Thursday, November 19, 2009

So often I look blissfully at my two daughters, thinking how nice it is to be that young. Playing most of the day, unaware - as they should be - of worldly burdens and responsibilities.

BUT.

This morning I ate chocolate cake for breakfast. Because I could.

There are some advantages to being a grown-up. :-)

Friday, November 13, 2009

God Said

I rarely read the Bible from book to book. Usually I camp out in one book for a while and then skip to a different one that seems to be calling my name. Admittedly I find myself hanging out in the New Testament most of the time - although I do so love Isaiah and the Psalms.

Last night, on a whim to be different, I started at the beginning. You know, THE beginning. Genesis 1:1.

The first four words alone are enough to captivate me for some time: "In the beginning God . . ."

I thought I knew the Creation story backwards and forwards thanks to years of flannel trees, stars and animals forever etched in my Sunday school memories. But as I read through the familiar story some particular words grabbed my attention.

Take a little looksie with me:

6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.


This pattern continues in the same way for the rest of God's creation. In the rhythm of this accounting I find a most reassuring truth. Look again:

6 And God said, "Let there be an expanse between the waters to separate water from water." 7 So God made the expanse and separated the water under the expanse from the water above it. And it was so. 8 God called the expanse "sky." And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

9 And God said, "Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear." And it was so. 10 God called the dry ground "land," and the gathered waters he called "seas." And God saw that it was good.

11 Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. 12 The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13 And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.


God said.

And it was so.

Beautiful, yes? Such power, such reassurance, such faithfulness packed into six glorious words.

We know that God's character is unchanging (Hebrews 6:17-18) and all Scripture is God-breathed (2 Timothy 2:16). Therefore what He speaks, well, is so.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

God said. And it is so.

"For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 8:38-39

God said. And it is so.

"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am." John 14:1-3

God said. And it is so.

"Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Acts 4:12

God said. . . Well. I think you get the idea.

In this world of relativity, this culture of confusion, how beautiful the truth becomes. And God is truth. (Psalm 31:5) He said so.



[quotes taken from biblegateway.com ; all italics and emphases mine]

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Evidence

Yesterday as I was washing dishes I glanced out the window and immediately stopped what I was doing.

A gust of wind had come through our heavily wooded backyard and it now appeared to be raining leaves - swirls of goldenrod and crimson floated gracefully downward until finding a comfortable resting place. It was one of the most amazing things I've ever seen. Absolutely gorgeous.

It occurred to me that this beautiful display probably happens several times a day whether I witness it or not. I know it happens because I see the evidence all over the ground. I was privileged to catch one of those autumnal showings that morning but the show goes on whether or not I see it with my own eyes. It would be ridiculous to claim the leaves never fell from the tree because I didn't personally see it happen.

The evidence around us.

We don't necessarily see God with our own eyes but the evidence is everywhere. A newborn baby. A caterpillar changing into a butterfly. Ocean waves rhythmically pounding the shore. Sunrise. Sunset. A rainbow. The human brain. Towering trees grown from a miniscule seed. Hummingbirds. And on and on . . .

Whose ideas do you suppose those are? It boggles my mind to hear the theory that we evolved from some tiny germ (or as our former preacher used to say, glorified pond scum). How do they suppose that there was nothing - nothing - and then all of a sudden something?? A human explanation cannot account for that and some would rather accept that large, gaping hole than acknowledge a Creator who "calls things that are not as though they were." (Romans 4:17)

It's obvious there is a Creator. Just look at all the evidence around us.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Perspective

Recently I commented to a friend that the medical trials she and her husband had been through had to have been, among other things, a test of faith.

Her reply was beautiful. She stated she would not call it a test of faith but rather a testimony to the power of God's love as experienced through family and friends.

That powerful perspective inspired me to take the same approach today.

Two years ago today we miscarried our Sweet Baby. It was a devastating loss and although I did not want to dwell on it today it was also impossible not to think about it. I didn't want to mope around today - too many good things going on in the present and besides, what good would it do anyway?- but could not exactly escape the memories either. It seemed right to remember but was not quite sure how to go about that in a spiritually healthy way.

So today I decided to take my friend's approach and chose to focus on and remember how we experienced God's love through such a difficult journey:

The tangible comfort of the Spirit

The leading to literally pages of Scripture that spoke truth and hope into my heart

The kindness of friends and family who let me cry, cried with me and lifted us up in prayer - this was no small thing

The servant heart of the retired neighbor that mowed our lawn with no expectation of credit or thanks

The wisdom of another neighbor that advised me to "grieve well" - I took those words to heart and have since passed them on to others

The ministry of the music sent to me by a dear friend - she knew what I did not at the time, that the need to surround myself with worship music regardless of my desire to worship was crucial. This is something else I have passed on to many.

The friends who left a mysterious care package on my porch - cute pjs, chocolate, lip gloss, and a good movie. This nourished my soul more than they could ever know. It somehow gave me permission to just sink into the couch for a while.

I could go on and on . . .

When I stop, look at the above list and think about how the Lord moved - I mean really moved- through His people I am astounded and humbled to have truly experienced the touch of His hands and movement of His feet.

And then, of course, the knowledge that the ultimate display of the Lord's love - Jesus' death and resurrection - would one day reunite us with our baby. That thought alone moves me to praise. . .

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18


So, here we are. Temporarily living in a fallen world that unfortunately includes all kinds of pain and heartache.

But what an amazing Lord we have that buffers our pain with acts of His love.

Pain producing praise . . .let us not miss the miracle in that provision.

Apparently, perspective is everything.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Brain Rattlings

As in, things rattling around in my head today . . .

*There is something very wrong about large Christmas ornaments hanging above the Halloween section at Target.

*If my dog could talk I wonder if she could ever adequately explain why she believes eating dirty diapers out of the trash is a good idea.

*I really wish Macaroni Grill delivered. Mmmmmm.

*Brownies will suffice for dinner in the absence of above longed-for Macaroni Grill

*Inevitably, children will always get sick right before a weekend or when the husband is out of town. Or both. Why is this???

*We dumped cable. I miss cable. Is it possible to have cable withdrawal?? Oh, TLC, one day we shall meet again . . .

*I think every season at the moment is my favorite season. Fall is breathtaking around here. I literally have laughed out loud or said "Wow!" at turning a corner only to see a blazing red tree jumping out of the foliage. Isn't God beautiful!

*I never was a huge candy corn fan until I met my husband. I now understand the dire importance of purchasing Brach's - and only Brach's - candy corn. Store brand is not acceptable.

Enough rattlings. On to the brownies . . .

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Not How It's Supposed to Be

Please be praying for my longtime friend Pam, her husband Chris and all their family. Last night they said goodbye to their sweet baby Bennett who flew into the arms of Jesus at 6 months old. He was awaiting a heart transplant and held on as long as he could.

I have no words.

But I do hold tightly to the reminder Isaiah gives about the new Heaven and the new Earth that's coming:
"Never again will there be in it an infant who lives but a few days . . ."
Isaiah 65:20a

This is not how it's supposed to be. And it's not how it will always be. But right now it's unfathomable.

Lord, come quickly.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Daydreaming

The other night I was reading a new favorite book, "What Every Mom Needs", for an upcoming playdate/book discussion with some other moms. (Whatever stage you're in, whether or not it includes motherhood right now, hang with me - this isn't just a "mom" thing.)

"Identity" was the current subject and, in an effort to broaden our job descriptions beyond "mom", the book was attempting to resurrect buried dreams. It asked the simplest question that I still cannot answer:

"What did you daydream about when you were a child?"

I get the point - that we tend to lose ourselves and our dreams as we become older and more tangled in "grown-up" worries and responsibilities. If we can somehow excavate those long-ago musings then maybe we'd at least have a starting point towards where our hearts long to travel.

But I could not for the life of me think of one thing I used to daydream about.

Am I the only one in this boat? Am I so stinkin' analytical that I never let my mind wander? Or did it wander and those whimsical paths are so grown over with worldly weeds that I just can't see them anymore?

I love, love, love being a mom. Just as many of you love your primary calling whatever that may be for you. But I can't imagine that God created us to fill one, and only one, role at a time.

