Sunday, August 31, 2008

Instead of following our tiny, tiny plans, God wants to open heaven and flood us. It's exciting.
--Evelyn Christenson

Saturday, August 30, 2008

today

Went on a picnic today with extended family including Momstheword and QOTW.  We all had a nice time.  Lots of mosquitos and yellow jackets, though. But the weather was good and the people were silly and that's what it's all about.

This evening I spent some time with some friends.  One of them lives in Houston and is in the area for a visit and another friend I only see when the Houston friend is in town, even though she lives in the area.  More of an acquaintance, I guess she is.  And the other two I keep in touch with. Friends from my old town.  It was a nice time.  

All in all, a good day, in spite of a dozen bug bites.

Friday, August 29, 2008

history


As you may know, I'm not a big fan of politics.
So, I didn't listen to Obama's speech last night.
But I'll tell you what.  Regardless of my personal opinions of the man, (and I do have some), I do think it is pretty cool to see this happen.  I was born in the middle of the sixties.  Race riots, segregation, civil rights campaigns were all the news back then.  And in my lifetime, (which hasn't been that long) we've gone from "blacks in the back"  to an African American running for president.
No matter what your politics, you've got to admit, it's pretty nice to see how far we've come.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

New post at Books and Starbucks.

Also, please go to Jan's blog, Bold and Free and pray for her little nephew who is having a kidney transplant today.  She has a little slide show.

thursday thirteen

Thirteen of the best candies from my childhood.  Notice there is no chocolate.  Chocolate goes without saying and may have a TT of its own sometime.

Gobstoppers may have been my ultimate favorite.

I liked apple, watermelon and FireStix flavors the best!  And the stix were way better than the little chunky things.
Makes me pucker just to think of these.

I had a real love/hate relationship with these things.  The wax was so nasty and then the liquid was good and yet strong and I wasn't sure I really  liked it, but it WAS candy, after all.
Zotz were awesome.  They had something fizzy and sour in the middle.

Candy and Jewelry combined!  How could you go wrong?
My favorite was the root beer cap.
We could be so cool, at six.
I really only ate these when there wasn't any better choice.  I particularly associate them with garages.  We would take the car in for whatever, (how should I know) and they had those machines you could put a penny in and get a handful of candy.  Often, these were the only offering and so I would, of course, have some.  They are candy, after all.

What kid doesn't like Pixy Stix?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

what color glasses?

I am so incredibly tired.  So we are doing a quiz today.  I was surprised at how accurate this little deal is.  What do you think?  Sound like me?
What are your results?  Do they fit you?






You See the World Through Blue Colored Glasses



You live your life with tranquility. You have faith that things will work themselves out with time.

You judge all your interactions through the lens of hope. You try to get all the facts before forming your opinion.



You face challenges with wisdom. You know that all bad things pass, and you have the confidence to see problems through.

You see love as the utmost expression of trust. Your relationships tend to be peaceful and stable.



At your worst, you can be cool, melancholy, and detached. You sometimes have to step back from emotionally charged situations.

You are at your happiest when you are able to reflect and relax.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

politics


I guess everyone knows that we are having the Democratic Convention here in Denver this week.  If you are interested in that, my friend Jan at Bold and Free is actually participating and sharing on her blog.

I really am not interested in Politics.  I was a little more interested earlier in the campaign when there were some choices.  But now that it's narrowed down to bad or worse, well... I'm just tired of hearing about it all.  

I'm not an anarchist or anything.  And no matter who the President is, I don't like all the jokes and crude stuff that's out there.  I think the position itself warrants some level of respect.  Seems like that's been lost.  Sure we are free to say whatever we want, but I think the general attitude about the Presidency is kind of sad.  I don't know how many people use that as the ultimate of possibilities for their kids anymore.

I am thankful for our freedom and for our voice.  I am so grateful that I can vote and I do vote.  I just don't particularly want to talk about it, or hear about it, or watch it on TV.  That isn't interesting at all to me.  

I would like for it to go something like this:
Here are the candidates and here is where you can get info about their history - what they've done, where they stand.  Then nothing.  Shhhh.  Just leave us alone to think about it. No more campaigns.  It's all based on what they've done, not what they say they will do.  Then it's vote day.  Silence.  Nothing until all the votes are counted.  Then they announce the winner and we go on with our lives!  That would be cool.

Monday, August 25, 2008

close encounters

We talk so much about the goodness of God and His grace and mercy.  We call Him Abba and run to Him and climb in to His lap.  All of this is good and right.  It is Scriptural and true.

But I think we have neglected the fear of God.  I think we forget how powerful and awesome and just and fierce He is.  

Have you ever trembled in His presence?  I hadn't.  Not until yesterday morning.  We were singing a song about the veil being torn and being able to enter into the Holy of Holies and I just love all of the symbolism in that.  And as usual I was so full of gratitude and joy that I can come into God's presence on my own, when suddenly I felt overwhelmed by his God-ness and the thought came to me, "why on earth would I want to?"  

