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


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!)


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.


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.

Friday, May 22, 2009

56: Home

At the moment I'm in the middle of a cross-state journey with bittersweet feelings.

I've been visiting my hometown that I dearly love for the last (almost) 3 weeks. I could've stayed forever.

Except my wonderful hubby is waiting for me in our current city of residence and 3 weeks was way too long without him. Hence the reason I didn't stay forever.

Which leaves me in a bind at what I consider "home". Home is where I grew up, but it's also where I currently reside. Home is where my loved ones are - although they're in two different cities. If home is where my heart is, it is split in two.

So while I'm bouncing between two "homes" here on earth I'm reminded that I have an unchanging heavenly Home awaiting me.

And when I get there I have a feeling I will know that I'm HOME. My heart, my loved ones, my Savior will all be residing in the same place. What a lovely concept. :-)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

55: My King

Another one that's been around for a while, but oh so good! That's MY King!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

54: Here Comes Summer

It's taking some kind of discipline to sit down and post right now because, frankly, the pool is calling my name! :-) I'm at a friend's house at the moment and am taking full advantage of her lovely oasis out back.

I love this time of year. I think it stems from school days when May was filled with Field Day, field trips and a general feeling that summer (freedom!) was just around the corner.

These days my routine doesn't change so much depending on the season, but I can't shake that feeling of excitement at summer being right at hand. Ah, summer . . .Flip-flops, homemade ice cream, throwing on shorts and a t-shirt, going barefoot outside, the 4th of July, locusts singing at dusk approaches and fireflies putting on a show.

But you know what? I think I feel this way at the beginning of every season. It seems that just as I'm tiring of the heat/the cold/the rain/whatever a different season is right around the corner.

I love that the good Lord provided us with such a variety of His creation to marvel at every season!


Time to answer the pool's siren song . . .

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

53: My Current Favorite

I can't say that I have an all-time favorite verse in the Bible. There are too many great ones that speak to me at different times in my life depending on my circumstances or something the Lord is trying to teach me. I don't actively try to find favorite verses. Sometimes I run across one in my reading that just sticks out to me. Most often it's a verse that, for a season, continually pops into my head.

My current favorite verses are of that last variety, consistently making their way into my thoughts - no doubt a product of the Spirit and this particular season I'm in right now:
For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,"
declares the LORD.

"As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts."
Isaiah 55:8-9

I'm caught in one of those seasons of waiting. Wanting something very much but having to wait upon the Lord for his timing and direction. These verses in Isaiah are my constant companion when I start speaking Why-nese (or really whine-ese) to the Lord about this situation. Sometimes I get so tangled up in my emotion and what-ifs that I'm actually thankful the decision is not mine to make, because I don't trust myself enough to get it right.


Anyone else want to share their current (or even all-time) favorite verse?

Monday, May 18, 2009

52: My Redeemer

So, this video has been around for quite some time but I wanted to post it in case someone's not seen it.

Even if it's been a while you might enjoy watching it again. Father's Day is still a month away but this is such a beautiful picture of the unconditional love a father has for his son. And let it be a reminder that we ALL have a Father who went to extremes for us as well . .

(For more info about Dick and Rick Hoyt and their incredible story go here.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

51: That's My Kid

My oldest daughter has a lot of, shall we say, spunk. Although it presents various challenges in day-to-day tasks I truly love her personality. I wouldn't trade it for anything. It's just so her.

Admittedly though, sometimes I'm exasperated and I might vent to someone about the latest "adventure" in our household. But I'm her mother - I love her unconditionally.

Recently, however, someone else made what I perceived to be a negative comment about this particular character trait in my daughter. And even though I've probably vented about the very same thing my first thought was, "Hey! Back off - that's my KID you're talking about!"

Funny how that mama bear in me shows her teeth every now and then. :-)

Then I couldn't help but wonder if God maybe thinks the same way about us sometimes. I'm pretty sure I exasperate my Father sometimes (a lot). And my way of doing things tends to interfere with God's day-to-day plans for me (a lot).