So now I'm doing a lot of soul-searching for those other roles, talents, dreams that would contribute to my continual quest to be ALL God intends me to be. To bring Him glory in every way possible.

By the way, this is not the same as packing my schedule as full as possible with pottery classes and underwater basket-weaving. I think it's more along the lines of choosing to put off mopping the oh-so-nasty kitchen floor for just a little while longer so I can, say, write a post on a too-often neglected blog . . . :-)

Maybe for you it's not grading that stack of papers until you've read a chapter in your favorite book. Or diving into a new recipe, creating artistry in the kitchen, allowing those work e-mails to sit just a little while longer.

Not saying it's easy. Currently I am sitting with my back to this mess of a house so I can't be distracted by it. And I seriously just reread this post for editing with my fingers in my ears in order to focus and block out Little Miss Chatterbox for two minutes.

So.

I'm still looking for those childhood daydreams. Not sure if I'll remember them but at least it's got me thinking and I think that's the point. I hope it got you thinking, too. :-)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

To The Desert Dwellers

As often happens in time of great spiritual growth and renewal, we have been battling the enemy mightily - and sometimes not so mightily - around here.

For the past month there has been spiritual attack after attack launched against our family. The enemy is trying to distract us, discourage us. And to be honest sometimes he succeeds.

But then God reminds me - again - who He is and how much bigger He is than anyone, anything or any circumstance. So when this video came in my inbox today I almost laughed out loud at God's perfect timing. I have a feeling I'm not the only one it might speak to today . . .

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Who's Teaching Here?

The other night my 3-year old and I were reading in her Bible at bedtime. Finishing the well-read story of David and Goliath I asked her:

"Who was bigger: David or Goliath?"

"Goliath."

"Who was stronger?"

Without pause she responded, "God."

Well said, little one.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

So This Is What It Looks Like

Yesterday was, shall we say, an "interesting" day in our household. Let's just say it involved a certain three-year old whom I love dearly acting very, well, THREE.

We are in quite a season in regards to that "three" behavior and it has become very wearing on me. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. Name it and it feels like it's been stepped on, unfrayed, put through a blender and then worn to a nub.

Anyone been there?

Back to yesterday. To top it off my darling daughter did not fall asleep until midnight. Her usual bedtime is 8:00. Yikes.

Needless to say I was not extremely hopeful when my alarm buzzed me out of bed this morning. I pictured a day where survival with a grumpy, sleepy, emotional preschooler would be just that if successful - survival. (If you think that's an overstatement spend an hour or so around a grumpy three-year old and you'll get my drift.)

I prayed a bit about it and went about my morning routine.

Then she woke up and I braced myself for the first battle of the day.

But she smiled. And laughed. And it's been the best day we've had in a LONG time.

As I was thinking on this anomaly, I was thankful for the peace in our household although it completely escaped my understanding. It simply didn't make sense that she would be 4 hours short on sleep and in the midst of a difficult phase yet be so pleasant today.

Ah.

"And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Philippians 4:7


Peace that passes understanding . . .

So that's what that looks like. It's so funny what the Lord uses to teach us His truths. This verse will never read the same to me now that I've seen a concrete example of inexplicable peace.

The Lord is so good! (And why am I always surprised when He says "yes" to my prayers?)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Procrastination = New Post

Well, after my 100 days of blogging I sure did fizzle out on here, huh? In my own defense it has been busier than usual in our little neck of the woods.

I've actually thought about this blog quite a bit and written at least a dozen new posts in my head. Now, getting them into the computer has been another story.

So, because things are still a little scattered around here and I can't think straight enough to post any one, well-thought out post . . .here's the Reader's Digest versions of what's been rambling around in my head lately:

*Over the past year or so I have really been convicted about the suffering and persecution of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world. I have found the easiest way to keep them in the forefront of my prayers is to make this website my home page. Now everytime I turn on the computer to check email or whatever I'm first greeted with a list of current known persecutions and dangerous situations around the world. Just a quick glance and my heart is so sick for our co-heirs in Christ that I have to pray. Try it . ..

*Modesty. Ladies, I'm afraid this one's for you. I've blogged on this before (how visual men are - more so than I ever knew - and how our dress should not be a stumbling block to our brothers in Christ) but it's worth mentioning again. Driving recently, I passed a group of teenage girls advertising a fund-raising carwash. I know they thought they looked darling in their short-shorts but being on THIS side of 13 made me want to go cover them up with their towels. I wasn't aware at 13 either, but they have no clue what creepos are driving by leering at them. And even non-creepo men can hardly divert their attention. So: Ladies set an example for your friends, daughters and any other young girl in your life and dress modestly. Your beauty comes from within, remember? That's what they need to learn, too.

*Our society is profoundly and perhaps irreversibly backwards in their thinking. I recently saw a l-o-n-g commercial for the SPCA featuring lots of sad looking doggies and kitties. The main message of course was to save the animals. I love animals, I believe we are charged with a responsibility to take care of them. But what about save the HUMANS. How is it that some people get teary over animals losing their lives but support abortion? Incomprehensible. (Yes, it makes me angry! But I also know they have been "taken captive by hollow and deceptive practices" and we should pray for them.)

Hmmm. I seem to be on quite a rant today. Maybe I should stop here! We're actually in the middle of moving (close by, but still moving) and I'm thinking that I'm taking out my exhaustion on my poor keyboard. Um. I think I'll go engage in some chocolate therapy and get down off my soapbox now . . .

Friday, July 31, 2009

A Shade From the Heat

"You have been a refuge for the poor,
a refuge for the needy in his distress,
a shelter from the storm
and a shade from the heat. . ."
Isaiah 25:4 [emphasis mine]

I am such a wuss about heat in the summertime.

Really, I am. I usually just avoid the outdoors as much as possible if the mercury climbs much above, say, 85. If I have to go outside for more than a few minutes in the heat then I'm goin' prepared: water bottles (yes, plural), baby powdered (reduces sweating - TMI I know), and sunscreen slathered on my pitifully pale skin.

And even with all of that what's the first thing I do? Run for the shade.

Summer heat + me = sunburned, sweaty, tired and grumpy.

Isaiah 25:4 conjures up a powerful image then for me when it says that the Lord is a shade from the heat. Just as the summer season comes bringing its powerful heat, so too does the enemy come and turns up the spiritual heat for a season.

Whatever makes you sweat, whatever makes you uncomfortable. Sapping energy and leaving serious burns. Oh, the enemy knows how to bring the heat.

In those seasons this verse from Isaiah is a reminder to step into the spiritual shade of our Father. Let His presence provide relief from the heat, a place to renew energy and to escape the burns.

That's not to say the heat will disappear. After all, sitting under a tree in August doesn't exactly mean you can build a snowman. But there is a noticeable difference, yes? Shade makes the heat bearable.

And keep in mind, too, that just as the scorching summer gives way to the cool breeze of autumn a season of spiritual heat will eventually pass.

But it's okay to stay put in that cool spot. Your shade's not going anywhere.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Leadership

We've been thinking a lot on leadership around here lately.

Which got me to thinking. . .

What makes a good leader? What makes a not-so-great leader?

If you're like me then you know either one when you see it but it's hard to pinpoint exactly what makes them that way.

Thoughts??

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Not Normal

It was our first date in quite some time and we badly needed some uninterrupted conversation. Hence, why we were sitting in a parked car eating takeout rather than at a movie or a restaurant.

I was lamenting to my husband my disappointment over a certain set of circumstances. What I thought might be happening soon (involving returning to our hometown) looked like it would not be occurring.

My diatribe went on and on as honest spiritual questioning spilled out of my heart and mouth in what was probably the longest run-on sentence I've ever spoken.

Through my tears I declared, "Normal people don't do this."

"What do you mean?" my husband said.

"This. If normal people want to move, they move. If they want to stay, they stay. They don't wait around on signs and visions and words from on high."

And it was in that moment that I realized more tangibly than ever what it means to give my life to Christ.

No, I am not normal.

I am a Christ follower.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Name Calling

"Daddy . . . Daddy?"

The little searching voice belonged to a small boy down the aisle from us. Immediately recognizing the little one was lost my girls and I made a beeline his way. Too many things can happen too quickly in a big store. As a former teacher and now as a mother I tend to feel fiercely protective of any child in need. (I know most caring adults feel the same way.)