I was stunned by His majesty.  I was in awe.  I was humbled and I was physically trembling.  Not with fear for my life.  Not because I am a worm.  Simply because He sits on a throne from which flows the river of life and a river of fire.  Beside Him sits a lamb, with hair white as wool and eyes like lightening and  a voice of thunder.  Angels surround his throne and He is beyond description.  Moses could not look upon His face and live.  Throughout scripture people fall down as though dead at the sight of the Angel of the LORD.  This is the God who's presence I want to enter?  

It was an amazing experience.  It is wonderful to serve such a gracious, loving God and that wonder is multiplied when I think of what He is capable of.  When I am given the tiniest glimpse of His glory.  When I realize his fearsomeness and yet know that He wants me there.  He wants me to enter in.
I hesitated to share the experience for fear that I can't do it justice; for fear that you will not understand.  But I wanted to try.

Later in the day we had tornado warnings.  That's very rare for Colorado, especially this part of Colorado.  Around seven funnel clouds were spotted and three touched down.  Funnel clouds were spotted in our neighborhood and one of the tornados was in our town.  There was no damage, thank God.  
The thing is, I have always been absolutely terrified of tornados.  I've always dreaded the thought of being anywhere near one.  And yet, throughout the entire time, I had complete peace.  I don't think my heartbeat even increased.  No trembling.  Just peace; sitting in my Abba's lap.

God is awesome.  He is incredible.  I pray that He continues to remind me of that.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

glad that's over

Thirteen years ago today was a Thursday.  I wasn't having much fun.  I had been in the birthing center for nineteen hours already, in labor, but still not in hard labor.  Still not even dilated to a 4 (the point at which it's considered full labor)!

Her due date was the 7th.  Yes, the 7th.  Well, I wanted to do everything naturally.  I had a "plan."  No drugs, no interventions at all.   Let God do it His way, was my thought.
Well, the 7th came and went and they told me I had to go in and be induced about a week later, so I went in, they started contractions, but nothing more happened and they sent me home.

I insisted that I didn't want to be induced again, so I had to go in to the office every day and have a stress test, (for the baby, not me) and an ultrasound.  Finally on the 23rd they said that the amniotic fluid was diminishing; conditions in the womb were deteriorating and we couldn't wait any longer.  They wanted me to go in that evening to start the induction.  I still don't know why they couldn't have waited until morning!

So I went in and they started labor easily enough; I didn't even need the Pitocin. So I was awake all night having contractions and being excited.

The next day my nurse midwife, whom we loved, came in and was with me as much as she could be in spite of the fact that it was her day off and she was in the middle of divorce proceedings. (Turned out that she didn't even get paid for that day because she didn't get to do the delivery.  The one who delivers gets the money.)
Well, I won't go into details, but suffice to say, I had interventions.  I had things done to me I hadn't even heard of before.

I finally broke down and got the epidural, more out of exhaustion than anything else.  The pain wasn't severe, but it was so constant and I was worn out.  I was losing my ability to cope.

Then the baby's heart beat started dropping -- more interventions.  Finally I dilated to a 4 and for the first time the NM was able to evaluate the position of the baby.  She felt a nose.  Now, a baby is not supposed to be born nose first.  In fact it was impossible with the position she was in.

So 26 hours after I went into the Birth Center, my lovely, silly little girl was born via C-section.  She was the most pitiful looking thing I had ever seen.  In fact those were my first words to her. "Oh, you poor pitiful little thing."  She still has some tiny little scars on her face from her birth.  Her face was swollen and the Nurse Midwife warned me before they showed her to me so I wouldn't freak out.  

Now, this may seem like a horror story, but I never share it as one.  My point is that even with all I went through, it wasn't so bad.  A C-section isn't the end of the world.  She still got born. The whole thing was much harder on my family than it was on me.  Mostly, I was just tired!

So, now I have this lovely girl who has filled our life with thought provoking questions, deep insight, and wisdom.  She still likes to do things her own way.  She is her own person and has been since the moment I first lay eyes on her.  I knew then that she was wiser than I am.  I have never felt more intimidated in my life, I think.  She's a joy and a blessing and we are so grateful for our girl!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

moving on


Can time stand still for just a minute?  

When you first get your kids, everyone says how much time will fly and you think, (ok, I thought) "I wish!"  When you're in the middle of diapers and goo and spit up and crying, and later when there are tantrums and fighting and stubbornness and violence- against- mothers, and later...  well, it just seems like time can't go fast enough.
But here I am looking at the last day that my daughter will be a kid.  Starting tomorrow she is a teenager.  In some cultures, an adult.  
Every older mother warns the new moms and every new mom ignores the older mother.  Time fly?  Are you kidding?

Well it has flew.  
I find myself now, before it is completely too late, hanging on to the moments.  Savoring them.  Staring at my children and trying to memorize them.
It's like trying to catch falling jello.  You can't stop it.  But I will make the most of the time I have left.  

