Thursday, December 31, 2009
1970s ~ My childhood
1980s ~ The questioning years. What will I do? Who will I marry? Where will I live? Who am I?
1990s ~ The answering years. I got my degree, got married and gave birth to my children.
2000s ~ The growing years. Watched my kids grow into a pre-teen and a teen. Self-discovery and growth. Marital growth. Spiritual growth.
2010s ~ Perhaps the letting go years? Our nest will empty. I will turn 50. I expect it to be a decade of challenges and some loss. But I'm ready. Bring it on!
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Another revamped re-post.
Last December I mentioned several people who were hurting.
Denis had just been diagnosed with stomach cancer. His family will be having Christmas without him this year.
Linda was fighting ovarian cancer. She is still in the fight. She also lost her husband in October when he drowned while fishing.
This year my friend Kate is in the process of being re-staged for her Melanoma. They found a spot on her lung.
My friend Erin is in the hospital. She went in because she was pregnant and didn't feel right. They admitted her and a couple of days later she suffered a brain aneurysm. They had to take the baby three months early. Erin is recovering well. The baby, Riley, has several issues that will need to be surgically addressed. He's already had one surgery that I know of.
I have several friends experiencing broken marriages. Betrayal and rejection of the worst kind.
Not everyone will have a Merry Christmas.
"Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows." Isaiah 53:4
Saturday, December 12, 2009
What about you? What do you miss?
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
The moment God the Son left Heaven and became a wee little embryo, the sacrifice began.
Every tear He cried because He was hungry, tired, or had a tummy ache was a sacrifice.
Every drop of blood from skinned knees and split lips.
Every time a neighbor died, every time He saw a loved one suffer.
Wearing shoes, having an itch, being stung by a bee, eating, breathing, sleeping were part of the sacrifice.
Every headache, every smashed thumb, every day – a sacrifice.
He was God. He didn't have to be here. He chose to be. He chose to leave Paradise and come to live among men. The sacrifice was in the coming and in the living.
We all know He sacrificed Himself in His death. When He hung upon that cross and bore terrible physical pain. The moment that He took my sin upon Himself and wore it as a covering; that was the greatest sacrifice of all. When God the Father looking down could no longer bear the sight of His own Son because He was wearing my clothes. Jesus looked like me hanging there in that filth and grime, the sins of my soul, and the Father turned away. God the Son forsaken by God the Father. God forsaken by God. Christ the man hanging utterly alone dripping with my wickedness mingled with His atoning blood. Then He could give to me His spotless robe so that when the Father looks at me, He sees Christ's Righteousness and I am accepted. The sacrifice.
But it began the moment He stepped into time. The instant He was conceived in a young woman's womb.
This is Emmanuel. God With Us.
God bless us, every one.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
God With Us.
Every Christmas that thought just floats around in my brain, tickling things. It's too huge to grasp.
In the Old Testament, God was often with people in a tangible way. Like the cloud and the pillar of fire that accompanied Israel through the wilderness. The glory that descended upon the Ark of the Covenant and filled the temple. But, God was distant.
Moses knew Him. So did Abraham and David and many others. But most people only encountered him vicariously, through the priests and the system.
God wants more. He wants relationship with us.
(Here I have to try to explain God: He is self-sufficient and all powerful. His word alone created a universe that extends beyond our reckoning. We can't begin to understand His vastness. Just a glimpse of Him, or even one of His messengers sends a person into a dead faint.)
So, this Powerful God stepped off of His throne, removed His glorious robe, and slipped down into humanity. He shed His royalty to wear rags and be born in a building full of animal dung. He became insufficient. He was as dependent upon His mother as any other babe. Completely helpless. Completely empty, naked, vulnerable and human. I can't get over that.
And yet that is really only a small part of it. Because the much bigger part is that He left behind His place of Holiness and purity to come and walk around in sludge and sewage. He did not ever sin, but He was affected by it just as every human is. And He was affected by it as only God can be. He felt every sorrow we have ever felt. Rejection, ridicule, loss of loved ones, disappointment. Don't think that because He was God He was above the pain and misery.
God came to earth. He walked with us. Ate with us. Talked and laughed with us. Wept, anguished, and suffered with us.
Now we can know God. Have that relationship He longs for and we need. He came to clear the way and He left His Spirit here, so that God is and always will be with us. All because of that little Baby in a manger.
God became man. Get it?
Neither do I.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Old post revamped.
That God loves me, deeply, faithfully, unconditionally, eternally.
That Jesus provided a way for me to be reconciled to God.
That God is always in control of all things.
That God allows circumstances in my life to test me, strengthen me, prove me, and purify me.
That I have been married for 16 years to the man God created me for.
That I have a brilliant daughter who loves the Lord and is wise beyond her years.
That I have a son who is quick as a whip and sweet and loving.
That my parents are still alive and married to each other 45 years. That they raised me to know Jesus. That they trusted me and were strict at the same time. That they are still there for me.
For my sister and her family. For my nieces and nephew. That things don't always go my way.
That God doesn't say yes to all my prayers.
For blue skies that take my breath away.
For mountains that reminds me of the Might and Power and Steadfastness of my King.
For wind that reminds me of the Sweet presence of the Holy Spirit.
For clouds that remind me that some day my Jesus will be riding on one of them to come and get me!
For brooks and streams that remind me of the Water that quenches all thirsts.
For rain that reminds me of the mercies of God.
For thunder that reminds me of the voice of God. For the word Grace.
For each breath I take. I want God to receive each one as a Praise offering to Him.
For the moon and the stars that remind me of how small I am.
For the steam on my tea that reminds me of how short my time here on earth really is.
For the wonderful, amazing privilege of Prayer.
For my wonderful friends! God has blessed me with so many who meet different needs in my life!
For God's Word. The sharp sword that wounds my flesh and heals my spirit. The WORD of God. The WORD who was in the beginning with God. The WORD who became flesh.