As I approached, his 5-year-old lip was quivering in an attempt not to give way to panic.

"Are you lost?"

The floodgate opened and a sobbing "Uh-huh" escaped from his mouth. I wanted to hug him, but I also realized I was a stranger to him.

All I could say was, "Oh, sweetpea! It's okay, let's go find . . ." and before I could suggest finding a salesperson to help us we heard, "Ethan?"

Those sweet little eyes lit up and he was off like a shot toward his no-longer-lost father.

How good it is, what relief, when someone who loves us calls our name . . .

But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel,
"Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name; you are Mine!
Isaiah 43:1

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Joy? Really?

"Yeah, right."

Consider this a confession of my not-so-godly response earlier tonight to very God-ordained words:
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds . . . James 1:2

I'm not trying to be disrespectful of God's word, just honest in my struggle. His words are difficult to internalize sometimes. Always truthful, always right, always needed. But still hard.

Anyone else been there?

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Recently

Lessons recently learned around here:

-Chipmunks cannot swim

-Leftover peas from dinner + Mommy's empty drink cup + bathwater = "pea soup" from an enthusiastic pint-size chef

-Forgetting to clean out the cooler after a zoo trip is a bad idea

-Fruit flies are indestructible (see previous statement)

-911 still works from a disconnected phone line

[You just can't make this stuff up . . .]

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

In Case You Were Wondering

It dawned on me the other day that it's been a long time since I explained the title of this blog, Seeking the Morning.

When I started this blog I was walking through some dark valleys. We had miscarried some months before but I was still very much grieving. And in my ongoing battle, depression and anxiety were rearing their ugly heads more often and more ferociously. (Hmmm. That's hard to say but true.)

My night felt unending and I was literally seeking a spiritual morning. Even the smallest ray of light would seem significant in the dark. I think most specifically I was hoping for another child - that most tangibly represented an end to the night in my heart.

Thankfully, the Lord was gracious and did bless us with another beautiful daughter. But even as we discovered we were expecting I was beginning to realize my journey toward the "morning" was not over. It was taking on a new meaning - something not to be attained in a single event, but rather something to always strive after.

Psalm 143:8 says
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
for to you I lift up my soul.


I need word of the Lord's unfailing love constantly. The lies of the enemy are too deceiving, the society around us too confusing, my own heart too faltering.

If the morning is bringing word of this unfailing love, this truth in the midst of so much untruth, than that is what I want to be running after. Always.

So . . .

Seeking the Morning = Constantly desiring to hear and see the truth of God's unfailing love no matter the circumstance.

Just in case you were wondering. :-)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Pssst . . .

[Shhhhh. I don't think I'm supposed to be here today. I think I'm supposed to be taking the day off after my big 100 post marathon. But I can't stay away. Don't tell anyone, okay? Thanks. . .]

Sunday, July 5, 2009

100: I Made It!!!

Can a get a WOO-HOO???!!!!

:-)

I cannot believe this is post 100 of my challenge!!! I woke up this morning, realized I would be reaching my goal today and got the biggest grin on my face. What a great feeling!

While I learned quite a few things through this (not so) little process, the number one thing that comes to mind is this:

I had it backwards.

Before this, I would wait for the "big" idea and then write. The last 100 days forced me to reverse course and write whether or not I had an idea. (Sometimes this was pretty evident, as in the "blah, blah, blah" post . . .)

Please forgive me for saying this, as it sounds rather self-absorbed, but I feel like I learned I was stronger than I thought I was. More committed. More enduring. I realized that sounds a bit dramatic as I'm talking about writing a blog, not running a marathon. But in essence that's what it felt like to me. Carving out time every single day whether I felt like it, whether I really had time. Learning to be still and listen. Even if it meant plugging my ears to the literal noise all around me. (Mental note: Next house must have office. With soundproof doors. And walls. And a large supply of chocolate . . .)

Anyway, I do appreciate all the positive comments whether left in the comments here, in my email or in person. Thanks for taking a few minutes to read this little bloggy every now and then and for offering encouragement.

Sheesh. This is starting to sound like an Oscar acceptance speech . . .

Anyway.

I really have enjoyed writing daily and hope to keep it up (well, mostly every day) so I hope you stick around, too.

Now. I'm off to find some form of chocolate to celebrate. Feel free to eat some and celebrate with me! :-)

Saturday, July 4, 2009

99: Thankful

On this July 4th I am so thankful that the loud booms outside and lit up sky are due to fireworks and not bombs as in many places tonight.

I am grateful that the people congregating in the street this morning were there to cheer on a parade and not part of an angry protest.

What a blessing to live in a free nation. We get so used to saying that but when I ponder what the alternative is, my heart rejoices at the great privilege we have to live in this country.

Take a minute and truly thank the Lord tonight for your freedom . . . we are living lives with opportunities that others only dream about. Use them well . . .

Friday, July 3, 2009

98: Blah, Blah, Blah . . .

Blah, blah, blah, sick, blah, blah. Blah!

Blah.

Blah, tired, blah, blah . . .blah.

Blah, blah, writer's block, blah, blah - blah, blah, blah.

Blah? Blah.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

97: Being Productive

Multitasking is second nature to most of us these days. We text while we eat while we chat on the phone while we check email while we . . . well, you get the picture. Especially as a mother of young children, doing only one thing at a time seems unproductive. Even while doing multiple tasks my brain is constantly pondering what's next on the list or what I could add to the list.

Tonight I stopped.

And

Breathed.

Our 5-month-old was not feeling so great (mean ol' toothies poking through) and was in an interesting mood. Not fussy, not hungry, not playful, not sleepy. She just wanted to lay on my chest and snuggle. I, of course, was happy to comply.

As we melted together on the couch, I pressed my cheek to her fuzzy little head and allowed her tiny fingers to explore my gigantic-in-comparison hand.

And the world stopped.

Dishes could wait. Laundry would still be there later. Email and blogs were suddenly quiet in their beckoning.

I found in that precious moment that in being "unproductive" I was making the sweetest memories of all.

And what could be more productive than that?

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

96: Just For Fun

In case anyone's bored tonight and happens to have a stack of post-it notes nearby . . .here's an idea for you:




(I don't even want to think about how long it took him to line up all those sticky little notes just the right way - amazing!)

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

95: Stupid Bugs . . .

I hate bugs.

I mean, really, really hate bugs. Insects. Creepy-crawlies. Ewww.

There's a slight possibility that I have been known to trap insects under plastic cups until hubby could come home to, um, dispose of them. There's an even slighter possibility that if I know hubby will be in late I will draw a picture of my little prisoner on the cup so as he won't mistake the cup for random trash and set it free while I snooze.

Seriously. Hate. Bugs.

Today I was attempting to make a dent in our pile of unwashed dishes multiplying in the sink. And I saw it. Teeny-tiny body. Freakishly long appendages. Mr. Daddy Long Legs had taken up residence on one side of the sink next to a steak knife. See, most normal people would grab a paper towel, take care of the matter and be done with it.

Oh, no. Not me.

I spent the next 5 minutes trying not to touch any dish within 6 inches of the thing while focusing on not having an anxiety attack. Then I decided my next course of action.

I'd wait him out. He was headed toward the side of the sink with the disposal. Muah-ha-ha-ha!!!! As soon as he crossed over the mountainous divide I'd flush him down with a bug-size flash flood and flip the switch. Buh-bye Creepy McCreeperton.

In the midst of my ingenious plan my hubby happened to call just to say hi. When I explained what I was doing there was a moment of silence and then, "So . . .you're herding a spider??"

Well, when you say it like THAT it sounds a tad ridiculous.

I hate bugs.

Monday, June 29, 2009

94: Just Thinking Aloud . . .

Tonight, as I drove home from Bible study, I was thinking about some of the thoughts and questions that had arisen during our session. Specifically, I was thinking about what the Lord wants me to do with this life.

There is a pattern I see as I look back over my years. I know hindsight is 20/20, and this is probably not uncommon, but I see so many times in my life that I could have given more. Been more. Done more.

Not for lack of opportunity but for definite lack of faith. And definite succumbing to fear.