And this brings up a pet peeve.  It drives me absolutely nuts when I mention having a teenager and other moms give me all these condolences and warnings.  Ok, maybe once again they know what they're talking about.  But on the other hand, it isn't very positive or encouraging.  Surely there are positive things about teenagers that people could focus on instead.  It's not as if I have any choice in the matter.  I will have to parent teens.  So can't those who've gone before encourage and cheer instead of shaking their head and tsking?
When I know a pregnant women, I don't tell her how dreadful labor will be.  When I see a woman with a two year old I don't give her horror stories about 3 and 4 year - olds!  

Anyway, enough of that.  
I am looking forward to the coming years.  I am eager to watch this amazing child develop into a grown woman.  I am fascinated by her and even though we are already seeing changes -- more time in her room on-the-phone, attitudes, etc -- they are a natural progression of independence.  All she's doing it trying to grow up.  And I really have no choice but to let her, even though I sometimes want her to be the cute little tyke she used to be.  There's no going back.  Forward Ho!

Friday, August 22, 2008

how to handle a hormonal woman


This is for those of you who have to put up with these issues, whether in a wife, sister, girlfriend, or whatever.  And it's even for you women who don't have these struggles yourselves.  I know that there are some blessed women who have no idea what all the fuss is about.

First off, I will admit that there may be no right way to handle a hormonal woman.  It doesn't just seem as if nothing you do is right - it's true.  Sometimes nothing you do is right.  And while I can only speak for myself - I'm sorry.  That is a terrible place to be.  And I not only know what it is to be the woman suffering, I also know what it is like to be around a woman, suffering.

~ Understand that it is real.  This isn't just a monthly excuse to be a biddy.  Do some research and see what the underlying physiological processes are.  Or not.  But please, don't belittle it.  I realize it is hard to understand.  Women themselves have complicated the issue.  Feminists want to pretend this doesn't exist.  I know there are all kinds of mixed messages out there.  But the facts are available.

~ "Just love her..." That is Henry Higgens' solution, (My Fair Lady) for handling a woman - and it is also true if that woman is spitting nails.

~ Just because a woman is screeching and has lightening coming out of her eyes doesn't mean a hug wouldn't be welcome.  But then again, it might not. I suggest you ask first.  Perhaps just say, "hug?".  

~Give her time and space.  Especially if she is an introvert.  Let her just be alone.  You take the kids out for a couple of hours, or at least let her go to bed at 6:00 and you deal with everything.  Maybe a reservation at the nearest 5 star hotel.  That would do wonders!
On the other hand, if she is an extravert, she might prefer some time out with her friends.

~ Try to eliminate irritations.  If the kids are fussing, run interference - for the sake of everyone.  If you know noise bothers her, try to keep it down as much as possible.  Get the idea?  It sounds like I'm asking an awful lot, but you have as much to gain as anyone, right?

~Don't take any of it personally.  If you offer a hug and she says, "are you kidding?"  It is not personal.  Chances are she feels like she is in an oven and the last thing she needs is physical contact.  The grumpiness, anger, tears, etc, all really have nothing to do with you.  

~Not every emotion a woman has is because of hormones.  If you are being a jerk, chances are she's upset because you're a jerk.

~ Be patient.  If you have a history of being condescending about this issue, it's going to take her a while to accept your sincerity.

~ Really just try to understand that this is totally beyond her control.  I personally would rather have severe pain, than to have this emotional upheaval.  It's horrible.  I hate snapping at my loved ones.  I hate crying over every little thing.  It's horrible.

~ Talk to her.  Ask her what you can do that will help her.  Just knowing you want to help will mean a lot.  Then do whatever it is she suggests.  Unless of course, she says "drop dead."

It may be hard for her to tell you what she needs.  She may not know herself.  Or, I know I sometimes feel so guilty for being so horrible that I would feel even more guilty asking for something.

What it's like:
20,000 little spiders crawling around on my brain.  At night, they crawl on my skin, too.  
There is a lot of pressure in my head, as if I'm coming down with a cold, but it never turns into a cold.  Just fluid build up, is my guess.  
Mild body aches as if coming down with something.  Everything is tender.  It is a bad time to go to the dentist as the gums are very tender and more likely to bleed.  It is not the best time for a massage.
Heat as if I have a fever or I'm standing in front of a open hot oven.
And more.  I will spare you all of the details.  Just know that on top of the emotional problems, there are often physical symptoms as well.

TLC is the best remedy.  I know it may not be your style.  But if you want her to feel loved and cared for, then love her and care for her.

Now, while these things are beyond our control - and for me, I hate that out of control feeling the most - there are things that can help.
I had really good success with Evening Primrose Oil.  Yes, I used to be much worse.  There was a time I was terrified that I would hurt someone.  I actually told my husband that he needed to take the kids and get far away from me for one really bad day per month.
Anyway, the other thing that has helped me is to know what foods my body doesn't tolerate well.  I actually had a blood test to determine food sensitivities.  While I stayed away from those foods, I felt much better.  MUCH better.  I have been eating what I want this summer, though and that is why I'm having a harder time lately.