For my health, my sanity, my intelligence, my personality, my failures, my desires and dreams. They are what make me who I am.
For my house and car and the clothes in my closet. For all of the material blessings that God has shared with me.
For these things and so many more, I give thanks.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
If you've read my blog long, you know I love Athol Dickson's writing. He writes with a unique richness and depth. His books are thought provoking and enlightening.
Lost Mission is no different.
In a story that spans hundreds of years, crosses cultural, economic, and political barriers, he tells us about missions.
A mission in the making.
A woman on a mission.
Men with a mission.
And missions lost.
There are many layers to this novel and my review is only going to address one--theme. Theme is an interesting thing in that it can be different for different people. It can be different for the author than for the reader. So this is my subjective opinion about the theme of Lost Mission.
To be honest, when I finished this book I felt discouraged, disappointed, and confused.
People who are committed to serving God, serving others, loving others so often get it wrong. So often we get a calling from God and mess it up.
I'll admit, part of the problem is that this book poked me hard in my "fear of failure" nerve. That part of me that thinks it's all up to me to get everything right. My perfectionism. My idealism. And it scared me.
It's been weeks since I finished reading and I've spent a lot of time thinking about what this book meant, about what it was saying to me.
I came to the conclusion that this book has the same theme that God has been pouring into me for months.
"What are you looking at?"
See, we can think we're doing the right thing, it can look like we're doing the right thing, but if we're looking at the wrong things, we're failing.
We should always be "fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith..." Heb. 12:1
Notice the word perfecter. We can't get it right. Ever. But He can. Always.
This book will make you think. It will make you re-think. I've begun forming some new opinions about things since reading it. It's one I will keep and read again.
I recommend you get a copy and tell me what you think. Or re-think.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Only kissed a girl once. She gave you her picture. When it's quiet, you pull it out and look at it, especially when the other men are around. She's a looker.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
We're still working on how to manage writing and math, but we're getting there.
I do enjoy the time with my kids. It's going so quickly that they'll be outa' here before I know it.
NaNoWriMo: Coming along. I'm surprised and pleased with myself. I have been so very bad at writing regularly and with this challenge I have written every day for a week. And I am right on track in order to be finished on time.
My story is silly and bad and lots of fun!
Friday, October 30, 2009
The night before halloween fill-in. Don't get scared!
1. It was a dark and stormy night, __last night, and the night before, and the night before that___.
2. _It was a nightmare, they were throwing them away,___ so I offered to take the books myself.
3. Rushing out, __I inadvertently startled the bogey man______.
4. _The moon is full and... and____...I think I heard a howl!
5. Shhhh... _what was that?___
6. _I'm a monster when I'm hungry, so_____ give me something good to eat!
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _a good nights sleep____, tomorrow my plans include _scaring somebody____ and Sunday, I want to _try a new church____!
Thursday, October 29, 2009
I have decided to do a crazy thing called NaNoWriMo. You writers know exactly what it is. For those of you who don't know, it's a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel from scratch in the month of November.
That is a big challenge and I don't know if I'm up for it, but I've decided to give it a try.
I have two goals. One is to learn how to shut up the perfectionist editor in my head. To learn how to give myself permission to do something badly.
The other goal is to finish something. I'm very good at starting things (I have 4 novels started), not so much at finishing.
My goal is NOT to write something good. In fact I am deliberately planning to write badly, break every literary rule I can think of, and enjoy the process.
So, wish me luck.
Hopefully, I will find the time and energy to post now and then along the way!
Sunday, October 25, 2009
"Empty me of me and fill me with You."
"I surrender all. If there is something I'm holding on to, show me, and help me let it go."
"Show me Your heart. Make me love what You love and hate what You hate."
"Help me to love."
"Give me a eternal perspective."
"Not my will but Yours be done."
"May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to You."
Sometimes --frequently-- all I can say is what is called the Kyrie:
"Christ have mercy."
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
My dreams never make sense. They are always surreal, confusing, and often frustrating.
I seldom have what would be called nightmares, but often my dreams have a creepy feeling.
But, many times my dreams are very entertaining. Recently I had a dream that included Steve Martin (I considered showing him my impression of the Steve Martin dance, but decided against it), Todd Agnew (we were on the way to one of his concerts), and Duff.
Once, a long time ago, I dreamed I was in a TV show with Michael Landon. There was a cool song playing in the background and everything. I even sang it for a while after I woke up, but then it faded away. It probably made no sense, anyway.
Another time I dreamed I was making a movie with Chuck Norris. We were dodging bullets, dashing from doorway to tree. I knew it was all fake, so there was no fear, just fun.
What are your dreams like?
Sunday, October 18, 2009
It's so easy to pray for those who have been sinned against. The abandoned woman. The betrayed husband. It's easy to pray for the child who has been abused or the victim of a random crime.
And that's good. These things all require our prayers. We need to reach out to these hurting people and love them.
But, do we think to pray for the man who left his family? The adulterous woman? The child abuser or criminal?
When Jesus was on earth, we don't see Him going to all the people who had been ripped off when they payed their taxes. He went to Zacchaeus. He didn't go minister to the spouse betrayed, He ministered to the betrayer. Time and again we see Him reaching out and touching the sinner. The one who caused pain.
Oh, I know that he ministered to the victims. I know that because I know Jesus. I know that he cares for them. Even now He reaches out and touches them, comforts and restores them.
But I think He knew that part would come easy for us. But how easy is it to pray for the man who abandoned your friend -- his wife, his children? How easy is it to pray for those whose sin affects so many around them like ripples on a pond.
I think we need to remember how Jesus loved. Whom He loved. And though it's not easy, we need to remember to pray for, and reach out to the sinners. Because, after all, isn't that each of us?
Here is an older, related post.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Fun is a great motivator as shown in this video:
Since I started homeschooling, I've wanted to make it as fun as possible. For me, learning is fun in and of itself. Well, most of the time.