However, I kind of like to think that when the enemy tries to attack my Father might respond with, "Hey! Back off - that's my KID!"

It astounds me that we are called children of God, and siblings of Christ . . . Thank you, Lord!!
The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.
Romans 8:16-17

Saturday, May 16, 2009

50: Remember Those. . .

"Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering."
Hebrews 13:3

This morning I ran across this verse and was immediately convicted.

A while back I wrote some posts regarding the persecution of our brothers and sisters around the globe. At the time I was so on fire for them, praying daily and set on making others aware of the atrocities they face for their faith.

But, honestly, over time that zeal has faded into the background. I haven't been back to look at the persecution website since then.

This verse really got to me this morning, however. Even if I have forgotten about it for a time, the persecution still rages on around the world. We are blessed not to have to endure such things here - thank the Lord - but that does not lessen my responsibility to those who cannot say the same.

So I'm feeling a renewed sense of urgency for Christians around the globe and hope you do as well. Go check out this website or Google some others. And above all, pray, pray, pray.

Friday, May 15, 2009

49: Joy

There was a moment today, a glorious moment.

It was such a busy day - a good day - but busy nonetheless.

Constant motion all day long.

And then this afternoon I stopped. For just a moment.

And looked up.

I noticed the clear blue sky, clouds of cotton. The incredible red-orange color of the nearby blossoms that Crayola couldn't capture if they tried.

And I smiled.

Immediately I felt calmer, more relaxed and a sense of joy over God's creation washed over me.

I can't help but think that sometimes in my busy-ness I'm so captivated by what's immediately around me that I forget to look UP.

There's a mighty big world out there much broader than my immediate circumstances . . . and I thank the Lord for that.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

48: Vacation Fun

It's a beautiful sunny day outside (finally) and it's got me in vacation mode.

BUT since I'm not headed to white sand and turquoise waves anytime soon I figure we can relive some awesome vacation memories today.

So hard to choose . . . however I think one of my personal favorite memories is when Hubby and I went snorkeling for the first time on our honeymoon in Jamaica. Um, have I mentioned my deep fear of all things ocean?

Well, I didn't want to be Debbie Downer and miss out. Okay - maybe I could have missed out but I didn't want Hubby to miss out. He is Mr. Adventure. We are the very picture of opposites attracting in the risk-taking department!

So I decided to take the plunge - literally - and give snorkeling a try. What about putting myself in the middle of the ocean (the home of Jaws as far as I'm concerned) with ridiculous fins on my feet and a tube shoved in my mouth made me think I would like the experience, I don't know. Blame it on the honeymoon I suppose. Clearly I was not thinking straight!

As we jumped in, Hubby was off like a shot diving down to explore probably assuming I was right behind him. (Blame that one on being newlyweds. After 8 years of marriage he would not make this mistake now. He wouldn't even ask me to get on the boat . . .)

Well, I wasn't right behind him.

I was frantically paddling water having a full-fledged anxiety attack.

Feeling like you can't breathe in the middle of the ocean is probably not a good thing. Thankfully, the guide on the boat noticed and swam to me. Being Jamaican and around water all the time I'm sure he thought I was ridiculous but he kindly stayed with me and then helped me back to the boat. His name?

Wait for it . . .

Mel Gibson.

Not the Aussie movie star. But really, truly that was our guide's name. Gotta love that.

So from then on I was able to tell people that Mel Gibson rescued me in Jamaica. :-)

Anyone else got a favorite vacation memory to share???

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

47: Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are!

I'm officially declaring today Delurking Day here :-)

FYI - "lurking" is blog-speak for regularly reading a blog but not leaving comments. Not a bad thing- I do it myself on several blogs- but I sure would love to know who might be reading this little bloggy of mine.

So even if you usually don't comment, feel free today to leave one just saying, "Hi!" I'd love to see who all is out there.