If anyone has anything to add, please do.  If there is something that would help you, or something that has helped, let us know.
If you have questions or even rants, let us know.  Men, and ladies who don't get it, feel free to vent your frustrations.  I'm feeling better for the moment.  I can take it. 

Thursday, August 21, 2008

hey!

This is a good opportunity to put into practice what I was talking about last week!  Praise God even though I don't really feel like it!  Right?!


thursday thirteen


Truth is, I am having hormonal upheaval.  Sorry males -- deal with it.  Anyway, I feel actually rather mean.  I kinda feel like knocking people down and saying mean things to them as they hit the ground.  
The best thing really would be for me to go to a cabin in the mountains by a lovely stream all by myself for a few days - or weeks.  But you know...
So, my TT is about things that irritate me.

1. Word verification boxes on blogs.  If I don't comment often on your blog and you have one of those things... well...  Honestly, I have to do them an average of four times to get it right!  I realize that may be my own personal problem, but that doesn't diminish the  irritation factor.

2. The phrase "point taken."  I don't know why.  It just does.

3. My dirty house.  

4. People who move out to the boonies and then complain about the wildlife.

5. PC.  Political Correctness.  Super-sensitivity.  Hyper-offendedness.  Enough already.

6. Politics.

7. Aggressive drivers.

8. People talking on their cells All - The - Time.

9. When people are too busy.  No time for anything because they are soooo busy.

10. This guy at the deli one time was being crude about a pickle and grinning at me, like I was supposed to swoon.  And then he smacked his teenaged kid up side the head.  Man, that really irritated me!  So, I guess jerks.  Jerks irritate me.

11. My dog pooping in the house when I leave her alone... grrr.

12. Whining. I mostly mean the tone of voice.  It seems to be used a lot around here.  (I'm not whining, mind you.  I'm sharing my heart.)

13. Mean people.  Mean people really irritate me.

Ok, well, that didn't make me feel any better, but it was kinda fun!
Please, don't be afraid.  I am doing my best to be nice.  

During Ronald Reagan's funeral the priest talked about how sweet Mr. Reagan was even in the midst of that disease that had stolen his mind.  His comment was that the Fruit of the Spirit was so present in his life that it outweighed the negative affects of the Alzheimer's. 
That is always my prayer in times like this.   I feel as if my mind has been overtaken by raging hormones, but God is bigger.  I pray that His Spirit will be in control and shine through me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

also...

Leelee Sobieski and Helen Hunt










I think Christian Slater should be in a movie as Jack Nicholson's son.  Their voices are even similar.




And if they ever make another move about Judy Garland -- I know who should play her!  Although I think Anne Hathaway is prettier.





Tuesday, August 19, 2008

precious in His sight

We watched most of this special the other night. We didn't see the beginning. These clips are heartbreaking. But I think it is too easy for us to close our eyes to the plight of others.
What good does it do to know about this? I don't know. There isn't much I can do. But I have prayed for God's light to shine into these women's lives.
At least it can make us grateful for our blessings and maybe more content.
The good news is that in some of the most remote and poor villages, there are schools. The girls dance and play and laugh... without any kind of covering on their faces. Some of the schools are even co-ed. The girls are given the option to finish school and make their own choices regarding marriage, etc. There is always hope. But without the Truth, and Light, they will forever be in bondage.







Monday, August 18, 2008

after the rain

In my yard yesterday evening.


Some of those buildings you see in the distance are downtown Denver.  The furthest away, toward the right.  The nearer ones are the Tech Center.  Beyond that are the mountains of Rocky Mountain National Park - there is too much haze and smog right now to see them.
You can click these photos to enlarge them.



new blogs

If you have a tween-aged girl, send her over to Nancy Rue's blog Tween You and Me.  It's on my sidebar.  She is having a contest and will give away 10 pounds of books to the winner!

Nancy has some wonderful fiction for adults, but her heart beats for young girls.  She has written many books for that age.  Go to her blog and check it out if you have girls between, what?  9 and 13?  

Sunday, August 17, 2008

how beautiful is the body of Christ


I grew up in a pretty conservative Baptist church.
I went to a Christian school through that church.
I went to Liberty University, a Baptist school.
Then after I got married we went to a couple of Baptist churches. Then we went to a non-denominational church with Baptist roots.
Then we went to an Anglican church.
Now we go to a Charismatic church.
I know that some of you reading this are shaking your heads at our decline. Others are nodding in appreciation of our open mindedness.
(I do want to say, lest you fear for my soul, that I am a strict stickler for the Word of God. If something is taught that cannot be proven by the whole counsel of Scripture then it is a false teaching. I very frequently search things out on my own to see if it is Biblical.)