Again, probably not uncommon, but fear has always been my stronghold. Fear of failure, yes, but probably even moreso a fear of success. What if I try something and it actually works? Then what? I know that's weird. I never claimed to be, um, not weird.

So anyway. These days I'm trying harder not to let fear get the best of me. But I have ideas swirling around in my head of possible directions the Lord might be leading me and, honestly, they scare me to death. I mean, He's not telling me to move to the middle of a war-torn country or anything. I think that would warrant a healthy fear. But my fears are all about inadequacy and a loss of control. You know that story about Saul being called as king and when they looked for him he was hiding in the baggage? Yup. I so get that story.

I just feel so inadequate. Actually it doesn't even matter what the Lord calls me to do - sometimes I feel like I'm giving up before I even try. I know the verses about the Lord being our strength, the saying about the Lord equipping those He calls. My head knows all these things. It's just convincing the rest of me.

Really I have no nice, neat way to wrap this up tonight. Just getting some thoughts out of my head . . .

Sunday, June 28, 2009

93: Summertime

Locusts singing at dusk

Not having to dry or fix hair

Barefoot in the grass

Homemade ice cream

4th of July parades

Eating dinner outside just because

Delayed sunsets

I love summer :-)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

92: Manna

"Manna is only for a season."

When I heard those words at Bible study the other night they immediately penetrated my heart.

After the Israelites left Egypt, after blatant disobedience of the Lord, they were made to wander in the desert for forty years. The Lord being the gracious Lord that He is provided quail for them every evening and then flakes of bread-like food on the ground in the morning. The Israelites received this manna from heaven every day, except the Sabbath, for all forty years in the desert. Usually when I ponder this story I'm focused on the miracle of the provision. And miraculous it was.

But I hadn't thought about how much faith and obedience this strange heavenly provision required from the Israelites. Every morning they were to gather enough manna just for that day alone. (Before the Sabbath they were allowed to gather enough for two days so as to keep the Sabbath holy and not work.) Anybody who tried to gather more thinking they could save it were in for a nasty surprise the next day - maggots and a stench permeating the once edible supply. Ick. Bet they learned that lesson quickly.

So for forty years each family, each person had to rely on the Lord's provision just for that day. And trust that He would provide again the next day. And the next. They had no control and no choice but to believe He would provide.

And He always did.

Sometimes I feel similarly - waking up in the morning with no clue how I'm going to get through the day. But the Lord always, always provides what I need. Not always how I expected (um, bread from heaven anyone?) or how I desired (how many ways can you really prepare manna? That had to get old.) But I'm always provided for each and every day in the way I need - emotionally, spiritually, whatever.

Admittedly, sometimes in those seasons I get tired of living day to day wondering how the Lord will come through each day. It's a test of faith that I don't usually pass with flying colors, if at all. I'm a worrier, a planner. It's hard to let go of my plans and just trust in the Lord's daily provision.

That's why when I was reminded at Bible study that the manna for the Israelites was only for a season, that their promised land of milk and honey was coming, it lightened my heart. Those seasons of just barely making it spiritually or emotionally day to day are just that, seasons. They definitely serve a purpose and the Lord is glorified through them but, thank goodness, they don't last forever.

And even though the season of manna wasn't much fun for the Israelites, we have to remember that without it they never would have stepped one toe in the promised land. Without the Lord's daily sustenance they would have perished in the desert.

Hmmm. I may not always appreciate a season of manna but I'll take the Lord's provision any day over dying in a spiritual desert. "Manna is only for a season." Thank you, Lord, for manna!

Friday, June 26, 2009

91: My Favorite Poem

I guess this is kind of cheating but I believe I've posted this poem before. Oh, well. I figure it's so good that it's worth repeating. :-) The truth of it has stuck with me ever since I first read it in high school.

As the subject in the poem comes to find out, the intellect of some things will never compare to actually experiencing them . . .

When I Heard the Learn'd Astronomer
Walt Whitman

When I heard the learn'd astronomer;
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me;
When I was shown the charts and the diagrams, to add, divide, and
measure them;
When I, sitting, heard the astronomer, where he lectured with much
applause in the lecture-room,
How soon, unaccountable, I became tired and sick;
Till rising and gliding out, I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

90: Letting Our Light Shine

I've noticed the last couple of evenings that the fireflies in our backyard are at it again, like a yard full of the world's smallest paparazzi.

It's a mesmerizing show and one of the wonders of God's creation.

Here's a fun firefly fact for you: Fireflies give off just about 100% of their light energy as, well, light. By comparison, a normal light bulb gives off only 10% of its energy as light. The remaining 90% is wasted as heat.

Jesus told us to "let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven." [Matthew 5:16]

I heard it said once that, in nature, God makes His own visuals to go with His lessons. I think the firefly may be a great visual (literally) for Jesus' words to us in Matthew 5:16 - a reminder to let 100% of our spiritual light shine.

I have a feeling though, if you're like me, that we tend to be more like light bulbs - wasting our energy and only letting a little of our light shine through. Imagine how bright the bulb in the room would be if allowed to display 100% of its energy as light! Likewise, imagine how effective we would be at combating the darkness of the world around us if we all shone 100%!

So I guess tonight be a firefly. Not a light bulb. :-)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

89: Rambling

Apparently, Amoxicillin IS elephant repellant. Thank goodness. (But I would hope those pills would do something given they are almost the SIZE of an elephant - sheesh!)

But I find myself just as empty-handed as the past several nights when it comes to writing. Life is just tiring lately - I know you know the feeling - and right now writing just feels like one more thing to do. How funny though that it's when I'm on post #89 of 100 I start to feel the burn-out. I thought it would have come earlier. Like post #3 or something. :-)

Oh, I'm enjoying the writing. It's been quite a challenge, but I can honestly say I've enjoyed it and hope to continue writing regularly. Just maybe not every day. Some days are clearly not "writing days". (I nominate today as one of those.)

Anyway - just my rambling thoughts tonight.

(By the way, I finished "Riven" yesterday. Wow. Quite an ending. I literally gasped out loud when I realized where it was headed but I won't spoil it for you in case anyone plans on reading it . . .)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

88: Elephant Repellant

So, it seems that at some point last night an elephant must have sat on my face. The left side between my nose and cheekbone to be exact.

The doctor said it's a sinus infection but I'm not so sure.

Pretty sure there's an elephant loose around here.

I'm hitting the sack - nighty-night. all.

(And hopefully Amoxicillin keeps elephants away.)

Monday, June 22, 2009

87: Soundness of Mind

So I have a vague idea about how Bible translations work - some translate word for word from the original language and (I would imagine most) translate the idea presented into understandable language for the modern audience. (Again, I'm vague on this so corrections or more info always welcome!!)

I recently heard a very familiar verse, 2 Timothy 1:7, read from a different translation than I normally use and literally almost fell out of my seat. In fact, although I very much trust the source from which I heard it I still ran to the computer to double-check my hearing (I love biblegateway.com for many reasons, one being that you can read the same verse in a gazillion different languages and translations.).

Here's how that verse from the New International Version (NIV) that I normally read:

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.


I'm well-acquainted with the beginning of this verse because I struggle so much with fear and anxiety. I have to remind myself over and over that my timidity, fear and anxiousness need to give way to the power available through the Spirit that lives in me!

Timidity/fear traded in for the Spirit's power. Check. Got it. I usually leave the verse there and kind of forget about the "of love and of self-discipline" part.

Until I heard the same verse read from the King James Version (KJV). The translators for the KJV took the idea presented in the original language and came up with a different way to say it:

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.


Sound mind.

Those two words spoke such peace and hope into my restless little soul I could hardly stand it. How I long for a sound mind - a mind not drowning in my own thoughts, fears and worries. And to see that God longs that for me as well - so much so that it's part of the Spirit He's given me - well, that just blows my mind.

I figure I just might not be the only one needing a "sound mind" these days, so I hope this is an encouragement to someone else! (And by the way, Beth Moore is the one I heard teach on this particular translation. I don't want to ever follow just one teacher but that lady has a gift to deliver the Word . . .if you've heard her then you know that's a major understatement!!)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

86: About Those Dads . . .

Happy Father's Day to all you dads, those about to be dads, those who desperately desire to be dads.

