Arizona Thunder

There is a transition that occurs in those who move to Arizona. Prior to living here, they may have been in Washington, or Minnesota, or California. And in the normal way of thinking of the weather, they thought of the clear sunny days as the beautiful days. This was the weather they loved and appreciated.

This thought will change after they have lived in Arizona long enough. It might take a year, it might take a few yers. Eventually the transition occurs and the person becomes a true Arizonan when they begin to see beauty in the rainstorms. Rainy days are treasured by true Arizonans. They see wonder in the dark gathering of clouds. They rejoice in the sound of thunder. They celebrate in the formation of puddles.

Rain in Arizona is no less troublesome than it is in other parts of the country. In fact, it can be much more so. The desert soils are unaccustomed to water. Less of it sinks in and more of it runs off, in what quickly becomes dangerous torrents. While driving at night, one can come across a small stretch of water on the road that appears to be a harmless puddle, but which might have enough current to carry you and your car off the road. These floods can create amazing amounts of erosion, which in turn will redesign the landscape. It can undermine roads, destabilize the foundation of buildings and reroute washes by the accumulation of displaced soil. This last point makes the next location to be flooded unpredictable.

So if the monsoon rains are dangerous, why do Arizonans appreciate them? The answer is not as simple as you first might think. It is true and perhaps most obvious that after 9 months of straight sunshine, often in high temperatures, that rain is a welcome change of pace. But what might be less obvious is the way the repetitive days of sunshine give you a greater appreciation of our dependence upon water. Water is basic to who we are, and that water comes to us from the sky, even if it is in tumultuous moments of storminess.

Where once, all we saw was the chaos and danger of the storm, here in Arizona we begin to recognize the necessity of the rain that comes with it. Perhaps even notice some elegance to the delivery method. We know we will not be able to survive without the water brought by the storm, so there is something immature about being unhappy with the storm.

It is not a lesson we learn quickly. It does not change the reality that the storm will harm us if we disrespect it. Still, we become deeply invested in the coming of the storm. Our hearts anticipate those moments. We depend on those drops of life-giving water. We depend on those breaks from the normal patterns of sunshine.

Switch from Arizonans to Christians. Switch from rain storms to storms of life. Switch from rain damage and storm dangers to health and success issues.  Switch from life giving water to the water of life, or the gospel brought by Jesus Christ.  Thunder is God’s Word, both in Scripture and in how He sometimes work in the life of an individual to shape their hearts.  Days of sunshine are days of comfort and ease, but the storms are the days that make us more than we currently are.  Christians eventually learn to embrace the transformational power of these storms.

But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.

Romans 8:37 (NASB)  

Overnight Oats

I think its funny how excited I am about overnight oats. I tell anyone who will listen. I believe it is something more people should know about. I am in a very hot part of Arizona and I appreciate a hearty but not necessarily hot, breakfast.

So here is how I make my version of overnight oats.

  • 1/2 cup of oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of frozen blueberries (almost any fruit can be substituted)
  • 1/2 cup of unsweetened apple sauce. (I buy it in the serving sized containers, which are 1/2 cup.)

Mix all these ingredients together and refrigerate. They should sit at least overnight, but seem just as good after three days. I purchased little containers that are just the right size for holding this mixture. This allows me to mix several days worth of breakfast in a single sitting. When you pull it out to eat, notice that it has congealed a bit like a pudding. You might enjoy this texture. I prefer to stir it up again before eating.

If you want a larger portion just increase the amounts you use of each ingredient equally. Also feel free to experiment with other ingredients. For the fruit I have used raspberries, peaches, and more. I have added spices such as cinnamon and ginger. Other people have similar recipes that include peanut butter, nuts, or any number of other foods.

I have experimented in a number of ways, but I always keep the oats, water and applesauce. The oats and water are essential for obvious reasons, but the unsweetened apple sauce is less apparent. It adds the necessary sweetness. This is often done without the apple flavor coming through at all. One favorite variation added ginger and molasses instead of berries. Another used a packet of hot chocolate mix for a strong cocoa flavor.

I said at the start of this article that I find my enthusiasm for overnight oats to be surprising. Especially when as a Christian I have a Savior who needs to be proclaimed to the world around me.

But unfortunately, I am like too many other Christians. I find it easier to talk about oats, or other meaningless things, than to proclaim salvation in Jesus. Lord Jesus, help me to be bolder.

Blogging, again

It has been a very long time since I have attempted to blog on a regular basis. So long, in fact, that WordPress doesn’t look or operate the same way as it did when I last posted.

Isn’t it funny how the need to constantly update technology takes things which were intentionally simple, and makes them more complex. Many of these things were popular purely because of their simplicity. But we can’t have a tool, website or device that stays the same, now can we?

But in spite of the fact that I don’t want to mess with the complexity of my blog site, I have found myself wanting to write again. Not the big things like books. Well, actually, those too. But for the moment I am wanting to write just about everyday life. So that requires the blog.

This means that over the next, however long the feeling lasts, I will be in a WordPress punishment zone, generally referred to as the ‘learning curve.’ I have to learn how to get this editor, publisher, and/or host to submit to my will. In the process one of two things will happen. Either I will figure it out, which might lead to me writing regularly again. Or I might get such a pain from the process that I decide the agitation inflicted by the learning curve is not worth the value I get from the creative outlet.

When you look at it that way, it could be interpreted that WordPress is, through changes and complexity of systems, working against me.

This comes as a shock. I thought it would be the readers who were against me starting to write again.