free in exchange for reviewing it on this blog. (BTW, if you’re an avid reader, you might like this venue for finding new books so hot they’re not even off the press yet:  https://www.netgalley.com/ .)

So, here goes! First, Jackie—if you read this—I am praying all the best for you. The Marcella Project and your passion to ennoble women is a high and worthy calling. May God use you to encourage women to be all that God has created us to be! Beyond that, I want to say that when the two paths diverged in the yellow wood, you and I chose the same less-traveled-by path (although in 1972 when I went to seminary, Dallas wouldn’t let me in because I was a woman, so I went to Grace Theological Seminary instead), but at the second fork in the road, I chose the way more traveled by, not because I love magenta, but because I believe taking the Bible as literally as possible is still the right way to interpret it. When people do the mental gymnastics needed to relegate every uncomfortable command into cultural insignificance, pretty soon they’re kicking against the pricks. Women and children aren’t supposed to be “vulnerable” to men; they’re supposed to be protected by them.

I’m sorry we humans so often fail to live the way God designed us, but that doesn’t mean He didn’t create women to be under the wings of men. Men aren’t better than women, just as God the Father is not better than the Son, although during time as we know it now, God the Father appears to have authority over the Son. Should the Son say, “This isn’t fair! I’m equal to & one with the Father, so I should be able to make my own decision about when to return to earth, right?” The Bible is filled with learning to submit to loving authority on all levels.

I realize Jackie knows this, but let me just reaffirm that no race is better than any other race; the rich aren’t better than the poor, and the dumb aren’t better than the dumber. We are all created as equals  in our humanness and in the respect we deserve. “Good” and “bad” are moral judgments that should be rooted in character, not circumstances. Might doesn’t make right, but it often makes power, although life isn’t meant to be a power struggle. “Filling in the gaps” is totally different from pushing our way to the front to have equal time. The gaps are usually where no one wants to be…that’s why there are gaps in the line. There are always people clamoring to be in the lime light, but my fear is that most of us become lime green when we envy others.

If you’re feeling lime green rather than in the pink today, consider relaxing into the arms of Jesus and resting in his love. Success is not about being somebody in the eyes of the world, it’s about being who God wants us to be, and I’m certain part of that equation is living in harmony with the clear teachings of Scripture.

“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein” (Jeremiah 6:16).

Hiakus on the Allure of Japanese Beauty: Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺)

Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺  2While Alan and I were visiting Japan with Mike and Grace’s family, we enjoyed seeing many gorgeous palaces and temples with them. Several of my favorites, which inspired hiakus,  are pictured here. The first is on Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺), also known as the Temple of the Golden Pavilion.

Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) 10#1. Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺)

Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺  4 Golden pavilion Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺  5 Reflected in quiet pools, Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺  1  Can you speak English?

DSC_1073#2. Beautiful palace DSC_1060  Nestled in the mountainside, DSC_1113 My steps pursue you.

Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺  3 #3. Flower-laced pathway Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺 8 How you draw me to you, but Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺 9 Is yours the right way?

“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” (The Bible, Jeremiah 6:16)