To those whose fathers are alive and well here on earth and to those whose fathers are also alive and well, just with their own Father in heaven. (No doubt difficult no matter how much, or little, time has passed.)

What a blessing godly, determined men are to all those around them! Do not underestimate the impact you have, the eternal significance you make in others' lives. It makes a real, tangible difference and generations are affected by your leadership.

(And a Happy Father's Day to my own amazing dad and to my wonderful husband!)

Now for some of my favorite fatherhood quotes . . .

Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope. ~Bill Cosby

It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons. ~Johann Schiller

A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child. ~Knights of Pythagoras

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it. ~Clarence Budington Kelland

To her the name of father was another name for love. ~Fanny Fern


[quotes taken from quotegarden.com, quotations.about.com]

Saturday, June 20, 2009

85: Blah, Blah, Blah

Zero creative juice tonight.

Seems to be happening more often - maybe I'll blame it on summertime . . .

About to watch "A River Runs Through It" with hubby.

Really, really wish I had some Ben & Jerry's.

Will settle for any form of chocolate.

Why am I writing in very short sentences?

Movie time. :-)

Friday, June 19, 2009

84: Food For Thought

Today I had a barely-stomachable lunch (I doubt "stomachable" is even a word but, whatever, it's my blog and I'll make up words if I want to - lol!). The problem is that I had so looked forward to eating it because it used to be one of my favorite meals!

All through high school, college and beyond I have l-o-v-e-d Sonic. (If you don't live near a Sonic I do pity you - think drive-in yumminess with most any drink combination you can come up with.) Specifically I've always loved the same meal: a grilled cheese, french fries and whatever soft drink concoction sounds good at the moment. Usually Ocean Water or Cherry Limeade. Mmmmm.

However, over the past year or so we just really haven't eaten at Sonic much. Actually we haven't eaten out much at all. Partly for health reasons, somewhat for budget reasons and a little because the lack of Tex-Mex (which is a darn good reason). I do love me some good Tex-Mex . . .

Anyway.

Sonic.

The drink was still pretty yummy, although I was more than aware of the amount of red dye I was sucking down with the limeade. Ick.

But the grilled cheese. I haven't had white bread in so long I felt indulgent (and gross) eating it. And the cheese. Was it even real cheese? I'm kind of thinking "pastuerized processed cheese product" is more like it. Only because I paid for it, and I was really hungry, did I get it down.

The fries? I do believe I met my sodium intake for the week with my first two bites. Wowsers. Again, I ate them because I was hungry but I did not enjoy my meal nearly like I anticipated I would.

And, of course, that got me to thinking.

The more I ate Sonic in my younger days the more I became used to the salt, the grease, the "cheese product". And I craved it. But after a little while of not eating it I didn't crave it quite so much. And after even more time, the thing I used to crave and enjoy so much had quite the opposite effect on me.

The food didn't change. My tastes did.

And here's my thought:

Isn't sin the same way?

The more we partake of it, the less it offends our senses. What at first shocks us gradually becomes less shocking, less offensive, less salty to our soul. It becomes normal. We trade in the good cheddar for the cheese product.

So tonight I'm wondering where my spiritual taste needs to change. Where do I need to purge the "junk food" from my soul and feed it the good stuff. The real stuff.

Literally food for thought tonight. :-)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

83: Good Stuff

Sometimes I get so focused on what I'm waiting for that I forget to focus on what God HAS done (which is a LOT - major understatement there).

One example . . . recently it hit me that much of certain behavior coming from my 3 year old was likely stemming from loneliness. (Moving three states over, new baby, preschool was a no-go. She's found a few playmates but no real best buddy. I think that's what she's missing so much.)

This revelation both relieved me (something fixable) and horrified me. My heart ached and I immediately started praying that the Lord would send her a little girlfriend her age that lived close-by. I happened to have Bible study that night so I added it to the prayer requests because my heart was so heavy over it.

The very next morning a sweet girl from Bible study emailed to let me know her 3 year old daughter would love to play.

(Insert jaw dropping to ground here.)

Also, that afternoon our darling neighbor (a few years older and a great "big sister" role) came to play. And then was able to come back the next morning.

And THEN we were able to get together with some of her Sunday school friends this morning.

Um, I think that pretty much took care of the loneliness this week. :-)

Granted, she would still love to have a little best buddy but I took all this as an affirmative "I've got this" from the Lord.

He's so good to us. The creator of the universe cares if my preschooler is lonely.

Love it. Love Him. Thank you, Lord!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

82:Whatcha Reading?

I'm t-i-r-e-d tonight. I'm sure most of you are, too. So here we go, short and sweet:

Whatcha reading these days?

I just started a new book, Riven by Jerry Jenkins. Not sure what I think about it yet. The storyline already has me hooked but it's a bit dialogue heavy. As we used to drill into our students back in my teaching days - "show, don't tell". As in, allude to the facts, describe the environment, use the reader's imagination to draw them into the story. It's much more fun than just outright telling them every detail I think. But, as I said, the storyline's already got me and I'm reading every spare moment I get to find out what happens!

Curious to hear what books y'all's noses are in currently . . .

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

81: Duality

This is short, but I've had a question rattling around in my head all day that I just can't settle:

How do we live in both expectant hope and settled contentment? In other words, how do I faithfully hope for something with my whole heart while trying to fulfill God's purposes in the present - also with my whole heart? It feels a little like trying to be two places at once for me . . .

Thoughts???

Monday, June 15, 2009

80: The Pirate Made Me Do It

I got the best laugh today in the most unexpected place as I was holding for customer service at Shutterfly.

Having tried unsuccessfully for the past hour (in between assorted household crises) to make a certain option for printing work, I decided to give them a call. Not usually how I care to spend my free time during an already hair-pulling-out kind of day.

As I listened to the monotonous recording telling me to press 1 for this or press 2 for that I heard something that made me smile: "Press 6 to listen to these options from a pirate."

What?

I couldn't help it.

I did it.

I pressed "6".

And laughed for the next 30 seconds straight as I heard a scruffy maritime voice tell me to "press 3 if our website makes you feel like walking the plank" or to "press 2 if it looks like your pictures lost a sword fight".

Seriously!

It was totally what I needed today. Not what I expected, but what I needed for sure. :-)

So, thanks Shutterfly for making me feel a little less like pulling out my hair today.

(And just in case you need a laugh, too, call them at 1-888-225-7159 . . . I dare you to press 6.)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

79: Yet I Will Rejoice . . .

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

Habukkuk 3:17-18


I love these verses in Habukkuk.

How many of us have experienced the circumstances of verse 17? (Well, the general idea anyway . . . I can't say I have much experience with sheep pens or tending the fields. And thank goodness - I've always thought I would make a horrible farm girl!) But I'm pretty sure most of us have experienced the disappointment of unfruitful expectations or seemingly hopeless situations. Verse 17 living is a certain condition of existing in a fallen world.

But as common as verse 17 living is, how often do we have a verse 18 response: "yet I will rejoice in the LORD."? And I'm speaking to myself as the most needy hearer of this message tonight. Try putting your own "verse 17" circumstances into the phrasing . . .

Though the job search is unpromising . . .
Though the loved one is no longer on this earth . . .
Though this day seems unending and overwhelming. . .
Though the doctor report is grim . . .
Though the waiting seems unbearable . . .
Though [whatever life is throwing at you] . . .

Yet I will rejoice in the LORD.
I will be joyful in God my Savior.


Verse 18 overflows with hope in the face of less than hopeful circumstances. It reminds us that our joy should be welling up not from the circumstances but from Who is sovereign over those circumstances.

I'm not trying to be trite here. I know there's a lot of pain out there. Life is not easy - that's for sure. But it will swallow us alive if we allow circumstances to dictate our responses. (Again, I can only say that because I've experienced both the disappointment of the things of life but also the deep joy tied to the things of God. The latter is much better - hands down.)

So my prayer for all of us tonight is that regardless of what "your" verse 17 looks like right now, that you will be able to experience a verse 18 response . . .

"Yet I will rejoice in the LORD"

Saturday, June 13, 2009

78: "Wisdom"

While there are certainly many wise people walking the earth, reading through these quotes reminded me that human "wisdom" is not without fault and to remember Who is truly wise . . .