But for my kids, maybe not so much. So how, I wonder can I make it fun for them?
What about making it fun to clean the house? Load the dishwasher? Keep up with laundry? (These are for me, not the kids)
Can I find a way to make it fun to say "thank you, mom" or "I'm sorry dear brother/sister?"
I guess some things just are what they are, but wouldn't it be better if most things were fun?
(Notice, if you write or say "fun" enough times it becomes a very silly word.)
Sunday, October 11, 2009
Lately I've been feeling a lot of sorrow. And it isn't mine. It's my friends'. So many are grieving. And my heart is heavy. I weep for them. I pray for them.
Is their pain less because I am hurting for them? Does it really make a difference? I wonder.
Can something like that even be measured?
Kathy lost her dad about two weeks ago.
Chris's mother died from a long bout with cancer about two weeks ago.
Claudia's husband died from a short bout with cancer a few weeks ago.
Tim's father drowned last week and his mother is fighting ovarian cancer.
My cousin Kathy died a couple of weeks ago.
And one friend found out her husband is having an affair and doesn't seem interested in giving it up.
Please pray for my friends if you think of them.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Arrr, it be International Talk Like a Pirate Day! That be a rollickin good holiday me thinks!
Before we go any further, there's something we need to be clear about. Pirates were and are bad people. Really reprehensible. Even the most casual exploration of the history of pirates (and believe us, casual is an accurate description of our research) leaves you hip deep in blood and barbarity. We recognize this, all right? We aren't for one minute suggesting that real, honest-to-God pirates were in any way, shape or form worth emulating.
So what is it exactly that we're celebrating here, if not pirates? What, you're wondering, is the point?
We're going to be painfully honest here, perhaps fatally so.
The point is, there is no point.
And if ye would like to spy the original site for Talk Like a Pirate Day go right ahead with ye. They have a translator and such for the landlubbers among ye. But keep ye in mind that the language be not altogether upstandin.
Ye can also spy the official British HQ site.
Now a wee bit o vocabulary to help ye be piratin on this fine day.
Addled – Insane or Foolish
Ahoy – hello
Avast – hey, or hold fast or stop
Barker – pistol
Belay – stop that or shut up
Bilge – foolish talk
Booty – any form of loot
Brethren of the Coast – The name Pirates used for themselves
Buccaneer – A general term for Caribbean pirates
Cackle fruit – chicken eggs
Cat-o’-nine-tails – a whip with many lashes and used for flogging
Corsair – French name for Pirate
Dance the hempen jig – to hang or be hanged
Davy Jones’ Locker – a place at the bottom of the sea reserved for pirates (dead)
Dead man’s chest – coffin
Feed the fish – to be thrown into the sea dead or alive
Freebooter – another name for pirate
Grog – rum or any other kind of alcohol
Gully – a knife or dagger
Handsomely – quickly or hurry it up
Jack Ketch – the hangman, to “dance the Jack Ketch” meant “to hang”
Jolly Roger – the pirates’ skull and crossbones flag
Kiss the gunners daughter – to be bent over one of the ships cannons and flogged
Oggin – the sea
On the account – the pirate life
Poxy, Poxed – diseased
Rope’s end – another term for flogging
Sea Dog – an experienced seaman
Sea Rat – another name for pirate
Shiver me timbers – an expression of surprise, deriving from a sudden blow to the ship’s planking, probably from a cannonball
Swab – an ordinary seaman who mopped the deck
Sweet trade – another name for piracy
Walk the plank – The short walk to a watery grave
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Kayla Woodhouse has a rare neurological disorder. She can't sweat. Her body temperature must be constantly maintained in order to keep her from over-heating. She also can't feel pain, so she can't determine if she is inured or sick.
The process of getting the diagnosis for Kayla has been re-enacted on Discovery Channel's Mystery ER.
Montel Williams also had them on his show.
And ABC chose the Woodhouse family for an Extreme Home Makeover.
Kimberly, Kayla's mom, wrote a book chronicling the trials and joys of their lives. Kim has weathered many storms, even beyond Kayla's health issues. And through it all she has learned the meaning of "counting it all joy."
The book is called Welcome Home: Our Family's Journey to Extreme Joy. It is the story of an amazing family going through a trying journey. But I've spent time with Kim. She radiates joy. She has indeed learned the secret of joyful living.
Reading this book is like sitting down and sharing a Dr. Pepper with Kim. Hearing her story. Laughing. Shedding some tears. Learning and gleaning from the wisdom she's been given over the years. And most of all, it made me think that if she can be joyful in light of all she's been through, I have no excuses.
This book is flying off the shelves. Lives are being touched with the story of what God can do in one family. Go here and get your own copy!
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
Stop trying to compete with others. Give yourself to God and then be who you are without regard to what others think. Reduce your interests to a few. Don't try to know what will be of no service to you. Avoid the digest type of mind. Learn to pray inwardly every moment. Practice candor, childlike honesty, humility. Pray for a single eye. Read less, but more of what is important to your inner life. Call home your roving thoughts. Gaze on Christ with the eyes of your soul. Practice spiritual concentration.
--A. W. Tozer
This parts good. I've really been working on this. I'm not very competitive, but I am very comparative. And I definitely worry way too much about what others think. But not as much as before.
"Reduce your interests to a few. Don't try to know what will be of no service to you. Avoid the digest type of mind." I have trouble with this one. I am interested in a wide variety of things and I think that is part of who I am. So if I reduced those interests I would no longer be who I am without regard to what others think. I would be changing because of what A.W. thinks. And wise and godly as he may be, he's not necessarily always right.
At the same time that this troubles me, it appeals to me. Simplification always resonates with something in me.
"Learn to pray inwardly every moment." Yes. I would love to learn this--to live it. My mind is frequently in prayer, but certainly not every moment.
