Thursday, November 30, 2006

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow!!

Had a great dinner with Margie and Phyl this evening. Sat on the beautiful furniture. Shared some giggles and some talk and some life. And did I mention a fantastic dinner? Even got the leftovers to bring home!
Today they are promising snow tomorrow. Snow! I love snow! Don't love cleaning my car or driving in it so I'd like to be inside somewhere watching it fall but if it comes, I won't be complaining.
White Christmas ahead?
Anybody up for a round of reindeer games?

Sleigh Ride!

Ok here is my dirty Christmas secret. I am so ashamed. Of all the beautful, holy Christmas music out there; this is my favorite.

Sleigh Ride
Written by Leroy Anderson

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling
Ring-ting-tingling too
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you.

Outside the snow is falling
And friends are calling "Yoo-hoo!"
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you.

Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up, let's go
Let's look at the show
We're riding in a wonderland of snow
Giddy-up, giddy-up, giddy-up, it's grand
Just holding your hand
We're riding along with a song
Of a wintry fairyland!

Our cheeks are nice and rosy
And comfy cozy are we
We're snuggled up together
Like two birds of a feather would be

Let's take that road before us
And sing a chorus or two
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you

There's a birthday party at the home of Farmer Gray
It'll be the perfect ending of a perfect day
We'll be singing the songs we love to sing
Without a single stop
By the fireside where we watch the chestnuts pop
(Pop pop pop!)

There's a happy feeling nothing in the world can buy
When we pass around the coffee and the pumpkin pie
It'll nearly be like a picture print by Currier & Ives
These wonderful things are the things
We remember all through our lives

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling
Ring-ting-tingling too
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you.

Outside the snow is falling
And friends are calling "Yoo-hoo!"
Come on, it's lovely weather
For a sleigh ride together with you.

What's your favorite Christmas carol?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Oh Christmas Tree!

First of all let me say that the Mr. put up and decorated the tree while I was at work which I appreciate but also means it's not over loaded with all the stuff I feel I need to put up every year! I added a few touches of my own; see if you can spot them.
Moving on, there's the clear bulb I bought in high school and kept in my hope chest for two years waiting for my own home. Got it at Hudson's on clearance after the holidays in 1984.
There's the red bass guitar, in honor of some sexy musician I know.
There are snow babies dating back to Jay's birth in 1988 and as recent as last year in honor of daboyz. There's the required Frankenmuth names bulbs and the Hungarian bulb that once hung on my gramma and grampa's tree.
There are baby's first Christmas x 2 and Yukon Cornelius and homemade ornaments made for us by friends. There's the tree topper that's an angel/labrador retriever just because it's funny.
There are Christopher Radko's and knock-offs thereof that are my absolute favorite kind of ornament. I got my first a few years back; a little penguin my mom had attached to a gift. It was the beginning of a love affair. Everytime I see them in a store I have to stop and stare for a while.
I have hand-made ornaments tucked away in the attic that I don't display anymore because they've grown too fragile with age. They were made by chubby little boy hands that I can still feel in my own when I look at the crumbling gingerbread houses from days gone by.
There are nurse ornaments, of course. And a Summit Academy Dragons #51 ornament from just last year before we knew that it would be Mac's last on the field. Now it hangs from our tree in tribute to his heart.
There are the little Bible character ornaments that I bought when daboyz were tiny as gifts for their Sunday School teachers and liked them so much, I bought extra for myself.
Oh, that's just the beginning of my un-fabulous sentimental Christmas tree.
Have you spotted those Sara touches yet?

This post dedicated to Margie; who inspires me with her Christmas tree and in many other ways every day.

One Day At A Time

By no means am I a prolific writer. But I do have a particular method by which I write. Generally I make notes of my thoughts and feelings; whatever's rattling around in my heart. When I have the time; I sit down at my computer and write essays about those ideas. Said essays become my posts. I write anywhere from five to fifteen at a time; save them and then post them when I feel God nudging me. Some never show up and more than once I've gone back and deleted something I realized in hindsight was all me and no HIM.
I'm not saying that every day there is something comparable to Daily Bread here. You know full well it's just as much foolishness as anything else. I'm just explaining the way I work. And in fact, I'm curious. How do you write?
Well, this time of year there is a definate shift in the gears of my spirit. I'm a winter and holiday lover. Being that this is the first week following Thanksgiving; this traditionalist is proclaiming the Holiday Season of 2006 official. And with it the expected ruminations in my own spirit and daily re-examination of my life and my blessings.
This time of year; it all comes into sharper focus for me. My redemption. The Gift we prepare to celebrate. I'm a sentimental fool for the next four weeks.
So in honor of this; I'm going to manage this blog a little differently too. I'm going to write daily about whatever's on this holiday-leaning heart. It might be deep and insightful but it's likely to be silly and celebratory. Because that is what I am this time of year. Deep-thinking and out-loud-laughing. Pausing to reflect and rushing to shop. Focusing on the real meaning and panicked about the perfect Christmas outfit.
I'll likely post in the evenings this month because I won't have the daily post already written and saved. It's off the cuff. It's an opportunity for me to take a look in black and white where my heart is and to share with you the only gift we ever really gift each other...the self.
So open me up if you like. No refunds if I don't fit. No guarantees I'll be what you hoped for.
But I promise, if you'll come along; we'll have a lot to celebrate.
Happy holidays.