And I promise never to make you comment again. :-)

(If you're not sure how to leave a comment, at the bottom of each post there's a link that states how many comments have been left. So if 5 people have left comments it would say "5 comments" right now. Click on it. It will take you to a page where you can see other people's comments and you can leave your own. You can even leave one anonymously if you want!)

Happy Delurking!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

46: My Little Theologian

About a year or so ago we started reading a children's Bible story to our 3-year-old before bed. I figured it was a good way to get her in the Word daily and start planting those seeds.

Tonight the story was about how King Hezekiah had his men smash all the idols in the city. He knew God's rule about only worshipping God.

This led to an interesting discussion about idols ("Did they help?" "No, baby. They weren't real. They were just big statues - like big rocks." "But rocks are real." "Okay, I meant 'real' like 'alive'" "Oh.") which in turn led to an interesting discussion about God and Jesus.

Although we've had the conversation about "where is Jesus?" many times I know we'll have it several more. It's a very abstract concept for a preschooler. The explanation I like to give (I forget where I got it but certainly not my own head!) is how you can't see the wind but you know it's there because you see what it does - moves the leaves and trees- and feel it on your skin. We can't see Jesus with our eyes right now but we see what he does all around us and we can feel him in our hearts.

Sometimes that explanation suffices. But other times we go around and around . . . "Where is Jesus?" "He's everywhere." "But I can't see him. Where is he?" "He's everywhere." "But I can't see him . . ." You get the picture.

Tonight we were having this circular discussion once again when my daughter resolved it like only her sweet little mind could:

"Maybe he's in the car."

Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!

I love how little minds work and how God continually uses them to humble us "grown-ups". Thank you, Lord, for our little ones!
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure."
Luke 10:21

Monday, May 11, 2009

45: Mad Haiku Skills

Watching Medium
Pretty sure will have nightmares
Where's my teddy bear?

(thank you, thank you very much . . .lol!)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

44: Happy Mother's Day to . . .

those of you that are blessed to be holding your babies (no matter how old) here on earth

those of you that love a child beyond reason or logic, so much so that you think your heart might explode sometimes

those of you that have that kind of love for a child whether or not they grew in your womb, whether or not you're even related

those of you that have little ones in the presence of our Lord right now even if you never got to hold them or weren't able to hold them for long

those of you that long so much for a child it quite literally hurts (they will have the thrill of knowing they were loved and mothered before they ever existed)

those of you who are longing for your own mother, whether death, circumstance or distance separates you

Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:

"Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all."

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.

Proverbs 31:28-30

((Happy Mother's Day, Mom!! I am so blessed to have you for a mother . . . thank you just for being YOU!))

Saturday, May 9, 2009

43: Priceless

Today two people I love received a free present that meant more to them than anything money could buy.

My daughters and I are home for a while visiting family and friends. Being Mother's Day weekend my incredible husband decided to fly here - to see us, yes, but more so to surprise his mother and sister.

It was almost impossible to keep the information to myself. I knew they were missing him terribly - especially his mom this weekend - and it was so difficult not to spill the beans.

But I held fast and kept the secret.

And it was ssoooo worth it.

At Hubby's request, I had set up a lunch with his mother and sister to celebrate Mother's Day and also his sister's birthday. Little did they know that I would pick Hubby up from the airport this morning and that he would be in the restaurant waiting for them.

The looks on their faces, their reactions - absolutely priceless.

One had pure joy, the other pure shock that dissolved into pure joy.

His presence was worth more to them than anything he could have purchased.

So it made me start wondering about the best free present I ever received. I have some thoughts . . . but I want to know yours. :-)

How about it - what's the best free present someone ever gave you?

Friday, May 8, 2009

42: Knock, Knock . . .

Because sometimes, somedays, this is as deep as my thoughts go . . .

Knock, Knock

Who's there?

Interrupting cow.

Interrupting c. . . MOO!