"Practice candor, childlike honesty, humility." Candor is good, if it's enveloped in love. Childlike honesty from an adult wouldn't go over very well, I think. But humility. Yes, humility needs a lot of practice.
"Pray for a single eye." I do. As mentioned in my last post, I want to have eyes only for God. I want to have a singleness of passion and devotion.
"Read less, but more of what is important to your inner life." Read less? This one definitely bothers me. I love to read. But I get his point. I think it's probably a good point. I'm just not sure I can do it. I do try to read things that are important for my inner life, though. Even the novels I read should touch me and stir some change in me. Not all of course, but most.
"Call home your roving thoughts." Is this possible? It would be nice, wouldn't it? "Come home! Come on you wandering little stinkers."
"Gaze on Christ with the eyes of your soul." What a beautiful line. That captures my desire. To gaze on Him and never be distracted.
"Practice spiritual concentration." The point of the whole thing. Bring it in. Sharpen. Concentrate. And practice. It takes intentional effort. We won't just focus on the right things by accident. And that's what all the other suggestions are about. Intention.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You. "
Then, Sunday at church the pastor talked about keeping our eyes on Christ. Our hearts set on things above. The verse was in Hebrews 12 where it says to "fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith."
We all congratulate Peter for stepping out of the boat and walking on water. But Jesus didn't. Jesus chided him for sinking; for his lack of faith. We cheer because Peter looked at Christ, Jesus was disappointed because he looked away.
I think that maybe that's what faith is. Keeping our minds, hearts, and eyes focused on God. Maybe it doesn't have as much to do with what we are thinking as with where we are looking.
And I'm thinking God is trying to tell me something.
I want to have that kind of focus. I asked God to show me what I'm looking at instead of Him. He told me - me. I don't look at my accomplishments, etc. I look at my inadequacies, failures, fears, inabilities... All the time. That's what I'm focused on instead of Him. And it may seem humble, I can almost rationalize it, but self-centered is self-centered, no matter what it looks like.
Here's lookin' at You.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
This image goes far beyond fascination. It astounds me. It humbles me. It literally makes me tremble.
Here is a link for another video.
Ok, so here are my thoughts.
I believe that God created the earth just as related in Genesis. I believe in the Biblical time-line that says our earth is only around 6-7,000 years old. But maybe there were many other galaxies in existence before ours. There isn't anything in the Bible to refute the possibility that the universe as a whole hasn't existed for eons.
God has no beginning. He has always existed. Why would He only recently decide that He wanted beings with which to interact?
What if many billions of years ago He created a galaxy and populated it? Interacted with it? Was loved and worshiped there?
Then another galaxy with other beings and another and another throughout eternity?
Why not? People seem to think it's not Christian to think there might be other beings in the universe, but I'm not sure why. I don't see anything wrong with it. Sure, the Bible doesn't come out and say that it is true, but I also don't see anything in the Bible about viruses and they exist. Is God obligated to tell us about everything He has done or made?
The idea that there are populations beyond ours is satisfying to me. God deserves so much more than what He gets from Earthlings alone.
And here's something that occurred to me as I thought of this.
Jesus told His disciples that in His Father's house are many rooms. "I go to prepare a place for you."
He was using the word "you" in the plural sense. He was talking to his followers--us. But he said place. Not places. As if perhaps He is preparing one room for us--all of us. Then who is in the other rooms?
To me, to think that the universe is full of other people who love and worship God and who will be in his House with us is... I don't know. It makes me feel excited and joyful and pleased. And very, very small. Very, very humble.
So, take my thoughts with a grain of salt and let me know what you think. But be nice. If you must call me a wacko, be sweet about it.
And one parting thought. How can I ever, EVER again, think that in any way God is not big enough?
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
But I have found some blogs that are fun to look at.
This one is by a woman who buys used books. She posts pictures of the random things she finds in the books. It's called, simply enough, Forgotten Bookmarks.
This one is by the same woman and is where she puts all of the recipes she finds. It's called Handwritten Recipes.
This one makes me laugh out loud. It's all kinds of cakes gone wrong. Cake Wrecks.
If you've got a topic for me--something to stir my brain--let me know. I miss blogging!
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
I'm stealing the whole thing and using it for a blog post.
In recompense, I will tell you to read Tom's blog (Anna doesn't have one, so she gets nothin). In my sidebar is a link to Flavory Llama. His writing is sharp and he is very funny. My favorite is the post about the toupee.
Now, with that done...
Wouldn't it be nice if some things were as easy to do as to say? I suppose the only time this might happen is in the case of legalese. They have a complicated and confusing way of saying "sign the paper."
But in general it's easier to say than to do something.
If only cleaning my house were as easy as saying "I'm gonna clean my house".
If only letting go of something (the past, a grudge, a child) were as easy as saying "I'm letting it go".
If only faith were as easy as saying "I'm trusting God with that."
The Bible says to let our yes be yes and our no be no.
What if "I'll call you; we'll do lunch" meant that I would really call and set up a lunch date?
What if "I'll pray for you" meant that I actually prayed, regularly, for you.
Sometimes we say things just because it is so much easier than doing. We still get a little credit. It shows our good intentions, after all.
But what if we started doing the things we say we will? Either that or stop saying so much.
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Q. What are your six favorite beverages and why do you like them so much?
1. A&W Rootbeer. Because it is delicious! And when I was a kid and we went to visit my grandparents in La Junta we would go to the A&W drive in. We would get the root beer in frosty mugs and it was better than any root beer in the world. Well, in my world.
2. Lemonade. Because it's tangy and sweet. Old-fashioned, yellow, and happy. It refreshes.
3. Dr. Pepper. Because I'm a Pepper. Although it has so much sugar and caffeine that I seldom drink it. It is a unique drink that cannot be duplicated. No matter what Mr. Pibb thinks.
4. Sweet tea. Because it's tea and it's sweet. It is old fashioned and makes me think of front porches. But again, I seldom have it.