Love & Grace,

Psalm 42:8
By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Hebrews 4:12
For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

I'm Thinking About...

1. Christmas plans.
2. My mom & dad.
3. The Farm (dreamed about it last night).
4. Kell (hope you're feeling better, love you).
5. Mac's senior year stuff.
6. Can't remember my hair appointment.
7. Greenfield Village.
8. How much I love winter mornings.
9. My Christmas tree.
10.Why did this picture post so large?

Friday, November 24, 2006

How Beautiful Heaven Must Be

1. We read of a place that’s called heaven,
It’s made for the pure and the free;
These truths in God’s Word He hath given,
How beautiful heaven must be.
* Refrain:
How beautiful heaven must be,
Sweet home of the happy and free;
Fair heaven of rest for the weary,
How beautiful heaven must be.
2. In heaven no drooping nor pining,
No wishing for elsewhere to be;
God’s light is forever there shining,
How beautiful heaven must be.
3. Pure waters of life there are flowing,
And all who will drink may be free;
Rare jewels of splendor are glowing,
How beautiful heaven must be.
4. The angels so sweetly are singing,
Up there by the beautiful sea;
Sweet chords from their gold harps are ringing,
How beautiful heaven must be.

Mrs. A.S. Bridgewater

My pastor at our former church; Pastor Ron Ramey, would often sing this song at funerals. We’d also sing it as a congregation during worship. An old hymn that you’re not likely to hear in this post-modern church era unless you’re sitting in a Southern Baptist church with blue-haired saints. I’m not a Southern Baptist blue-haired saint; but it moves me nonetheless.
I hear this song in my pastor’s sweet voice with Tina (t-fab) singing harmony and picture the tear-streaked faces of the family of God as we all considered this place that’s called heaven.
I don’t know what heaven will be like. As a kid when I heard about 10,000 years of worship I was quite convinced that it sounded pretty boring and miserable. I’m not a scholar of pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib or New Jerusalem theory. Frankly, I just really don’t feel drawn to that specific study at this point in my life. Seems like of all the scripture; that part will pretty much explain itself eventually.
So for now; I like to let my mind wander in wonder of how beautiful heaven must be. I know it is the sweet home of the happy and free. I know it will be a place of rest for the weary and I have been so weary at times that this promise has been my only hope.
I don’t know what heaven will be like but somehow; it still makes me cry to think about it. I think I’ll live in my Farm there, I really do. I think my grandpa will make apple pies and green beans in heaven. I think I’ll find the unfulfilled longings of my heart there and I will be finally full of the things I yearn for. I think that there are pulls in my heart that will carry over to heaven and I will be completed there.
I think my son will eat wheat in heaven with a big smile on his face.
I think Mac will play football in God’s big, big yard (any Audio A fans in the house?)
I don’t know what else I’ll find in heaven but I don’t think it will involve floating on clouds for 10,000 years.
What do you think heaven will be?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts. No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.
~H.U. Westermayer

1 Chronicles 16:8
Give thanks to the LORD, call on his name; make known among the nations what he has done.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Good Day!

Good morning and happy Thanksgiving Eve Morning to ya!
I'm off work today on a "floating holiday." We get two of these a year and you have to use them by mid-December. Every year I completely forget about them and end up taking them on some bizarre mid-week day because everybody else took all the good days. I tried for Friday after Thanksgiving but was too late, so I opted for today. It'll be good because I can do my Thanksgiving cooking and preparing today and we have lifegroup tonight.
So I'm making those pretzel jello squares. Have you had them? They have a pretzel crust, cream cheese layer and then a jello layer. Jay loves them and I can use gluten-free pretzels so it's all good. I'm using lime jello with pineapples per his request and making a second batch to drop off at the hospital tomorrow for those working the holiday. Personally, I wouldn't have chosen lime jello but it seems to be a crowd favorite. Being that I abhor any recipe that involves steps of any kind, it's critical that I was off work today to do the crust, add the creamy layer, let it set, prepare the's very complicated business indeed. I don't know how I do it. :-)
I'm also in charge of stuffing being that there are so many of us for the holidays that the amount of stuffing which fits inside a bird isn't sufficient. And man, I do love stuffing! Amy (my older sister) hosts the dinner at her home and everybody acts like "isn't that lovely!" and all that garbage but the truth is it's a ruse to lure us there so that after dinner we're forced to decorate her 25 foot tall Christmas tree! Anyway, back to the stuffing. Amy is "intimidated" by stuffing (her words) which works out great because then I am stuffing-woman and we all know that stuffing is the easiest part of the meal. Don't tell her or I'll get assigned something with steps and I'm not up for that with all the jello stress and all. Which reminds me, how do you make stuffing? It's all very personal where dressing is concerned. Some people add oysters which sounds good to me but my mother gags at the texture of oysters. I think people add raisins sometimes too which is clearly demonic. And don't get me started on gizzards and such. I use pork sausage, onions and celery.
The Mr. is sure to jump up with a start tonight around 9:00 p.m. and remember that tomorrow is Thanksgiving and he'll insist on running to the grocery store so that he can make punch. The Mr. and Amy are punch freaks. I don't personally care about it but the masses demand it on every holiday. He's got a whole ice ring and sherbert system. I personally enjoy a diet Canada Dry with dinner. Shaken not stirred.
So we all got our dinner contribution assignments which is how we do it 'round these parts so no one is carrying the entire burden. Then everyone but Amy will assist with clean-up since it's her house. While we're in the kitchen cleaning she will sneakily get daboyz to haul the tree decorations up from the basement to assemble her elf slaves for the trimming of the tree the top of which can be seen from outer space much like the Wall of China.
So you can see why I need today off to start jello-ing, sauteeing and prepping for the marathon garland draping.
Oh, not to mention the overwhelming joy and worship that overtakes me when I consider another year with more blessings than I could have thought to ask for.
It's a good day.