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” — Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), maker of big business mainframe computers, arguing against the PC in 1977.

“A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.” — New York Times, 1936.

“The horse is here to stay but the automobile is only a novelty – a fad.” — The president of the Michigan Savings Bank advising Henry Ford’s lawyer, Horace Rackham, not to invest in the Ford Motor Co., 1903

“The world potential market for copying machines is 5000 at most.” — IBM, to the eventual founders of Xerox, saying the photocopier had no market large enough to justify production, 1959.

“[Television] won’t be able to hold on to any market it captures after the first six months. People will soon get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.” — Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946.

“Nuclear-powered vacuum cleaners will probably be a reality in 10 years.” -– Alex Lewyt, president of vacuum cleaner company Lewyt Corp., in the New York Times in 1955. [That one cracks me up!!!!]

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight.
1 Corinthians 3:19a


[quotes from listverse.com or this link]

Friday, June 12, 2009

77: Really? These Are My Choices?

So after sifting through Father's Day cards at CVS this evening I've come to two conclusions:

1) CVS has really lame Father's Day cards

2) Judging by the majority of cards I saw, society apparently thinks fathers fall into one of the following categories:

a) the beer guzzlers
b) the, um, gas producers (to put it delicately)
c) the potty sitters
d) the lazy remote-control loving
e) some combination of the above

Does this bother anyone else???

Thursday, June 11, 2009

76: Dear Me . . .

Today I came across a box of old pictures that I couldn't help but flip through. As I perused through elementary and junior high memories I couldn't help but think of what I wish I'd known back then.

I know everything is clearer in hindsight, but if 30-Something Me could somehow talk to Teenage Me I think I would tell her:

-Don't worry so much about what people (especially boys) think about you.

-Form an opinion and don't be afraid to share it!

-Grace, not works, honey.

-Don't be so afraid of failure. Or success, for that matter.

-Confidence comes from knowing who you are in the Lord - any other place is sinking sand.

And probably about a gazillion other things.

Which makes me wonder:

Fast-forward fifteen years or so and I wonder, what would my 40-something self want to say to my 30-something self?

(A time-traveling DeLorean would so rock right now . . .)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

75: Blank

I have no idea what to write tonight.

No. Idea.

It's been a long day with a poor, feverish little girl. But also a good day as I saw how the Lord provided peace and comfort (and Tylenol!) throughout the day.

After 15 hours of being mommy I sat down only to realize I hadn't blogged yet today. Hmmm. And try as I might there is no coherent thought forming in this tired little brain of mine.

So tonight I'm just going to say I'm so thankful for the Lord - not only all He provides but for who He is.

And nighty-night. :-)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

74: A Question

I forget where I heard or read the following question, but it was several days ago and it has stuck in my soul ever since:

What would you give up so that others may eat?

The context was raising money to support missionaries serving the poorest of poor in certain regions of Africa. Supplies were running low and demand rising. And the question was asked.

For some reason the phrasing of the question puts a different perspective on the issue. It's not an issue of working it into a budget. It's an issue of what most-likely frivolous item I can do without so that someone else can EAT.

I know times are tough. Money is tight. But when I look around my house and see what we have compared to the great majority of the world, my "tough" times are nothing in comparison.

So I'm asking myself this question several times a day and am wondering if we all asked it - and acted upon it - what lives would be changed. What physical needs would be met so that spiritual ones might be addressed.
The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.
Matthew 25:40


Just some food for thought . . . (mostly for myself).

Monday, June 8, 2009

73: Power

I was reminded of a beautiful truth tonight at Bible study . . .

If you're a believer, when you receive the Holy Spirit ALL of the Spirit resides in you. (Eph 1:13) Not just a little at first. You don't grow into it. He's ALL there. As we grow in our faith we tend to hear Him better but He's a full-time resident all the time.

And when the Spirit is in us - ALL of the Spirit - that means we have ALL the power of the Spirit available to us as well.

So exactly what kind of power is this??

I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms
Ephesians 1:18-20 [emphasis mine]


The very same power that raised Christ from the dead resides in us through the Spirit.

Let that sink in for a second.

Read it again.

Ever feel hopeless? Dead raising power.

At the end of your rope? Dead raising power.

Trapped? Dead raising power.

Confused? Dead raising power.

That gets me all excited just typing it! And now that we know what kind of power resides in us, check out what else the Word has to say about this life-giving, death defying, Spirit-driven source within us: [all emphases mine]

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Romans 5:6

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. I Corinthians 1:18

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being Ephesians 3:16

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Ephesians 6:10

h this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may count you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may fulfill every good purpose of yours and every act prompted by your faith. 2 Thessalonians 1:11

I could literally go on and on. (Do a keyword search on "power" at biblegateway.com and you can read through the whole list if you want more).

The more I read through these verses and come to the realization of Christ's power within me to accomplish His purposes I'm reminded of another verse . . .

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31


AMEN!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

72: Joy

According to our pastor this morning:

Joy = deep, resilient happiness

Resilient happiness . . .

I like that :-)

Saturday, June 6, 2009

71: And Now for Something Completely Different . . .

**so it's Sunday now and I just logged on and noticed you can't even read the right side of the stinkin' graph!!! Just trying to keep you in suspense ;-) It's supposed to say "Making Phone Calls" then "Text Messaging" then "Checking the Time". I know someone out there was losing sleep over this . . .**

Does anyone else ever feel like this?? LOL!!!


song chart memes
see more Funny Graphs

Friday, June 5, 2009

70: Thoughts on Running

Tonight was the perfect - I mean perfect - night for a run. A dusky sunset signaling the last chapter of the day was upon us. A slight coolness just enough to put a flush in my cheeks. Bunny rabbits out for an evening snack, twitchy little noses alert to an intruder and then suddenly little cotton tails are disappearing into the shrubs.

Perfect.

It got me thinking how similar running is to our Christian journey here on earth. (To be fair, I solicited Hubby's - or "Mr. Marathon" as I like to call him - help on this one. I mean, I like to run but he really likes to run . . .)

If not a runner or athlete, Paul must have been in good company with some as he used those topics several times in his letters to make his point.

In 1 Corinthians 9:24 he says,
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.


(I'm pretty sure Paul would have liked ESPN . . .)

So here are our (me and Mr. Marathon) thoughts tonight on physical running and running the Christian race of this life:

-Expect steady growth. It's amazing how quickly my body is able to handle longer distances in such a short amount of time. What I couldn't do a week ago I can do now. What I can't do today I hope to be able to conquer next week. Faith-wise I'm a lot further than I was a few years ago but I sure hope to be stronger in the days to come.

-Reading about it is not the same as doing it. Knowledge is not the same as action.

-Having the right gear doesn't necessarily make you a runner. I could have the latest GPS, most advanced shoes, lightest clothes, etc. but it's still the same pair of legs and lungs having to do the work. Likewise, having the fish sticker on your car, praise music on your iPod, or latest Bible translation is not an indicator of faith. The fruit of your life, however, is.

-Surround yourself with people who will encourage you, especially at crucial points during the race. The ones who actually jump in and run with you for a while are the best.

-Discipline and self-control are a must. Otherwise you will burn-out from pushing too hard or from the boredom of not pushing hard enough.

-A run takes such a small portion of the day yet makes such a huge difference in a person's well-being. Same goes for spending time in the Word! (And don't we drag our feet so many times on both those things?)

-Cliche but true in both instances: the biggest gains often come through some painful, difficult circumstances.

I'm sure we could go on and on. But before this post turns into a, well, marathon I'll leave you with another favorite "running" verse from Paul. I pray with all my heart that when all the hard work of this life is complete, when I spot the finish line to this earthly race that I will also be able to say:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7

Thursday, June 4, 2009

69: Happy List

To be honest it's been a pretty cruddy day. I actually spent the last 15 minutes looking for some inspirational video to post so I wouldn't actually have to write. I didn't find anything. So here I am trying to find something worthwhile to write when I really just feel like curling up under my covers for the next hundred years.

Ironically, what eventually popped in my head was to make a Happy List. You know, ten things to be happy about right now or something bright and sunshiny like that. So in an effort to keep up this 100 posts in 100 days thing going here is my happy list . . . (Did anyone ever see "Man of the House" with Tommy Lee Jones? I can't help but picture him saying, "But this IS my happy face." right now.) Ooh - that can be number one . . .