5. Water. Water is the stuff of life. Can't live without it. Nothing quenches quite like it.
6. Black Cherry Koolaid. Takes me back to childhood. This was my favorite flavor. I haven't had any in years.
If I were to tell you the favorite beverages I actually drink, that would be water. Everything else has too much sugar. Now and then I drink unsweetened tea, though.
Friday, August 7, 2009
1. _Watermelon____ is my favorite summertime __treat___.
2. My favorite John Hughes movies is _Ferris Bueller's Day Off___.
3. _Almost everything__ is something I love to touch.
4. The full moon _makes me smile____.
5. _I want food___ right now.
6. When daylight fades _is my favorite time of day___.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _resting____, tomorrow my plans include __family time___ and Sunday, I want to _sing___!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Then there came flash fiction. The word count for that is 100 to 1,000 words.
Also, there is micro fiction. Less than 100 words.
But here is a contest for hint fiction. Write a story that hints at a bigger story in 25 words or less.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Once, I thought I was drowning and I was desperate for something to grab on to. Or for something to grab on to me! My mom did, finally. After about three hours, so it seemed.
In some countries they know desperation on a daily basis. Fights break out over a scrap of food. People huddle for shelter. Clean drinking water is beyond their reality.
I'm thinking about this because of one of my favorite songs, Michael W. Smith's Breathe.
This is the air I breathe
This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence living in me
This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word spoken to me
And I, I'm desperate for you
And I, I'm I'm lost without you
Then it repeats.
It seems simple at first, but then I see the complex beauty of it.
Breathe and air refer to breath which is the same word as Spirit. His Spirit is my life. Without Him, I am a walking dead person (Eph 2:1-2).
Bread refers to Christ. Without food I die.
And God the Father is over all. I am desperate for Him. If somehow He could be taken from me, I honestly don't know how I would survive. Some would call that a crutch. I would agree. He is my support, my very life.
I cannot make my heart beat even one time on my own. So literally, He gives me life.
But beyond that, I rely on Him to get through each day. I struggle with my own inadequacies and I think they are there to keep me mindful of my need for Him. Sometimes I feel desperate.
What about you?
Thursday, July 23, 2009
I thought I would share some of my favorites.
The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. The story of her family as they hid Jews from the Nazis in Holland.
A Chance to Die by Elisabeth Elliott. The biography of Amy Carmichael, missionary to India.
Loneliness by Elisabeth Elliott. A wonderful book, full of many good lessons.
A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Van Auken. A beautiful love story that leads to the truest Love Story.
Our Covenant God by Kay Arthur. I am leading a study using this book. Every Christian should study Covenant. "Everything God does is based on Covenant." Kay A. says.
The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennen Manning. A simple message of God's love and grace.
Touch by Pastor Rudy Rasmus. An example of how the church should function.
What are some of your favorites?
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
So, we are supposed to obey those in authority over us, right? I try my best to follow the laws. But is it an actual sin to break the law? What about the law that says we have to wear seat belts? Is it a sin to not buckle up? Maybe the sin is in disobeying the authority over us? Of course, history has proven that there are times when obeying the authority is the greater sin. God's law always comes first.
What about rules? Is it a sin to disobey rules? Do the movie theater people have authority over me? Am I obligated to obey their rules? If I sneak a candy bar into the movie, am I sinning? Maybe it is unethical. But is it ethical for the company to put such a rule in place for the sake of their own greedy gain?
Is every unethical action also sinful? Can a person be unethical without sin?
Just wondering. What do you think?
Saturday, July 18, 2009
What I mean is, we always had animals around--pets.
We had dogs, cats, chickens, a pony, a rabbit, a duck, maybe others.
I always has such a soft spot for them and would bawl my eyes out over animals being hurt, sick, or killed.
I've hardened. It's odd. We just watched Marley and Me and I only cried a little. I've grown very pragmatic about all that and I feel sad about it. Sad because that part of me is missing and I don't know why or where it went. It makes me feel like I'm mean.
I like animals. I enjoy them. I think they know God. I think they are amazing.
I still miss my kitty that died almost 20 years ago. I understand when people grieve them, so don't get me wrong. But the emotional aspect has changed.
On the other hand, I used to watch the news cold-heartedly. I was never moved by appeals to feed the children or news of genocide.
Now, those are the things that bring the tears. I read the headlines every day and feel my heart crumble a little more.
People in slavery. Fathers who sell their daughters to feed the rest of the family. Children accused of witchcraft. I can't imagine now how I used to be unmoved by these things that wreck me now. I can't even type it without tears.
Maybe my heart only has so much room. Maybe I only have a certain amount of love to give. Maybe for me it's an "either/or" situation. I know people who have both, a deep compassion for animals and for people.
For some reason, for me, it seems it had to be a trade off. I guess that's ok.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
- Have you ever been on TV? Yes. I was in the crowd during the Today Show. My folks saw me. My tip -- wear red, people can spot you that way.
- Have you ever sung in public? In a trio and choir in church. Never a solo!
- Have you ever dyed your hair blond? Well, I tried. My hair is naturally darkish brown and thick. So parts of my hair were bleached to translucency, other parts were still brown, and there was a variety of shades in between. After talking to the Clairol people on the phone I made a concoction to bring it all to the same color. It was similar to that commonly found on school buses when all was said and done.
- Have you ever eaten frogs' legs? No, but I would.
- Have you ever received a present that you really hated? Yes. That's all I'm saying.
- Have you ever walked into a lamppost? Yes. I was reading a tract that a Jesus Freak gave me, (it was a long time ago) and bam!
- Have you ever cooked a meal by yourself for more than 15 people? Yes. Well... let me think. I guess not completely by myself. So, no. Mom always makes the gravy.
- Have you ever fallen or stumbled in front of others? Of course. Several times, I'm afraid. One that comes to mind was climbing stairs to the choir loft. Another time when I tipped over backward in my chair at Pizza Hut.