Philippians 4:19
But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


I thought you guys might like to see a photograph of my house. I realize that many of you have never met me and this is a nice opportunity to share a little of my life with you.
What’s that? You doubt this is my house? You don’t think I really live in this place? Well! Indeed!
Does it seem a little silly? Did you ever really believe for a moment that this is where I live?
No? Huh.
Well, it is silly. This isn’t my house. This is the Hearst Castle, a.k.a. San Simeon. Truth be told, even the Hearsts couldn’t support this beauty, it’s now a state park.
My house is much more humble than San Simeon. San Smith is actually a 60+ year old bungalow with a ribbon drive and in need of much repair and remodeling. In addition to its structural challenges are the people who dwell there in various states of disarray and disorganization. Oh, and it’s not nestled in the mountains either, or on the Pacific coast. Or even in a particularly nice neighborhood.
I’m not proud of my house. It’s not that I have dreams of a more impressive abode. The thing that makes me un-proud is that we don’t take good care of our house. So I don’t really want people dropping by. I don’t like the way my house represents me.
It would make sense then, for me to take care of things. I should be a better, MUCH BETTER housekeeper. That’s a no-brainer. I should put those twenty pairs of tennis shoes at the front door in a closet and hang up the multiple jackets thrown on the dining room chairs. I should sweep the floor and dust the end tables and scrub the bathroom.
The Mr. should do the yard work and keep up the exterior and put his pop bottles in the bag on the stairwell instead of leaving them in the living room at night.
Daboyz should stop making a general mess of things with backpacks and schoolbooks and cereal bowls.
You get the idea. We are all contributing to this less than mansion-esque abode we occupy.
So I don’t have people over. Of course, my anti-social personality doesn’t do much to inspire change.
But have you ever had one of those moments sitting in your messy house when you hear a car pull up in your driveway unannounced? In general, here’s the Smith response;
“Oh crap!”
Because we really don’t want people to see how we live. We’d like a little warning so we can prepare a facade. Stage things to look like we don’t live this way.
The older I get, the less facades satisfy me. I don’t want to be someone too proud to let people see my messy living room. I want to either clean it up, or be honest enough to show it. Facades wear me out.
Likewise, I don’t want to be in relationships built on smoke and mirrors. I can deal with a lot of garbage, but insincerity isn’t one of the things I tolerate well.
Most importantly, I want to pull down the facades around my heart. Some of those are so tall and wide that I myself wonder what’s behind them. I wonder if I’m brave enough to peek around the corners and let God do some remodeling or if I’m truly so attached to the props that I prefer to go on pretending.
I have made a little headway around San Smith. I will tell you you can’t come in because my house is trashed. At least I’m honest.
I haven’t gone as far as I’d like, to the point where I am a good keeper of this home so I don’t have to choose between letting you see the mess or turning you away.
I would like to be invited into your heart too. Facades torn down for honest conversations and real relationships to flourish.
I want to expose the hidden corners of my heart to God so he can show them to me in through the reflection of the cross.
The problem with living in a bungalow and pretending it’s a mansion is that you start to believe your own press and pretty soon, there’s nothing real left.
And nobody left to be real with.
Including yourself.
Including God.
You have to be brave to open the door and admit that you’ve gotten a little sloppy. Or a lot messy.
But once you do, God shows you how beautiful it can be.
To be real.
And not behind a facade.
He’s calling us....
Come out, come out wherever you are.
Anybody out there?