I used to think that denominations are bad. That Jesus never intended them. Well, maybe He didn't intend them, I don't know. But here's how I see them now:
We all know that the Church is Christ's body. Some of us are hands and some of us are ears, etc. I believe that each small gathering of believers, (local church) is composed of all the necessary body parts.
I also think that each individual gathering of believers, (local church) is in itself a body part. Some churches are hands, some are feet, some are ears. I think this may be true within denominations, but also inter-denominationally, too. I think that we should all function together as one body. Some churches are great at reaching the lost. Others are great at edifying believers. Others reach out and minister to people's physical needs in the name of Jesus. Some are full of joy and worship. Others are solemn, bearing the sorrow of living in a sinful, broken world. Can we say that one is right and another is wrong? Maybe the ideal would be for each church to meet all the needs, but is that really feasible? I haven't really seen it happen. Churches almost always have one or two things they emphasize. But if other churches are meeting the needs, then it all balances out, right?

I think the problem with denominations comes from the dividers we allow them to put up between us.
Yes, sometimes we don't agree with some things that other churches teach. But if they teach the true gospel of Christ, then they are part of our body and we really need to learn how to get along or we'll be tripping all over ourselves. Christ's body should be graceful and well coordinated, shouldn't it?

I love the experiences I have had at these different denomination. I love seeing the Kingdom of God in all of it's variety! I love it! I would be willing to venture out and try even more denominations to see more of how God's great variety of people worship Him. It's beautiful. Absolutely beautiful.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

in case you didn't know

I have two other blogs.  Both are sporadic.  
One is about food and health and is called Write Eating.
The other is a book blog that I do with my friend Melanie.  It is called Books and Starbucks.  They are both linked over there on my side bar.
I am posting a new one on the Books and Starbucks right after this.

what i'm not


~ afraid of bugs
~ organized
~ a good singer
~ a sports fan
~ easily impressed
~ athletic
~ coordinated
~ too thin
~ too fat
~ toned and muscular
~ a total sissy
~ completely hopeless
~ good with names
~ a swimmer
~ energetic
~ emotionally stable - well, ok, sort of, but not totally.  My moods vary way too much according to what's going on around me.
~ a good housekeeper
~ too busy for people
~ as compassionate as I'd like to be
~ a go-getter
~ hard to get along with, (I think)
~ everything I would like to be
~ finished - Thank God.  I'm still a work in progress. 

Friday, August 15, 2008

sometimes it's a sacrifice


Hebrews 13:15 talks about the sacrifice of praise.  I think maybe Psalms does, too, depending on the version you use.  
We used to sing a chorus about that.  "We bring the sacrifice of praise into the house of the Lord."  I always wondered what that meant.  How is praise a sacrifice.  I realize the Lord is honored by it, but it isn't a difficult thing to do... right?
Well, then life got tougher.  And I remember being at church, feeling so low that the last thing I wanted to do was sing.  I wasn't angry at God, but I was broken-hearted and it felt like too much effort to open my mouth and join in the happy tune.  But I did.  I joined in less than half-heartedly.  And as I sang, something strange happened.  The burden began to lift a bit.  The joy seemed to invade my heart just a bit.  It had been very difficult to begin the song.  It had been a sacrifice, but God always blesses our sacrifices.

The Bible also says that God inhabits the praise of His people.  He lives there.  Think on that a bit.  One of the best things for me to do when I am having a hard day, a hard week, or just a bad moment, is to praise Him.  Or at least click a button and listen to someone else praising Him. It never fails. Not once.  My situation doesn't necessarily change, but God moves in -- He lives in praise -- and lifts my burden.

This is my last post on the subject - for now at least.

Keep praising!  Don't let the times, the circumstances or your feeling dictate your response to our great God.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

what praise is


Praise and thanksgiving aren't exactly the same thing.  They are very close and even intertwined somewhat, but not identical.
I think of giving thanks being about what God does and praise being about who God is.  It's like the difference between your husband saying, "Thank you for the great dinner."  And "You are the best cook I know."

Praising God has to do with His character.  A great way to learn to praise Him more is to study Him more.  Learn more about Who He Is by studying His names, for example.

Praising Him is telling Him all about how wonderful He is.  "Lord, you are mighty.  You are powerful beyond comprehension.  You formed the entire universe in the palm of your hand and I cannot begin to grasp that.  You are amazing and just and holy.  And beyond that you are merciful and gracious.  You love beyond comprehension and forgive the unforgivable.  You are God and you alone deserve my praise."

Some days I decide that all of my prayers for the day will be only praise.  He doesn't need for me to tell Him my problems.  He already knows what they are.  If I skip them for one day, He won't neglect them.  

Imagine if for just one day my children didn't ask for a single thing.  Not one request or demand.  They didn't make one single complaint.  All they did all day was tell me what a wonderful mother I am, how beautiful, kind and generous I am.  What if they only praised me all day long?  Well... Wow.  I think our Father appreciates it just as much as I would.