- Have you done volunteer work? Yes, at the kids schools, at church, and for a short time at the Pregnancy Center. I wanted to volunteer there longer, but felt I needed to be more involved in the kids' schools. Shortly after that we decided to homeschool.
- Have you ever free-climbed a tree? What? Do some trees charge? Oh, or does that mean when you scoot up without any branches? No, then. No, I haven't.
- Have you ever had a close relative who lived to over 100? Nope. Grandma died on her 95th.
- Have you ever ridden a horse? Yes! I love it!
- Have you ever seen a car accident? Seen it actually happen? No.
- Have you ever driven a sports car? I think my first car qualified as a sports car, but it did have a small back seat. Other than that, no.
- Have you ever broken a bone? Yes, my shoulder.
- Have you ever fallen in love at first sight? No. But I've had many crushes at first sight.
- Have you ever slept in a tent? That depends on how you define sleeping.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Last night I had some alone time. So I used it to watch some movies that my family wouldn't appreciate.
One of the was The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.
I want to talk about it.
So, if you haven't seen it, and you plan to, then stop reading now because I will spoil it.
SPOILER ALERT!! SPOILER ALERT!!
Now you can't say I didn't warn you.
Ok, first I liked the way it was filmed. Did you notice how prison- like their new house was?
I liked the way you could see the boy thinking, processing. The actor who played Bruno did a wonderful job.
Childlike wonder and innocence. Believing the best. Or wanting to, anyway. Trying to decide what to believe, your father, or your own eyes. All of this played in his acting very well.
So, skipping to the end. As soon as he made his plan to go into the camp, I saw it coming. But still I kept hoping. I kept hoping and then it hit me.
His life has no more value than any of these others. Yes, I wanted his dad to find him in time to save him, but what about all those other people?
And isn't that the point of the movie?
I was thinking things like, "But wait, he doesn't belong there!" Or, "This isn't fair. He's not part of the camp." How many of us would have breathed a big sigh of relief if dad had rescued Bruno?
It was at the point when they were told to take their clothes off that I came to my senses. Yes it is unjust, but it's unjust for all of them. Every single one of them doesn't belong there. Every one of them needs to be rescued.
I would like to have seen the aftermath. It isn't hard to imagine what happened to their marriage. Did the father get the point, though, I wonder. Did he see?
Monday, July 13, 2009
I had a story in an online magazine a couple of months ago. For those of you who missed it, I'm putting a version of it here.
A Life on the Side
By Kay Day
A bell jingled as I walked through the door into the dim diner. An old screen door squealed behind me and shut with a bang. No body’s going to sneak up on these folks.
The Last Chance Café was the only place in town to get a meal. That’s what the guy at Gus’s Gas told me, anyway. The only other establishment, he said, was Carl’s Bad Tavern, but the only food they offered was pretzels.
I took a seat on a squeaky Naugahyde booth that used to be crimson, but now was faded in spots and patched with duct tape.
“What can I get you, hon?” A busty redhead asked. Of course she was popping gum. What is this place anyway? Stereotype land?
“I’ll take the special. Fried chicken, right?”
“Yep. With mashed taters and coleslaw. Anything to drink?
I really wanted water, but wasn’t sure I trusted it. “Coke, please.”
I shifted in the seat and looked out the window. “What in the world?” I said, jumping from my seat to get a closer look. “What is that on my car?”
“Oh, that’s just some of the buzzards. Didn’t you see them circling the restaurant when you drove in?” The waitress, Peg, according to her name tag, waved a hand in the air after setting my Coke on the table.
I could feel my eyes bugging. “No. I don’t think I would be here if I did. What kind of restaurant has buzzards circling it?”
The one on the hood reminded me of Brad. Just the thought inspired beads of sweat.
“They nest in the trees out back. The owner wanted to chop the trees down but some animal rights people won’t let him.”
“Well, calling this place the Last Chance can’t help matters any.” I said, squeaking back into my seat.
“We’re all used to them. You’re the first stranger been through here in a year, at least. We don’t need to impress no one.” She snapped her gum and scrubbed the counter.
A phone rang and a gruff voice answered from the kitchen. I could hear mumbling and Peg was flat out eaves dropping. The phone hung up with a clatter and Peg rushed through the swinging door into the kitchen. “Fred? Fred! Wait. Don’t go.” I heard a screen door bang shut and her voice grew fainter.
I looked around the empty diner. Was Fred the cook? What about my chicken?
I walked over and peered through the serving window into the kitchen. There was a pan of chicken on the stove. Fire still on. Nobody around. “Hello?”
Shoot. I was hungry, and that chicken smelled good.
I went out the front door and looked around, then walked to the back and looked up and down the alley. Nothing.
I slipped through the back screen door and picked up the tongs to check my chicken. The front bell rang; the door slammed shut. “Hi Fred. Hi Peg,” a voice said. A florid face peered into the window. “Who are you?”
“Sandy” I said. “I don’t know where Fred and Peg went. They took off that way.” I waved the tongs toward the back.
The man watched me turn the chicken. “I’ll take an order of that. Double taters, please.” Then he moved to a seat at the counter.
“No, I’m not cooking. I don’t work here.” I said.
“Looks like you’re cooking to me and doing a good job of it. “ He snapped open a newspaper. “I’d like some tea, too.”
“Well, help yourself.” I said.
He just looked at me and went back to his paper. Well, he can just be thirsty then.
The bell and the bang again. “Hey Clyde. What’s shakin?” I peeked out to see a scrawny guy in overalls. They proceeded with some banter until Clyde said, “We got us a new cook. Peg’s not here, so just tell this lady what you want.”
“I am not cooking. I’m not taking orders.” I said. “You guys get back here and fix your own food if you’re hungry. Or better yet, go find Fred and Peg.”