1 Corinthians 13:12
Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

Monday, November 20, 2006


This post comes to you per the request of my youngest, Mac.
I've written enough about the boy that you probably already know all you never wanted to know about him!
Mac played varsity football for his high school his sophmore and junior years and then quit this year after his coach pressured him not to go on a mission trip to Thailand. As you know, Mac went over seas and left the glory days of football behind...
Kind of...
He was never a star on the field, just a good solid dependable center. He did have the biggest, noisiest, eatingest fan-base!
Anyway, Mac is a hard worker and ethics driven young man and didn't think twice about not playing his senior year. Even though he was reminded that this decision would destroy any athletic scholarship potential for him. He followed his heart and left it all to God.
He has continued to receive invitations to apply for scholarships to play at schools who know he isn't even on the team this year. He just kind of looks them over and pitches them, says he isn't interested in playing. Like I said, he never did eat and breathe football in the first place.
Last night while he was at church Albion College called and spoke to his dad. They know he didn't play this year. They also know his academic record and they've watched video of him on the field. They want him to consider Albion and a football scholarship. I just told him about the phone call and he said he's been seriously burdened about letting God use football for his education if that is Christ's will for three days now. So he asked for serious prayer, from me and everybody else.
Albion wants us to bring Mac for the weekend after the first of the year for a tour and interviews to discuss what might be available.
Maybe a scholarship. Maybe not. But he wants to see what's there and let God light a fire in his heart to burn to glorify Him.
So please, pray with Mac as he decides where to go to college.
We'll keep you updated.

Mac & Family

Sunday, November 19, 2006

November 19, 2006

Proverbs 23:8
The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Things That Made Me Puke

1. Motion sickness when the Mr. got into bed.
2. The cup of broth the Mr. brought to me.
3. The word "broth."
4. Laying on my stomach.
5. Sitting up.
6. Laying on my back.
7. Laying on my side.
8. Breathing.
9. The Mr. cooking chilli at 1:00 a.m. Sunday morning. Yes, 1:00 A STINKING M.
10.Trying not to puke.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The Emancipation of Me Me

I am woman! I am invincible! I am pooped! ~Author Unknown

Would somebody please unliberate me?
The other day I was having a debate with a man at work that was disguising itself as a polite conversation. Half-way through this exhausting song and dance the guy says this to me,
“Surely you must be aware that as a Caucasian male raised in a post-modern feminist society that my deepest respect and admiration are first for your ability to rise above those invisible constraints that an anti-feminist government would seek to impose on you”
At which point I replied,
“Now you’re really ticking me off.”
I don’t want to be liberated being that I never considered myself a captive.
I don’t want a career or my own paycheck.
I never asked for the privilege of making it in a man’s world.
I certainly do not need the admiration and deepest respect of a PhD talking head because I can hold my own in a verbal sparring match.
I am sick and tired of being a modern woman in a post-modern feminist society.
I would like to poke Gloria Steinem in her liberated eye ball!
And Susan B. Anthony can kiss my fanny!
And if someone would point me in the direction of a suffragette, I’d like to tell her a thing or two!
Here’s what the feminist movement has done for me.
I am forced to work forty hours a week outside of my home when I would prefer, no I would love, to be a homemaker.
I can now eat in restaurants most of the time because I’m too tired to cook the healthier and less expensive meals I’d be thrilled to prepare if I hadn’t spent the last eight hours on my feet.
I live slightly below the quality of life my grandmother lived back in the days of Leave it to Beaver. Wanna know why?
Well, I’ll tell ya why.
Because we smarty pantses have gone out into the work place doubling the ratio of persons to available jobs. The real estate market and cost of living in general realizes that there are DOUBLE INCOME households out there so we are not farther ahead, we’re just paying twice as much.
By adding more bodies to the race for jobs, we have created a competition making it harder to get jobs.
We are rounding the corner on the third generation of latch-key/daycare kids whose moms have to hustle for a paycheck.
We are facing a generation of moms who have lost the desire to pursue the art of homemaking because they are too busy sparring for promotions.
We are women who don’t take seriously the choice of the men we enter into relationships with because we foolishly believe we can make it with or without said men. So we settle for losers. Then we spend the next eighteen years fighting said losers for child support and sharing custody of our babies with men we ourselves won’t live with.
And we are raising men who can live into pension age acting like little boys because they don’t have to rise to the challenge of earning a paycheck and caring for their families.
Here’s the simple truth as I see it.
I am not liberated.
I am shackled to a different sets of chains than those who went before me.
I have no more choices, they are just different ones. I have to work. I don’t want to.
Thank you so much my feminist foremothers for stripping away my right to stay at home and create a life to my own specifications.
Thank you that I’m exhausted every night. That my grandchildren will probably be in daycare from infancy. That little kids with colds have to go to school because mom can’t get a day off of work.
Thank you that the cost of living is fast surpassing my two income household.
Thank you that we can so easily walk away from marriages because we can make it on our own.
Thank you that we don’t to be careful about who we enter into relationships with because we don’t need anybody.
Thank you for taking away my choices.
Am I angry? Yeah I am.
Because there are lots of us out here hustling for a career we don’t want because somebody decided that being a homemaker was for losers.
And you know who called us losers? Our own kind. Women.
Somebody, please unliberate me.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