That's been my goal for today.  Just praise.  And maybe a little thanksgiving thrown in. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

predetermined


I've been through a lot of good times.  I've also been through some pretty rough times.  And in all of those times, it has never been difficult for me to continue to praise God.  
One of the reasons?  I determined a long time ago that I would.  I pre-determined it.  No matter what happens, I will praise Him.  And I prayed and asked Him to provide the needed strength to do so, when the time arose.

I love the story of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.  We know them better as Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. (I don't know why we call them by their Babylonian names that are tributes to false gods instead of their Hebrew names that are tributes to the Real God.)  You can read it in Daniel 3.  They were commanded to bow to a giant idol and they refused.  Nearby was a huge furnace that had been used for smelting gold for the statue and the king told them they would be thrown in that fire if they did not bow.  They refused still.  And they said (paraphrase), "We know our God is powerful enough to save us, but even if He doesn't, we won't bow."
They predetermined - we will worship God if He intercedes on our behalf.  We will worship Him if He does not.  He is God, either way.

Most of us know the story of Job.  He said, "Though He slay me, still I will praise Him."

We maybe aren't quite as familiar with the story of Habakkuk, but it is a good one.  God had informed Habakkuk that He had raised a mighty and terrible army to come in and capture Israel because of their sinful rebellion.  In the end, (chapter 3) Habakkuk says:
"Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
      and there are no grapes on the vines;
   even though the olive crop fails,
      and the fields lie empty and barren;
   even though the flocks die in the fields,
      and the cattle barns are empty,
  yet I will rejoice in the L
ord!
      I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!"


These were the things he was fearful of.  Yet, in spite of a bleak future, he determined he would continue to praise God.

In a Bible study I did, we were assigned these verses and asked to make our own list of "even thoughs".  What do you most fear or dread?  Make a list - "Even though.....Yet I will rejoice in the LORD!" There is no circumstance in which I will not praise Him. 

Predetermine it.  

Monday, August 11, 2008

so far...


Both kids are at school again.  Yay.  A nice relaxing day.  I decided I would just stay home and chill.  In my Pjs even.

You know what they say about the best laid plans...
(Actually, what do they say?  "The best laid plans of mice and men"....what???)

My baby girl starts seventh grade today.
She missed the bus.  

My boy has been having stomach trouble and I have to fight him nearly every day to get him to school.  I know he doesn't feel good, but he would have missed more than he went if I let him stay home every day he complains.  Today was no different.  I hate it.  I want him to feel well and I don't like to start the morning with so much discord.

My husband is leaving for the DC area today.  He forgot his laptop, so I have to take that to him before he goes.

I'm no longer in my PJs and I'm feeling anything but relaxed.
Oh well, as my friend Robbie would say.  Oh well.  It is only 8:30, perhaps I can turn this baby around.

And, in light of my theme for the week.  I will praise God anyway.  He is still pretty awesome in spite of my lousy morning!

(The picture is not really my baby, but it symbolizes my baby as she takes off into the great unknown!)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

in which circumstance?

In which circumstance will you not praise God?

A few years ago a woman I knew was told that her baby would not live to be delivered.  He had a severe genetic anomaly and she was encouraged to abort him. Of course, she did not choose that option.  She carried her son and we all prayed and prayed.  I believed that God was going to do a miracle.  I was not going to be one bit surprised when that baby was born whole and healthy.  He had many physical manifestations from the genetic problem -- an incomplete heart, incomplete facial structure, stuff like that.

One ultrasound revealed that his heart had been made whole. It was complete and functioning.  What a brave, strong boy.

Miracles don't always look the way we expect them to.   The miracle was that he was born alive.  He was beautiful and complete in appearance.  His brave little heart beat for five hours while his mom, dad, and four siblings were able to get to know him.  His mother saw it as nothing less than answered prayer.

He died in her arms.  

At the funeral we all sang the song Blessed Be Your Name by Tree 63.

Blessed be your name
In the land that is plentiful
Where the streams of abundance flow
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
When I'm found in the desert place
Though I walk through the wilderness
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

Blessed be your name
When the sun's shining down on me
When the world's all as it should be
Blessed be your name

Blessed be your name
On the road marked with suffering
Though there's pain in the offering
Blessed be your name

Every blessing you pour out,
I turn back to praise
When the darkness closes in, Lord
Still I will say...
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your name
Blessed be the name of the Lord
Blessed be your glorious name

You give and take away
You give and take away
My heart will choose to say 
Lord, Blessed be your name

Saturday, August 9, 2008

i'm learning


I am learning to trust myself.  I second guess myself all the time.  It's terrible really.  
But I'm learning to give myself a break.  I have a long way to go, but I'm making progress.

This is especially true for my writing.  I found that I cannot write and try to please everyone else.  I had written some stuff and people liked it, and I liked it.  Then I started reading and hearing about all the right and wrong ways of doing it and I changed things.  Then it was lousy.  I didn't like it, not at all.