I may have, just might have, gotten this from a preschool cartoon. Not that I'm confessing to such a thing. . . Don't we all need a stupid laugh every now and then? :-)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

41: Stuck

Today was one of those days that needed prayer. I mean needed prayer.

There was one situation after another that I should have brought before my Father.

And, yet, I didn't.

Not that I didn't want to. I did - really, I did. I tried numerous times to pray today.

I just couldn't. Not sure if I was tired, too busy, under attack or all of the above but I just couldn't get a decent prayer out of my mouth.

I felt stuck. Either all that would fall out of my mouth were standard, half-hearted cliches or I would get so distracted a few sentences in that I would start and stop until I forgot why I started.

Anybody else been there? Wanting to pray, but nothing happening? How did you get yourself "unstuck"????

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

40: Blessed Assurance

Reading through Hebrews yesterday morning I came upon these verses:
19Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, 20by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, 21and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. 23Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

Hebrews 10:19-23 (emphasis added)

Confidence in the blood of Jesus.

Drawing near to God in full assurance of faith.

He who promised is faithful.

Blessed Assurance!

Hmmm. . . I seem to be on a hymn kick these days. :-) As soon as I read this passage though, this song burst into my head.

Blessed Assurance was one of my Grandma's favorite hymns while she was still with us here on earth. I clearly remember her singing it impromptu from her wheelchair once while visiting her nursing facility. That kind of spur of the moment song comes only from a heart bursting with what they believe, and fully believing every word of it. Coming from the lips of one nearing the end of her days here with us, Blessed Assurance was not just a beautiful hymn. It was a promise fulfilled. A reminder of faith about to become sight.

When the days are hard, let us remember the words of Hebrews (and the song it inspired). That we are to draw near to God in full assurance of faith. He who promised IS faithful! Blessed, blessed assurance indeed!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

39: When We All Get to Heaven

Sing the wondrous love of Jesus
Sing his mercy and his grace
In the mansions bright and blessed
He'll prepare for us a place

When we all get to Heaven
What a day of rejoicing that will be!
When we all see Jesus
We'll sing and shout the victory

This is another one of those songs seared in my childhood Sunday morning memories. I always loved this song because it's, well, happy! (If you've never heard it, Google it or search on iTunes and see if you can hear a snippet.) And if singing about anything should bring a smile to our face, it should be a song about Heaven!

Tonight as I was tucking my 3 year old into bed she informed me that she didn't want to go to Heaven. (We had just finished reading the kids' version of Jesus telling Nicodemus that anyone who believes in him would have eternal life - John 3) When I told her how wonderful it would be because everyone she loves would be there she immediately perked up. Then came the peppering of questions. Would Aunt so-and-so be there? Yes, baby, because she knows Jesus she'll be there! What about Daddy? Yes, Daddy knows Jesus, too!

And on and on it went. What a blessing to stop and realize what a gift God has given us in eternal life. It made me excited to be able to assure my daughter the people she loves will be with her in Heaven because they love Jesus, too. It also made me want to ensure that everyone I love also loves Jesus and will be there, too.

Heaven - what a day of rejoicing that will be!!!

Monday, May 4, 2009

38: Second Verse

While I was researching the history behind It Is Well With My Soul (see previous post), I stumbled upon the second verse which, for whatever reason, I had never heard before although we always sang all the other verses growing up in church.

It never ceases to amaze me how God chooses to work. How a song inspired by Him, written over 135 years ago would speak so strongly to my own heart today.

The second verse:
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

Blest assurance.

No matter what scheme Satan tries to pull, no matter what trials enter my life, Christ is no stranger to my situation. To my "helpless estate". And not only is he no stranger to my circumstance, He died - died and rose again! - for my very soul.

And that "blest assurance" is what should always be in control.