I have no answer to the following question but I’d love to hear your input.
Just how far from God’s heart are we?
Hey, maybe you’re not far at all. Maybe you’re right there seeking, serving and reflecting Christ with ever fiber of your being. So maybe this is just my deal. How far from God’s heart am I?
Because I wonder why I was given this particular life. There are people in other countries and within miles of my home starving, suffering and dying. I could do more. And I don’t.
I mentioned in a top ten list that one Saturday morning I had thought about adopting a baby. And then I decided not to. But seriously, why are there babies in foster care, in orphanages, dying of starvation while Christians have warm homes and enough resources to house one more child?
Do you ever wonder if there was a divine purpose to the life you were given and if you’re only living in a tiny corner of the house God wants you to build? There must be some thirty nine year old woman somewhere in the world who can barely make it. Someone whose kids are hungry or who is mentally challenged or who is being beaten up by a drunk husband.
Why isn’t that me? Is it because God piled up wealth for my distribution and I’m hoarding it?
Or is it just the way of a fallen world that children will live and die in orphanages without a soft bed or a mom and dad to love them. Does God expect us to run full force to save everyone we can or does he accept the pain of some contrasted against the blessings of others as just the way it is?
Should only people who burn in their spirits for another child adopt one? Or should every Christian who can support another baby go rescue some child in need?
Are some aspects of sacrificial life just presupposed or do we wait for the divine knock on the door before we respond in full? I'm not just talking about a check written to some organization, as wonderful as that is. I'm talking about taking some kid without a family and being the mom and dad they lack. I'm talking about a full-on life investment.
Is it gonna be ok when we stand before God to present a solid tithe statement or is he gonna ask why a baby died in Africa of starvation that I could’ve saved?
Am I guilty?
I’m afraid of the answer.

Acts 4:32
All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Thank You

A while ago I wrote a post about energy; and my lack of it. I said I was going to ask God to give me more strength and stamina. Lots of you guys prayed along with me. I did ask God to grant this request in my life. I didn’t do a full-on fasting, on my face kind of thing. I just talked to God about it. I went on with my life just trying to be aware that when that weariness settled on me; to fight it by asking to be made stronger by Christ. This opposed to my past response of being frustrated and just trying to gut through the tiredness. A small change? Yes and no.
The reason I’m back on this issue today is that a few days ago I realized I wasn’t as tired as usual. I’m not exactly talking about a hummingbird metabolism or anything, just a slightly less worn-outness than I’ve grown accustomed to. I kind of noticed without noticing that I didn’t look as tired at the end of the day as usual. I noticed that I’m more likely to do a little more like making dinner at home instead of ordering out. I noticed my house isn’t as trashed as usual, I’m doing a little better at staying on top of things.
The difference isn’t what you might put in the miracle category. Nothing to write to a televangelist about or anything. Just a very slight change, a gentle shift in the direction I was asking for. So subtle that I almost didn’t notice it.
I still go to bed very early but when the alarm goes off; I’m ready to get up. I don’t have that inner feeling of not being able to keep up with my life; which is going a long way toward evening out my emotions.
I doubt my family even notices any difference but I can see it. I don’t know if this is it or if I’ll continue to get stronger.
The thing is; I have this tendency to ask God to do something for me. The small stuff, the daily stuff I want him to bless. But shame on me, I think he does an awful lot that I just take in stride and don’t stop to acknowledge that it was HIM. Really, isn’t it all HIM?
Today, I need to say something to him. Maybe you need to say the same thing?

Dear Gracious Father,
I asked you to increase my strength and you have granted my request. I thank you. I give you all honor and glory due you for your merciful touch to my body. I give you this extra measure of energy and ask you to guide my days that my actions would please you. Let me use my time and my strength in your service. I am sorry, God, for the answered prayers that I didn’t acknowledge. I know that in you I live and move and having my being. You are so constant that I take you for granted. Please forgive me. I give this life and this body to you. I ask you for continued health and strength. I ask that you would form me into the likeness of your son and guide me in your ways. This life is yours God. Don’t let me forget that. I love you. Thank you. Amen.

Psalm 18:32
It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Good Morning Yesterday

Lamentations 3:22-23
Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

Oh it’s so easy, isn’t it, to tell someone to leave the past behind them? It’s so easy. And so stupid. What kind of idiot wakes up in the morning and simply decides that because the clocked ticked over from p.m. to a.m. that the world has changed? Come on.
Yesterday’s baggage is right there next to your bed waiting to trip you. I know this because I fall over my own baggage pretty regularly.
We can’t put our past behind us so neatly as to just stop thinking about it. I don’t even think God really wants us to pretend yesterday or last week or the past ten years never happened. I think he wants to be in it with us. We wouldn’t need to be rescued if we weren’t in peril, right?
So this morning my prayer for us is not that we live in denial of our situations but that we live in recognition that we will not be consumed.
My intention today is to put a name to those things that have made it through the midnight hour and are there leering at me in the sunrise. I recognize today’s pain and problems. I am aware that I will be up against challenges that I’d rather run away from.
My agenda is not new this morning. But God’s compassion has not emptied out. His faithfulness is there every morning.
I will not be consumed.
Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Allow myself to introduce myself...