They chuckled. “We don’t cook, ma’am. That’s why we’re here,” Clyde said. “As for Fred, my guess is we’ve seen the last of him. Everyone knows he’s on the lam and he’s been awful jumpy lately. Ol’ Peg is probably somewhere crying in a beer.” He rearranged his rear on the round seat. “So it looks like you’re chief cook and bottle washer, whether you want to be or not.”
“Well, maybe I’ll just eat my chicken and go, then.” I said, putting it on a plate and scooping up some ‘taters’ and coleslaw.
“You wouldn’t leave us hungry, would you? We’ll make sure it’s worth your while.”
I was running low on funds. Searching for a new life wasn’t cheap. “How do I know that? And what do you mean exactly?” I narrowed my eyes at them, as if I could ever look scary.
“Shoot, ma’am,” scrawny guy said. “Clyde here owns this joint.”
Clyde nodded and grinned. “Looks like I need a new cook. Can you do it? The pay is fair and includes a place to stay. Its just one room, but its free.”
I crammed some chicken in my mouth and chewed on it a minute. I’d been on the road six months. How long did I need? This place was remote enough. I could maybe feel safe here. Maybe this was the answer I’d been praying for.
I took another bite of chicken and nodded. “Where’s my apron?” I said. “ You got yourself a new cook.”
Sunday, July 12, 2009
He counts the number of the stars;
He gives names to all of them. Psalm 147:4
Lift up your eyes on high
And see who has created these stars,
The One who leads forth their host by number,
He calls them all by name;
Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power,
Not one of them is missing. Isaiah 40:26
This same God knows your name. Holds you in His hand. What an amazing thought.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
I got this one here.
1. If you have been or are married, tell us about your wedding. If you are not, tell us how would you want it to be. We got married in November, the day after Thanksgiving. I can't remember what our rationale was, but I know it wasn't the best timing. People were out of town, and guests who lived out of town weren't as likely to travel for a wedding. So we had a smaller turn out than we expected. But we're still married, so it's all good.
It was a nice ceremony. The man who set us up married us.
It was cold and when we went to the back building for the reception, it was locked. Someone eventually found a key or something.
2. What age would you encourage your children to get married? twenty-four or twenty-five sounds good. I remember my dad telling me something like that and I thought, "Yeah right!" I couldn't wait to get married! But turns out I was twenty-seven when I finally tied the knot.
3. Who got married at the last wedding that you attended? My cousin Ben got married. I really don't get invited to a lot of weddings. I guess most of the people I know are already married.
4. Do you enjoy weddings and receptions? I do. I really do. Especially the reception so I can talk with people I don't' see often.
5. Have you cried at a wedding? Oh, yes. Especially my cousin Ben's because his mama wasn't there. That was hard. She passed in 2000 from cancer.
6. Would you prefer a lavish event or a intimate ceremony? Mine was pretty simple and small. But these days, I would probably rather have a big bash, go all out, do it up right!
7. Have you ever been in some one’s wedding party? If yes, do tell. I was flower girl in my cousin QOTW's wedding and in her sister's wedding I was a bride's maid. I was a bride's maid in my friend Anna's first wedding and in my sister's first wedding. I was a bride's maid in my college roommate's wedding. I think that's it. Oh, my college roommate's brother had me do the guest book in his. That was funny, but nice. I was at their house for Spring break or something.
8. Does a wedding make you happy and sentimental or grouchy and skeptical? Not really grouchy, but happy, sentimental, and skeptical by turns.
9. Why do you think our divorce rate is so high? People think marriage is all about being happy and as soon as they realize that it's work, they give up. People don't know what commitment means anymore. Also, I think we get a lot of false ideas pumped into us about what love is supposed to be and we are disappointed when reality is so different. People in general aren't well prepared for marriage. And we have fewer and fewer examples of what a strong marriage looks like.
Not that I have any opinions about it or anything.
I would post a picture from my wedding, but the scanner is broken.
Tell me about your wedding!
Friday, July 10, 2009
1. The last thing I ate was _gluten-free blueberry toaster waffle__ and _honey__.
2. _A new shower curtain liner__ is something I recently bought.
3. When it rains, it _cools off and smells good!__
4. _My boy_ was the first person I talked to today.
5. Hugs are _sweet_.
6. _When I'm sick I need_ extra comfort.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _nothin' really, my girl is having a sleepover, but that's not that exciting for me. Maybe while they are in her room and my hubby and boy are out I can watch a movie that only I like_, tomorrow my plans include _changing lightbulbs--hubby has declared it "bulb replacement day"__ and Sunday, I want to _try a new church, but we probably won't__!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
I posted a while back on saying no and this post is similar, I guess.
Since being diagnosed with Chronic Epstein Barr, I've been very attuned to my energy expenditure and stress levels. If I can keep these things under control, I lesson my chances of triggering a flair-up.
So, I'm looking at things that I do, or don't do, and thinking about:
does this take energy?
does this give energy?
why do I do it?
is this necessary?
do I enjoy it?
I've discovered that even though cleaning house takes a lot of energy, I think that having a dirty house takes even more. So it's a good trade off. Extend some energy to clean, but gain energy and decrease stress by having a clean environment. That's my theory anyway. I'm still working on putting it into action. It's still hard to dredge up that initial motivation to do the thing.
Blogging takes a bit of energy. I do it because I enjoy it.
Homeschooling takes a lot of energy. I do it because it is necessary.
Writing uses up a lot of energy, but I do it because God wants me to. Also, I think that worrying about how I should be writing and feeling guilty for not writing zaps more energy than doing the work.
I think that's true for most of these situations. Guilt and self-flagellation are very energy intensive.
So, I quit Twitter. A lot of people love it. I didn't. And so, why do it? I did it because it is the thing that you are supposed to do if you are a writer. That's not a good enough reason for me.