1. Thinking about TLJ saying "This IS my happy face."

2. Chocolate chips in cupboard calling my name (or, as they should be called, serotonin in a bag)

3. Hubby coming home from work on his white horse to save the day

4. Thinking about my baby girl playing with her toesies - how can that not make me smile?

5. Flip-flop weather

6. My older girl's prayer tonight was beyond precious

7. New plug-ins making the house smell tropical

8. Rain on the roof

9. Ridiculous reality TV

10. DVR - love watching Conan without having to stay up way late (and in my world anything past 9:00 is way late)

Anyone out there want to share what's making them happy right now???

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

68: Waiting. And Waiting . . .

I learned an astounding fact the other night at my Bible study group.

(By the way - YAY for ladies' Bible studies! If you ever have the chance to be a part of one, do it if you can. You will not regret the fellowship and sweet teachings as you press in together to learn more about the Lord! Okay . . .that sound is me stepping off my soapbox now. Anyone ever wonder where that saying comes from? Do people ever really stand on soapboxes to preach??? Sorry, even my digression is digressing now . . .)

Okay - back to that astounding fact I mentioned way up there :-)

Did you realize that David was anointed king of Israel when he was 15 years old?

Now, any guesses on how old he was when he actually took the reins of kingship over all of Israel?

37.

37!!!!

That is twenty-two stinkin' years that the "man after God's own heart" had to wait for a promise from the Lord to come to fruition. How exactly does one receive a promise of royalty one day and go back to tending sheep the next is beyond me!! And I thought MY waits lately had been long.

The Word tells us that:
The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9


The Lord is unfailing. He is not slow or forgetful. That means if I'm in a season of waiting it is by His divine purpose (whether I see or understand that purpose is not imperative to the plan I'm coming to find out). Not that it makes waiting easy. Waiting is so hard. I catch myself (often) thinking that if I just knew the outcome then I could withstand the waiting. And then I'm pretty sure I hear the sound of God rolling His eyes at me. Lovingly, of course. But eye rolling for sure. That's kind of the point of faith I suppose.

I just (selfishly) hope my current season of waiting doesn't last 22 years . . . :-)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

67: Rending Hearts

Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.
Joel 2:13


I stumbled upon this verse while looking for another one. (That happens quite a bit - my curious mind often distracts me from the task at hand.) For whatever reason it caught my eye and, not knowing what "rend" meant of course I had to look it up. Go ahead. Stamp "n-e-r-d" right on my forehead. Hey, I just noticed that "nerd" and "rend" have the same letters. Ah. Now you can go ahead and stamp "B-I-G n-e-r-d" up there.

Anyhow, this is what I got:


Rend
–verb (used with object)
1. to separate into parts with force or violence: The storm rent the ship to pieces.
2. to tear apart, split, or divide: a racial problem that is rending the nation.
3. to pull or tear violently (often fol. by away, off, up, etc.).
4. to tear (one's garments or hair) in grief, rage, etc.
5. to disturb (the air) sharply with loud noise.
6. to harrow or distress (the heart) with painful feelings.
(dictionary.com)


Wowsers - what a powerful word picture!

In the verse from Joel, the Lord was once again beseeching His people to return to Him, offering compassion for sincere repentance, an exchange of forgiveness instead of calamity. Rather than watch the people tear their garments as the traditional (and probably tired) means of showing grief, the Lord wanted to see REAL change.

Not a torn garment, but a torn heart.

Not a meaningless (or as it had become) outward show, but a distressing internal metamorphosis.

We are often critical of the "stiff-necked" Israelites who famously yo-yoed between their Lord and idols/foreigners/themselves. But I am the first to admit I can be pretty darn stiff-necked myself.

And how easy has it become to mutter a few "Please forgive me"s versus allowing our heart to be ripped at our inequity?

Rend our hearts, O Lord!

"The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise."
Psalm 51:17

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sunday, May 31, 2009

65: More of Being Still

Don't you love when it seems a sermon was written JUST for you? That was the case in church this morning. The scripture was Psalm 46 and the theme was about being still regardless of the storm around you.

I think many of us can relate to that topic (especially amidst so much economic uncertainty) and it was certainly true of myself this morning.

As the pastor spoke, he reminded us of the Israelites fleeing their Egyptian captors only to run right into the Red Sea. Enemies closing in behind them, large body of water in front of them. I'm pretty sure no one calmly said, "Hey! Don't worry - I bet God's getting ready to split that thing wide open!" No, I'm pretty sure there was widespread panic. Can you blame them? And to top it off check out what Moses unleashes on them:
Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Exodus 14:13-14


Right.

Can you imagine the reaction of the people to THAT statement? Trapped between two versions of certain death the people are told to BE STILL.

But then the sea parted. And millions of people walked through on dry land. Don't let the familiarity of that scenario overshadow the awesomeness of it. God did something so beyond any solution, any imagined deliverance, that it was obvious GOD was in charge.

I am the worst at imagining myself trapped with no viable solution in sight. This story reminds me that God is on His throne. Always. Just because I can't see or envision a solution doesn't mean one isn't coming. And more than likely it will be something that will make me go, "Yup. That had to be GOD."

Admittedly, it still doesn't make being still any easier. It's not in my (or most of our) nature to stop striving, worrying, fretting. So that's my goal this week. To try to be still every single day. I have a feeling it will be a moment by moment surrender. And maybe that's part of the idea.

(I randomly stumbled upon this video while looking for a different one. I think it was made for a youth meeting or something but still so powerful for any of us. Got my attention for sure . . .)

Saturday, May 30, 2009

64: Love These Books!

I love to read. I mean really l-o-v-e to read! Ever since I was little I've had my nose in a book, a magazine, the newspaper - whatever. These are some of my all-time favorite books . . .

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers: This is one of those books that I absolutely could not put down once I got about three chapters into it. I remember reading it for hours at a time when Hubby was out of town, only putting it down when I absolutely had to - you know to sleep or take care of the girl :-) It's a retelling (of sorts) of Hosea - probably not one of the "most-read" books in the Bible - but the message is unbelievable. It made me see God's love for me in a completely different light. (Actually, I've read most of Ms. Rivers books now and they are all fabulous - the Mark of the Lion series and The Last Sin-Eater are two others I'd recommend!)


Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Oh, Miss Jane. How I love my Jane Austen books! Hubby makes fun of me for reading them over and over. And watching the movies. Over and over. I can't help it! I cycle through all her books regularly but Pride and Prejudice is one of my favorites.


The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis: Although technically "children's books", these classics from C. S. Lewis are brimming with spiritual allegory and deep truths. Another set I cycle through regularly.


Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel: I first read this book in college for an English class and immediately fell in love. It could have something to do with "chocolate" being in the title . . .


Nobody Don't Love Nobody by Stacey Bess: Another one I was introduced to in college, this time in an early childhood course. This is a memoir of a young teacher who ended up (not by her own choice) teaching in a homeless shelter. It induced many tears, chuckles and gasps at reading what she endured. Extremely touching and will make you see deeper into the homeless population and your reaction to them. Although I read it (mumble, mumble) years ago in college days, the story has stayed with me ever since.

As you can see by most of my choices here, I love a really good story. A great narrative whose characters grab hold of you and while you can't wait to get to the end, you still savor every sentence as you read.

As you can also see by the fact I read the same books over and over, I need some new books to read! Any suggestions???

Friday, May 29, 2009

63: More Favorites

Some more recent favorite things . . .

This is the BEST travel toy ever! I recently discovered this for a l-o-n-g car trip and it kept our 3 year old entertained for huge chunks of time. If you're familiar with Crayola Color Wonder products this is similar (special colors only mark on special paper, not on clothing or anything else). The paint (yes, paint! in the car!!) is inside each brush and dries instantly on the paper. No globs, no wet paint. Genius! Also, unlike Color Wonder (where the color only shows up in certain places on the picture, not necessarily on the whole paper) the Elmer's will show up wherever the child wants it to on the paper. Much more creative!