I was blog-hopping and found myself unsatisfied with the rather abbreviated profiles I found and wondered if anybody else is as nosey as myself and wonders about fellow bloggers? No? Well, here’s some basic info about me that you clearly don’t care about.

My name is Sara, I’m thirty nine years old. I’ve been married to Dean (the Mr.) for twenty years, started dating him when I was fifteen. Our “going steady” anniversary is November 19, 1982.
I have two sons who are 17 and 18. Jay is a freshman at the University of Michigan Dearborn and Mac’s a senior in high school. Jay wants to be a writer, Mac a middle school math teacher/youth pastor.
My husband works on the line for Ford and I’m a nurse. Specifically I’m the Clinical Coordinator on the inpatient psychiatric unit of the hospital I work at, aka charge nurse. Been a nurse since 2004.
If I had my way I’d be a full time writer and teacher of God’s word living on a farm somewhere. Frankly the biggest thing standing in my way may be my own laziness, I need to get some manuscripts out there and see if anybody’s interested. At least then I’d know for sure! Which leads me to one of my major short-comings; decidedly unmotivated. Blah.
I am socially inept and a loner at heart. I have the potential to be a shut-in but my husband pries me out of the house semi-annually against my will. I’m a book-worm and will read the back of the shampoo bottle if there’s nothing else around. I’m a terrible house-keeper and yet I love home interior type things. I don’t want a career, I want to stay at home and make soup!
I love God and find His word endlessly fascinating, and yet I don’t study it like I should; see above sentence regarding the reading of shampoo bottles. I wish I was more of a servant and less selfish. Margie makes me want to hide under my bed in shame.
I have struggled most of my life with depression and a few years back had the worst episode in my life. I became a barely functioning shut in. Went to work, came home and unplugged the phone. Stopped going to church. Stopped everything but laying in bed. After about a month my husband had had enough and with much prayer took authority over his house and his wife and insisted that I get it together whether by counseling, medication or pure force of will. He stopped fielding my phone calls and making excuses for me. He physically pulled me out of bed. I still have a tendency toward melancholy but that suffocating spirit of depression hasn’t reared its head since. I think Dean showed it the door.
Speaking of which, I am a firm believer in spiritual warfare. I get angry at the devil and hell and believe in standing up and refusing to be pulled under. I believe we have authority over our homes, our children, our marriages, our bodies, our country, our churches....I believe we have complete authority period. I don’t believe this means we are spiritual magicians who say the magic words and get what we want. I do believe it means nothing passes into our lives without passing by God. We are not victims of the universe. We are warriors.
I believe that life is short and will pass by before we know what hit us. I feel loosely tied to this leg of the journey and believe the real part of my life will begin on the other side of heaven. I believe there are things I will long for now because they will be given to me there. I believe I will be finally whole when I’m free of this flawed flesh I’m living inside of now.
I am impatient and intolerant. I think with God’s influence these two things make me pursue holiness and hold myself to a higher standard. I know that most of the time these two things happen under my own influence and I act like a fool.
I think that I’m quite average looks-wise and I’m ok with that. I know that without make up I basically turn into a blank canvas and if I go out in public this way people ask me if I’m sick. No, this is just what I really look like. I have oppositional-defiant hair. It has to be very short (like now) or in a pony tail. It refuses to comply with any styling efforts whatsoever. In heaven, I will have Meg Ryan’s hair. I suspect she won’t be using it.
I have a very ugly body but under clothing it’s acceptable. I cannot wear a bathing suit. Seriously. Having lost weight my body is saggy and yucky and without plastic surgery, I’m best kept under wraps. Happily, I hate swimming so it’s all good.
I also hate pretty much all physical activity of any kind. I do enjoy the outdoors but for limited periods of time and only in ideal conditions. I am always cold since I lost weight. Except for lately when I have night-time hot flashes and in the mornings when I’m very sweaty and must open the bathroom window. I am not sure if this is pre-menopause or induced by the overwhelming stress of attempting to fix myself up enough so that no one asks me if I’m on chemo.
I would eat like a lumberjack given my druthers but having the metabolism I do; I must eat very carefully as I gain weight for no good reason whatsoever and lose weight in virtually untrackable increments. I cannot add salt to anything or I retain more water than the Hoover Dam.
I like casual clothes although I enjoy dressing up. Because I’m crazy I will prepare obsessively for dressy occasions but when the event arrives, I’m always disappointed in how I look. I’m most comfortable in Levis and t shirts. But always earrings as I’m not an animal.
I’m funny but have to be careful because I can also venture into offensive.
I like old movies but few new ones. I hate chick flicks. I watch virtually no television except M*A*S*H reruns. I think reality television is the downfall of civilization.
I think that’s enough for now, anybody still out there? Hello? Is this thing on?