"Praise the Lord, O, my soul!" Psalm 146:1

Sunday, May 3, 2009

37: It Is Well

I love to sing to our 3 month old especially while she eats. It's so peaceful for both of us (and this is that relatively small window of time that I can sing to my girls before they start holding their ears or rolling their eyes). More often than not one of the traditional hymns I grew up hearing in church comes to mind. As much as I love contemporary worship music, these hymns are comfort food to my soul.

The other day It Is Well With My Soul came to mind:

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot
Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, It is well with my soul

Horatio G. Spafford was a well-known Chicago lawyer in the 1860s. But It Is Well With My Soul was not a product of an affluent businessman. It was that of a heartbroken, but faithful, husband and father.

After scarlet fever claimed their 4 year old and the great Chicago fire wiped out all his real estate holdings in the area, Mr. Spafford decided to take holiday with wife and remaining four children, all girls, to England. When business threatened to delay the trip, Mr. Spafford decided to send his wife and daughters on ahead and he would follow on the next steamer out.

He never saw his daughters again.

The vessel Spafford's family had boarded collided with another ship en route and sank in only 12 minutes. His wife clung to their children only to have them ripped away by the chaotic waters. She herself only survived when a plank came under her and kept her unconscious body above the water. Miraculous.

Spafford immediately boarded the next available ship to join his bereaved wife in England. When the captain informed him they were passing over the site of the sunken vessel, where his four daughters perished, the grieving father went to his room and wrote the now beloved hymn.

When sorrows like sea billows roll.

It is well.

Only a heart truly captured by the Lord's mercy and love could write such peaceful lyrics in the midst of such grief.

"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." John 14:27

(history of hymn gathered from

Saturday, May 2, 2009

36: Some Favorites . . .

A few of my favorite things right now:

I usually buy the cheap disposable razors - although I have learned to at least buy Gillette because the store brands completely wreck havoc on my legs. The last pack I bought came with a free sample of the Venus disposable so I decided to give it a try. Up to this point I had not fallen for the whole 10 blade (or three anyway), quadruple moisture strip, blah, blah, blah marketing on this thing. Could it really be that much better? Really? Tried it. Ahhhhhh . . . .I've never been so in love with a razor. Sold.

Do I really need to explain this one? So good, so good. And it's frozen yogurt so it's kind of, sort of, a little better than ice cream. That's MY rationale anyhow. The Chocolate Fudge Brownie is delish, but I'm partial to Half-Baked . . . half CFB and half chocolate-chip cookie dough. Wonder if the store is still open . . .

It's been forever since I shopped in Old Navy - it seems like for a while there everything was too low cut or too short. I went the other day in an effort to find post-baby clothes that actually fit and look stylish (well, for me anyway) without making me look like a mom (i.e. high waist in order to hide awesome muffin-top). YAY for Old Navy!!! I was pleasantly surprised that the shorts were a decent length, the shirts were long enough and not cut down to my belly button and there was a huge SALE. My self-esteem is restored :-)

This is my new, cheap eye makeup remover. I used to wear waterproof mascara all the time and have to buy pricey remover to get the stuff off. I switched to regular mascara and saw on the internet that baby shampoo works wonders to get eye makeup off gently and effectively. Whadya know - it works amazingly! And for $2 (or less) for a bottle that will last several months if not a year - what a bargain!

Seriously THE best french fries ever. Once I start eating them it is impossible to stop. If I can't have my Tex-Mex here in Georgia at least I can nosh on these. Mmmmmmm . . .

What are some of y'all's favorite things right now?? (And, yes, "y'all's is totally correct plural possessive in Texas.)

Friday, May 1, 2009

35: Spring Is . . .

Finally being able to wear flip flops again instead of "real shoes"

A smile on my face as soon as I step outside - and wishing I'd gotten outside sooner in the day

God's visual that death (winter) is not the end but rather a passageway into new life

Open windows and a cool breeze breathing fresh air into the staleness

Watching dormant shubbery burst into technicolor hues and long-forgotten bulbs making their appearance

An awakening

What's Spring to you?