So, I have decided to just go with my instincts.  I actually  have pretty good instincts, I just don't know how to trust them.  But I'm going to now and see what happens.  I can always change things later.

Also, sometimes when I write a blog post some people might have opinions that differ from mine.  Then I get anxious and start second guessing myself.

Being open to ideas and opinions is good.  Open to hearing them and considering them -- good.  Then discarding them if I know that I don't share them -- good.  Accepting them and restructuring  if that is what I need to do -- good.  But doubting myself just because I don't see things the same way as others -- bad.  Getting on my own back about it -- bad.

There, see.  I'm learning.

Friday, August 8, 2008

hot dogs, apple pie, and gas prices


  • We are spoiled in this country.  We have always had lower gas prices than most of the world.  Europe was paying $4 per gallon years ago.  When we have to pay that much we whine and pitch a fit.
  • I don't like paying these prices any more than anyone else, but perhaps we need a different perspective.  
  • Do we think that we are special?  That we somehow deserve to have low gas prices?  Maybe all of this political finagling we do in the Middle East is supposed to earn us some kind of favor?
  • Well, the truth is, we still have lower prices than most of the world.  They may be higher than we would like to pay, but they are lower by as much as $5 per gallon!
  • An article I read said that we still spend more on gas because we drive more and we drive gas-guzzling vehicles.
  • This isn't about the politics of fuel.  Although I personally would love for us to break our dependence on foreign oil.  I would love for us to break our dependence on fossil fuels altogether.  But thats really beside the point.
  • The point is we are spoiled.  I love America, but sometimes I am ashamed of the American mentality.  We are a spoiled and gluttonous nation.  We seem to think that we automatically deserve better and more than anyone else, just because of who we are.
  • Remember WWII and how the entire nation pitched in and sacrificed for the sake of the country?  Can you imagine the reaction if we were asked to make those kind of sacrifices now?
  • This is not an attack on the USA.  Don't misunderstand me, please.  But I am saying that maybe we need some introspection.  What is our own personal attitude about these things?  If we are Christians, we need to be sure our attitudes are in line with Christ's, right?  
  • And if our attitudes are right, then we need to pray for the rest of our countrymen.  And maybe we can learn some things from people around the world.  Drive less.  Drive smaller.  Walk more.  Bike more.  Roll with the punches a bit better.
  • (I don't know what is up with these bullets!  I didn't want them and I can't get rid of them.  But I'll roll with it.  These bullets are nothing compared to those some people have to deal with, right?)
  • All in all we are still very blessed as a nation.  We have much to be thankful for and I for one would like to turn my mind toward those things rather than the things I would like to see change.
  • Oslo, Norway $9.85
  • London, England $8.96
  • Paris, France $9.43
  • Rome, Italy $9.03
  • Berlin, Germany $8.68
  • Tokyo, Japan $6.30
  • Montreal, Canada $5.57

Thursday, August 7, 2008

thursday thirteen


A couple of weeks ago I did my least favorites, so today I will do my favorites.

1. Favorite color - Red or green - it varies depending on my mood.

2. Favorite smell - pine after a rain.

3. Favorite sound - my kids laughing with each other, rather than at each other.

4. Favorite movie (that I've seen) - The Princess Bride.

5. Favorite TV show (that I've seen)- Monk

6. Favorite indoor chore - eww, well, maybe dusting - but I never do it.

7. Favorite outdoor chore - getting the mail.

8. Favorite song - today it is My Jesus by Todd Agnew

9. Favorite food - One single item would be cheese or potatoes.  But type of food would be Middle Eastern, Indian, or Greek

10. Favorite drink - AW Rootbeer

11. Favorite tactile feeling - velvet

12. Favorite emotion - nostalgia

13. Favorite place - on a mountain.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

my brain


I am a well-balanced woman.  I knew it.  I use both sides of my brain equally.  This can actually be a problem as the two sides occasionally conflict with one another.  But in general, I like it. 

I think the summary of this test describes me pretty well. The parts about being disciplined, organized and a pragmatist are off, I'd say.  But otherwise...
Take this test and let me know what your brain is like!  Hat tip to Bet at Nut Harvest for this!

Your Brain Usage Profile:

Auditory : 40%
 Visual : 60%


Left : 50% 
Right : 50%


Kay, you exhibit an even balance between left- and right- hemisphere dominance and a slight preference for visual over auditory processing. With a score this balanced, it is likely that you would have slightly different results each time you complete this self-assessment quiz.

You are a well-rounded person, distinctly individualistic and artistic, an active and multidimensional learner. At the same time, you are logical and disciplined, can operate well within an organization, and are sensitive towards others without losing objectivity. You are organized and goal-directed. Although a "thinking" individual, you "take in" entire situations readily and can act on intuition.