P.S. please write about yourself! I promise to read.

Psalm 139:1-3
For the director of music. Of David. A psalm O LORD, you have searched me
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

November 12, 2006

Job 5:17
Blessed is the man whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I Must...

1. Master blogger and stop relying on daboyz for links and technical support.
2. Organize my coat closet.
3. Bag up unused/don't fit/don't like clothing and give it away.
4. Start doing Pilates again.
5. Make monthly menues and grocery lists.
6. Get a Sam's Club membership.
7. Learn to cook different dishes, I'm so boringly predictable.
8. Dedicate a daily prayer time instead of flying by the seat of my pants.
9. Try those Mr. Clean eraser things or whatever they are.
10.Buy a freezer for the basement.
(11. Stop puking.)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Overwhelmed Again

Mark 7:37
People were overwhelmed with amazement. "He has done everything well," they said. "He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak."

Yesterday I talked about being overwhelmed in the sense of feeling like I can’t deal with the negative. Today I’d like to put a post script on that thought; overwhelmed with amazement.
I am actually writing these two posts back to back in the same day as God has been revealing the juxtaposition of the two ends of the spectrum that being overwhelmed represents.
I am pausing to think about my attitude and where I’m more likely to feel overwhelmed. Is it the negative sense of overwhelming burdens, disappoints and offenses that occupies my thoughts most often? Or is it the overwhelmed concept of how very blessed, graced and honored I am to be one of the children of the Most High? And while we’re talking about it, how can these two extremes co-exist?
There is a local school in our area called Jo Brighton. It’s a training center for special needs people and they specialize in job-training. At our hospital, there are always Jo Brighton kids in the hallways learning to do tasks like delivering papers between departments, sweep the floors, organize flyers. The Jo Brighton kids always make me smile. Sometimes they can be found running down the hallway at full tilt in a foot race laughing their heads off; or careening around a corner with a cart full of papers threatening to fly off in all directions. You’ll usually see an instructor not far behind gently but firmly reminding them how they must behave to work in the hospital.
Those Jo Brighton kids always smile and apologize and you can see them trying very hard not to be quite so inappropriately enthusiastic in their duties.
Last week I was walking down the hallway at the hospital when a couple of these precious Jo Brightoners were walking toward me. One was a young man with Down’s Syndrome and the other was a young lady with cerebral palsy. The young man was dressed neatly in stylish beige cargos and a polo shirt. With his chubby hands and wide grin he was showing off what was clearly a prized possession to his friend. His hospital identification badge. He was holding it out from the lanyard around his neck with pride beaming from his almond eyes. His comrade walked beside him with an uneven and clumsy gait. One arm was drawn up and withered at her side. Her speech was severely impaired. She smiled at her friend and pointed with her good hand at his badge as she lurched down the passageway at his side.
“You look weal nice in dat pitcha. You look like a good worka and a nice fren.”
“I’m gonna be da bes worka. You gonna be a good worka too.”
“Yeah, we gonna be good workas and good frens, huh?”
It took a matter of seconds for these two “worka and frens” to walk past me and for me to overhear their conversation. I stopped to watch them as they walked on down the hall. She clumsily bumping into him, he continuing to admire his brand new badge and encourage her about how proud he was of her hard work.
So simple. So overwhelming.
I can get out of bed and stand on my own two feet. I drive a car and go to work and collect a pretty decent paycheck for it.
I am saved by grace and loved by many.
I am a good worka and I have good frens.
This is what should overwhelm me.
And it does.

Psalm 65:2-4
O you who hear prayer, to you all men will come. When we were overwhelmed by sins, you forgave our transgressions. Blessed are those you choose and bring near to live in your courts! We are filled with the good things of your house, of your holy temple.