Also a car-trip find. One thing I hate about travel is trying to avoid a completely junky diet, especially for our daughter. Trips are crazy enough without adding blood sugar swings thanks to a fast-food diet away from home. I love these milk boxes! No refrigeration required beforehand, the fun of a juice box plus the nutrition of milk. No more settling for lemonade, juice or water meal after meal. (Although a lot of places offer milk now it's nice to have these on hand just in case.)




In an attempt to be a bit more frugal I've started coloring my hair myself. Could've been scary but I'm loving the result! Wella is the same product they use at my salon but about a gazillion dollars cheaper at Sally's. (Think $5 vs. whatever your salon charges.) My personal favorite right now is 5WR - Allspice :-)

We recently made chocolate chip cookies and I was reminded again how much I loooovvveee Nestle chocolate chips and the classic Toll House recipe! (Um, as evidenced by the great amount of cookie dough I consumed. Don't judge me.) There is no other way to make cookies as far as I'm concerned!

A child who isn't crazy about veggies + strawberry-banana juice that's hiding a serving of fruit AND a serving of veggies in each 8 oz. glass = child who asks for more and more yummy juice and a happy (sneaky) mommy

Thursday, May 28, 2009

62: Birthday Traditions

In celebration of his birthday today, my dear Hubby upheld a tradition he started a few years ago: running 1/4 mile for every year he's been alive.

The first year he did this I thought he was genuinely certifiable. Crazy. Insane.

Okay - I still kind of think that. :-) Last night we were joking that it would have been smarter to start with a high number and subtract 1/4 mile every birthday. Oh well.

But what a cool tradition! (By the way, if you're doing the math that means he ran 32 quarter-miles or . . . 8 stinkin' miles!!! That means when he's 80 he'll need to knock out a 20 mile-er - ha!)

Made me wonder - any one else out there have any fun birthday traditions they do every year???

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

61: A Reminder

Today for her rest time book my daughter chose "What Happens When I Talk to God?" by Stormie Omartian for me to read aloud. (Such a great book by the way! Very biblical, very deep truths put in engaging kid-level terms - not an easy thing to do.)

But I love how this sweet children's book spoke so deeply to me today. On the page discussing how sometimes we don't hear answers from God right away and how difficult that can be, I read these sentences:

"It always helps me to remember that my job is to pray. God's job is to answer my prayer. So I need to do my job and let God do His job"


Oh, yeah.

I kind of forget that sometimes. :-)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

60: The Pleasure's All His

This morning I was reading in Ephesians and ran across a verse that caught my attention.

(Actually, I was re-reading the same four verses over and over again, hoping for some level of comprehension amidst the sleep that was calling my name . . .)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
Ephesians 1:3-6 [emphasis mine]


(Let me digress for minute: We have no office or separate room in this house for our computer, therefore my blogging sessions are prone to a certain little girl's squeals as she rides her "daddy horsey" super fast through the house - which I love by the way. It's just not so conducive to producing fluid thoughts. I actually sat here with my fingers in my ears and re-read - AGAIN - those verses like five times to try to get my writing groove back. But a funny thing happened. The Word of God started seeping into me as I was forced to really, truly concentrate on it and not breeze through a familiar set of verses. As I read and soaked in the Word my heart was filled with pure joy at the reality I was reading . . .let me urge you to read and reread and see if the same doesn't occur to you!)

Anyway.

The phrase that leapt off the page was that God predestined (planned ahead, thought it through, mapped out) our adoption as His children through Christ according to his pleasure and will! Pleasure . . .Will.

Have you ever seen the Passion of the Christ or a similar reenactment of the crucifixion?

Pleasure . . .Will.

Christ willfully submitted to the horror of the cross in order to have the pleasure of calling us his brothers and sisters.

Really?

My human mind cannot wrap around that fact. That is so far above any sacrifice I could comprehend offering even for those I love the most, especially considering who Christ is and who we were when He died for us ("while we were still sinners [liars, cheats, gossips, addicts, selfish, prideful, disobedient, coveters, idol worshipers, greedy, gluttonous, delighting in evil, *ad nauseum*] Christ died for us . . ." Romans 5:8, brackets mine)

Let that truth soak into your spirit today. Christ's sacrifice for you was no accident.

It was his pleasure.

Monday, May 25, 2009

59: Change

I read once that insanity is doing the same thing over and over yet expecting different results.

This popped into my head this morning as I jogged through our neighborhood. (Don't let that deceive you - it was my second run in 3 weeks . . . still working on that post-baby exercise routine thing.)

It dawned on me that so much of why I'm struggling right now is I get frustrated at the current results but yet I'm not doing much to alter those results. So I decided some things have to change around here. Starting with:

I haven't done a real good job carving out time for myself. Hence the running I'm trying to put back into place. Even a quick 10 minute jog outside does wonders for my sanity!

Also, because I'm home most of the day I tend to sit around and be annoyed at the mess that is constantly my companion. While I'm feeding the baby, playing with our 3-year old, watching TV, reading - whatever - it's not relaxing because I'm obsessing over what needs to be dusted, vacuumed, straightened or cleaned. And there is always something.

I've come up with three solutions to this conundrum:
1) stop obsessing over it 2)relax in a different room and 3)hire a housekeeper. :-)

Not sure if I can swing #3 but it's worth looking into. And #1 is much easier said than done but I'll work on it. Number 2 is easy to put into effect. Gotta start somewhere.

My point in all this is sometimes instead of waiting on something to change I'm realizing I need to institute change around me. It may not lead to the result I'm hoping for, but it may lead to some other unexpected great results.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

58: Just a Yellow Bug

At a funeral I once attended, the officiant asked if there was anyone present who had anything to say regarding the deceased or his family. One man who got up made an observation that I will never forget:

He said to suppose that while he was talking that a hornet entered the room. We would no longer be paying attention to anything this man was saying, but instead be focused on the hornet and where he was flying. Why? We would all be greatly concerned with that stinger on the hornet's backside.

Now suppose that the stinger was removed. Would we be concerned any longer? Nope - because now what was once a stinging threat is now just a yellow bug.

The speaker then proceeded to quote 1 Corinthians 15:55 "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?"

Thanks to the sacrifice of our Lord and Savior death no longer has a sting, a victory, for those who believe.

Oh, death is hard to be sure. Just in the past 2 days I've learned of three deaths affecting people I love. They're feeling the sting of loneliness. The sting of missing an important part of their life here on Earth. The sting of life as they know it being dramatically different.

But they are not feeling the sting of death. Of a permanent goodbye. Of hopelessness.

The Lord has removed those stingers and made death to be just a yellow bug. Something to be endured and tolerated for a little while, but not to be feared or given a victory.

Praise the Lord!

(And please be praying for those who have recently lost loved ones. Even though we know death does not hold a permanent victory it is still so, so difficult to endure in the meantime. . .)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

57: Thanking Aloud

At the moment I'm struggling to be positive. I'm usually a fairly positive person (I think) and can see the good, or at least the potential good, in most situations.

But today I don't even feel like looking for the good. I kind of just feel like wallowing around in my murky feelings for a while. Problem is that's exactly what the enemy would want me to do. Now, I'm not saying we should go around trying to be Pollyanna all the time - there is a time and season for all emotions.

However, I know myself. I know that if I spend a little time digging a hole of discouragement and pity it quickly becomes a gaping crater with a big "Welcome Home" banner tacked on the dirt-caked walls. Um, I've been there a few times.

So. In an effort to sidestep the said crater I'm reminded of a tactic a read on one of my favorite blogs once: Whenever feeling especially grumpy, sad, overwhelmed, frustrated, etc., try thanking the Lord out loud for something - anything - concerning the situation.

I love one of the examples she gave of hating to do laundry but thanking the Lord out loud for a washing machine to at least make it easier to accomplish. Hate to clean house? Thank the Lord you have a home to clean. Frustrated in traffic? Thank the Lord for a safe journey so far, a car to drive, etc.

I've tried doing this for a whole day and I was amazed - both at how many grumpy thoughts I was having to combat and also how much I have to be thankful for that I overlook daily. Hmmmm . . . it kind of sounds like that "take captive every thought" thingie mentioned in the Bible.

Anyway - I plan on putting this weapon to use as I fight this battle with negativity today. Just thought I'd pass it along in case anyone else needs a battle plan, too.