You sometimes tend to vacillate in your learning styles. Learning might take you longer than someone of equal intellect, but you will tend to be more thorough and retain the material longer than those other individuals. You will alternate between logic and impulse. This vacillation will not normally be intentional or deliberate, so you may experience anxiety in situations where you are not certain which aspect of yourself will be called on.

With a slight preference for visual processing, you tend to be encompassing in your perceptions, process along multidimensional paths and be active in your attacking of situations or learning.

Overall, you should feel content with your life and yourself. You are, perhaps, a little too critical of yourself -- and of others -- while maintaining an "openness" which tempers that tendency. Indecisiveness is a problem and your creativity may not be in keeping with your potential. Being a pragmatist, you downplay this aspect of yourself and focus on the more immediate, obvious and the more functional

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It is raining, raining, raining!

worship


One time a friend said, "There is only one thing we have that we can give to God.  Do you know what it is?"  I said, "Ourselves."  Which I believe is true.  I'm a big proponent of surrender.  But she said, "Our worship."

The past several churches we've attended - going back years- are places where people feel comfortable raising their hands as they worship the Lord.  In one church people knelt, or stood or sat according to what they were led to do rather than worrying about what other people would think.   I love that kind of openness to the Spirit.

The church we go to now has a couple of people who dance a little bit.  A few months ago I was able to visit the Anglican church we used to attend and at the end of the service the South African Pastor was dancing sort of hoe-down style to "I'll Fly Away."  It was joyous!  He wasn't making a spectacle; he was down in an area not everyone could see.  But he was overflowing because he had just returned from Cuba where he had seen God work in mighty ways.  Should we not express that joy?  That worship?  A couple of nearby children joined him and it was wonderful.

I sometimes put on praise music and dance in my worship.  I don't do it in public - it would be a spectacle

My friend Michelle at Just a Minute prays with colored pencils in hand and draws her prayers.  She has examples on her blog.

I sing.  That's not very creative or pleasant, but it is a way I worship.

Sometimes I simply sit.  I try to be as still in body and mind as possible and just listen.  "Lord speak to me."  And I listen.  Especially if there is something specific I am needing direction on.

I read books.  Good books by godly men and women that deepen my faith.  Even fiction frequently leads me to a place of worship.

Sometimes I lie flat out on my face and  just let Him be God.  

I can sit here and look out my window and worship.  Being on a mountain or at a lake or in some other beautiful natural setting always inspires me to praise.

I pray.  I often pray during the singing time at church rather than sing.  So often the words to the songs spur prayers of wonder or confession.  I pray in the car, in the shower, in bed, while watching TV, while reading, while eating, while visiting with friends.  I pray when I shop, when I have questions and problems, when I am overwhelmed.  I pray when I sin, when I am in a tight spot.  I pray.  My prayers are incense that rises up before God on his throne and he delights in them.  (look in Revelation)

What are some ways that you worship?  Or maybe what are some situations or surroundings that are conducive to worship?





Monday, August 4, 2008

the news


Good news!  This morning I woke up and thought BRRR!  Yippee!  
More good news!  It is supposed to only get to 92 today.  Ten degrees cooler than it has been lately.
Better news!  It is only supposed to reach 82 tomorrow!

Bad news.  I got my first writing rejection the other day. 
Great news!  I got my first writing acceptance a couple of day after that!  I am going to be published!  I am going to have a short story in the May 2009 issue of Christian Fiction Online Magazine.

The rejection and acceptance came from the same person.  Let me tell you the story.
I have been very discouraged about writing.  I have been for about a month, I guess.  Then on the writing e-mail loop that I'm on someone sent out a creativity challenge.  We were to write an opening hook for a story that had to include:
grass clippings
a hamster
an odd odor
a fire
breaking glass

Well, this e-mail loop has all kinds of well-known authors and agents and editors as well as newbies and wannabes and the whole gamut.  We're talking thousands of people.
The idea of posting a snippet of writing on there was absolutely terrifying.  So I knew I had to do it.  
This is what I posted:
I gather grass clippings into a little pile by my knee.  My son rests his head in my lap as his sobs subside into hiccups.  The sound of shattering glass makes me jump.  My eyes blur as I stare at the lawn.  I really don't want to see what's going on.

What is that smell?  I thought smoke was smoke, but apparently not.  This smells like flowers burning.  There is a pungent sweetness to it.

My eyes move to my son's head, tousled and sweaty.  Then his arms, charred with black.  His hands in which he holds his new hamster, Pete.  

Pete is dead.  

Without thinking I look up and am mesmerized by the flames eating my house.  Eating my life.  

And we just got here.



Then the editor of this magazine said she really liked it and that I should consider submitting a short story for her magazine.  So I finished the little part I wrote, turning it into a story that I really like.  But she said it was too much of a bummer for what the magazine wanted.  Bummer.  It is a little heavy, but I like it.  It is about hope and healing and God meeting us in our need.

Anyway, she asked if I had anything lighter, so I wrote something and submitted that and she liked it.  And there we go! Yay for me!