I am going to quit writing my Examiner articles. I have been doing it because it is a good opportunity for a writer to get her name out there. I don't enjoy it, though. I don't get any money. I don't get enough pay-off to be worth the energy it requires.
What gives me energy?
Spending fun, non-whining time with my family.
Having lunch with a friend.
Spending time with God.
Praise and worship.
Reading a good book.
Hanging out with my writing buddies.
Socializing on Facebook.
Talking to a friend on the phone.
Being in the mountains.
A day at the spa.
A night alone at a hotel.
A trip to England...
Monday, June 29, 2009
I have a new beginnings kind of feeling. Not sure why. I've been evaluating and reevaluating. Planning and prioritizing.
Here are a few things I want to work on.
I want to be present. I observed this in Nancy Rue at Glen Eyrie. When she is talking to someone, she is with them. She is completely engaged with that person. When it was me, I knew I had all of her attention and that she really heard me.
I'm pretty sure that people don't feel that way when they talk to me. I know that my eyes wander and often my thoughts do too. I tend to think about what wisdom I can share, what I will contribute to the conversation, rather than listening.
I want to have a more teachable spirit. I love to learn, but I hate to be wrong. These two often collide. I've been working on this one for a while. Again, I need to listen. I need to stop thinking about "when can I tell you what I know, because I know ever so much, and you will be so glad to hear what I know and be changed forever." Ugh.
I want to simplify. In lots of areas and lots of ways. Prioritize better. Learn how to manage my energy.
I'm still working on lots of old stuff, too. Like, wondering why I have to always be working on stuff. Does everyone else try this hard? Or is it perfectionism driving me?
See, I need to work on over-thinking, too.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
I have the BBC set up as my home page. And I tell ya, some days it's almost more than I can take. This world is a mess.
Today's news: a fifteen year old boy brutally beat to death a two year old girl who was in his care for 90 minutes.
Women are burned alive in Kenya, accused of witchcraft.
Always there are headlines about the struggles in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, North Korea, various African nations. It can be overwhelming.
So, today I found this news site. It's all good news stories. A homeless girl got into Harvard. A Colorado family found a millionaire's wallet and returned it. This site isn't free. I think it's $2 per month.
This one is free. A nine year old Utah boy got lost in the wilderness. He used knowledge gained from the TV show Man vs. Wild to survive the nineteen hours and to help searchers find him.
A couple more good news sites here and here.
You know they say that it takes ten positive comments to balance a criticism. I think the same is true for this stuff. The good news isn't as good as the bad news is bad. But if we read several of these stories, or at least the headlines, maybe it will help us keep some perspective.
And the best news of all. God is on the throne. He is good and loving and He is in control. He has a plan and it's a good one.
Monday, June 22, 2009
I found this over at The Bumbles Blog and thought it would be fun to talk about.
This weeks theme is "Movies you'd most like to hang out in."
Movie worlds draw us in and sometimes it's sad to leave. So my picks:
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, because who wouldn't want to hang out in Narnia?
Toy Story, as long as I can be a toy.
Monsters Inc because I like scaring people.
Big Fish because it's whimsical and beautiful.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because CHOCOLATE river! Duh!
Camelot because it would be so cool to see Camelot and meet Arthur and it is so heartbreaking, devastating, and sad.
What about you? Which movies would you like to spend some time in?
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Dad teaching me how to cast a fishing line in the front yard.
Dad buying me pipe cleaners to play with when I was sick.
Dad driving us over treacherous mountain roads.
Dad singing "My Boyfriends Back" as he scrambled eggs.
Dad taking me with him on his trips to the dump.
Dad buying us ice cream cones.
Dad teaching me to shoot, letting me shoot his Magnum which was quite a kick.
Dad coming home in the mornings, tired from a long night at work.
Dad taking me for a ride on the back of his motorcycle.
Dad rescuing me from many a high place that I couldn't get down from.
Dad taking me fishing, teaching me to skip stones, (I never got it) and teaching me to walk loudly to scare away snakes.
Dad giving me fatherly advice.
Dad telling me that boys could not be trusted.
Dad teaching me to drive in a stick shift.
Dad rocking me when I was little.
Dad kicking the smoking habit.
Thank you dad, for all you've taught me, all you've given me.
I love you.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
I just returned from Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs where I joined fifty or so other writers. We were there to learn from great mentors: Angie Hunt, Nancy Rue, Al Gansky, and Kathy Mackel.
We learned how to write. Or at least how to go on from where we are. How to write better.
But it was about so much more than writing.
People from across the country and beyond joined together to laugh, sing, cry, and laugh some more.
People shared their deepest pain, their fears, frustrations, joys, dreams, and doubts.
People listened. People prayed. Love was there. Love for a shared passion, love for our Father, love for one another.
Wells were filled. Spirits were encouraged.
God was there. I was blessed.
Friday, June 12, 2009
2. _Facebook__ was the last website I was at before coming here.
3. Why don't you _bake me a peach cobbler, with real butter, please, not nasty shortening__?
4. _A hot tub__ helps me relax.
5. Thanks for the _memories. No, really, I mean it!__
6. _People who are always on their cell phones are___ very off-putting.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _doing some birthday shopping___, tomorrow my plans include _birthday presents for the boy, picking up my friend at the airport, and yarn shopping___ and Sunday, I want to _go to my old church and begin the fun of Glen Eyrie Writer's Summit____!
Thursday, June 11, 2009
I'm at a loss what to talk about. But I want you all to know I'm still here.
We have been having tremendous weather here. Since Sunday there has been a tornado warning every day somewhere in the Denver area. Today the warning was right over our house.
Not a tornado, just a warning.
Saturday my friend Accidental Poet will be here and then Sunday we are driving to Glen Eyrie for a Writer's Summit. It will be great if it's anything like the past two years.
Also next week you will find my book in bookstores. Okay, so it's not my book, but I'm in it. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Tough Time, Tough People will be released next week. My story, "Lifeline of Hope" is on page 247.