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Do you ever feel overwhelmed?
Well, I do.
At work the other day, I was overwhelmed. I looked at the clock and I looked at the tasks that were accumulating in front of me and there was no way I was going to get it all done. Overwhelmed. There is a nurse who used to work with us who was overwhelmed from the moment she stepped off the elevator in the morning and she was famous for these words, “I’m going to scream and run out of the building.”
That was what I wanted to do. Scream and run out of the building. Or run screaming out of the building, or any variation thereof. I couldn’t wait to get out of there and at the same time I felt that I should stay and tie up the endless loose ends. There’s no screaming and running in nursing.
Last week I had an episode of overwhelmed at home. It was a laundry overwhelming.
The Mr. has an evil plot to do certain things wrong every time so I won’t ask him to do said task again. Laundry is one of those tasks.
I will admit that I have a certain manner in which I would like to run this house which I do believe is to the best advantages of its inhabitants. One of those is that when the week starts on Monday, I think all the necessary elements of a successful week should be in place. Groceries, housework, laundry, etc.
So the Mr. is doing laundry. Here is how the Mr. does laundry. Pick up a handful of miscellaneous items, cram it into the washing machine, dump in detergent, start machine. Is the machine already on hot, small load setting? So be it. Has the Mr. picked up jeans, socks, delicates and my brand new blouse in one scoop? So be it. In they go.
When load is complete, within three to four days the Mr. will reapproach and cram the items into the dryer. Often on high heat. Fabric softener sheet optional (the eighth deadly sin if one lives in furnace static cling Michigan). Clean out the lint screen? What lint screen?
Load finishes, dryer buzzes and in three to four days the Mr. again approaches, or not. Usually whoever is unfortunate enough to attempt to do more laundry is stuck with whatever that person finds in the dryer. That unfortunate person was me. Crammed into the dryer I found a slightly damp three loads in one wrinkled mess. Including my now shrunk beyond belief wadded up brand new blouse, having had only one wearing before its assault at the hands of my husband.
And this, my friends, was overwhelming. Ok, it may seem very petty to you and maybe you never become overwhelmed with relatively minor issues. But I do. I am the camel whose back has been broken by the proverbial straw. I react like a lunatic to every so many offenses; and this was it.
I showed the Mr. the results of his handiwork and included a reminder that he’s forty one years old, been married twenty years and hearing the instructions for laundering without destructive side effects for many moons. I held up my ruined blouse and threw it into the garbage with a flourish. I explained the problem and how it should’ve been handled and then reminded him that this was not late-breaking information. I told him that I suspect this is a passive aggressive attempt to avoid being asked to do laundry.
“All right. Maybe you should do it yourself then. If I’m going to do it; I’m going to do it my way. Sorry about your blouse. Go buy a new one.”
And then the snakes flew out of my hair and my head spun around backwards and the earth stood still.
And I was overwhelmed.
Yes, I yelled and yes I was angry and yes I stomped upstairs, pulled out a book and didn’t come back down to the living room for the rest of the evening. And yes I gave him the cold shoulder the next morning.
Correct response? No. But I was overwhelmed and somewhere in it all, I just boiled over.
In the midst of it all though; I came up with a solution that I am quite pleased with. You’ll think me a terrible wife and mother but honestly, I don’t care. I don’t want to be laundry overwhelmed again.
I informed the men that live here with me that I no longer do their laundry. And they are not to do my laundry (like there’s a big possibility of them doing my laundry behind my back).
So for the last week I’ve done my little loads of laundry here and there. Scrubs laundered, line dried and pressed. Delicates delicately cleaned and put away. Sweaters smelling Bounce fresh and static free.
And on Saturday, no Mt. Vesuvius of laundry to tackle.
Meanwhile, last night the Mr. announces that he has no clean underwear. Mac asks when I’m doing laundry and Jay states he’s just wearing his stuff dirty.
There was a time that this would’ve overwhelmed me all over again and after more screaming and snake hair I’d have stomped to the basement and done their laundry.
Not so today.
I refuse to carry that burden, it ain’t mine.
The Mr. shared the heart-breaking story of not having clean underwear in the Ford Motor Company’s men’s locker room.
Sad, says I. Do your laundry.
Sometimes we can’t get out from under the stuff that overwhelms us. That’s the stuff that God will get us through despite ourselves. Like days at work when it’s just piling up faster than we can do the job. Like children who are sick and we can’t fix it. Like bills that are bigger than paychecks and elderly parents who need more than we can give and spouses who don’t love us the way we need to be loved.
Then there’s the stuff that we pile on ourselves and it’s our fault we don’t step back and get out from under it.
Like laundry someone else can do. Like toxic relationships that need to end. Like bad habits we won’t break and apologies we owe and grace we won’t ask for.
When you figure out which category the stuff in question falls into, you feel a lot better.
What’s overwhelming you?

Psalm 55:5
Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Magnificent Sin

Psalm 25:19-21
See how my enemies have increased and how fiercely they hate me! Guard my life and rescue me;
let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me,
because my hope is in you.

Some of us have been captivated by the scandal surrounding mega-church pastor Ted Haggard of late. Some have gotten a degree of satisfaction as yet another evangelical falls from his pedestal and most Christians are just sad. None of us knows the truth. A few of us don’t think it’s any of our business.
This isn’t a post about Ted Haggard but about the potential for sin in all of us and how naive we all are where sin is concerned.
For what it’s worth, here’s what I think about sin.
I do it. I was born into it and I come by it naturally. In fact, I sin magnificently.
I sin in hidden ways that you’ll never know about unless I tell you, and I’m not going to tell you.
I could sin right out loud but often it’s not my moral compass that stops me so much as my pride. I don’t want to be caught, labeled and pointed out.
I have asked forgiveness for sins that only God and I are aware of. I have also asked for grace to cover sins that I myself can’t remember but I’m sure they are there staining my soul nonetheless.
I am capable of rebellion, blasphemy and war against God.
I can do all three within the confines of my skull and you’d never know it.
My sin has degraded me and made me degrade others. Worst of all, it has degraded the cross.
My sin sometimes feels very much like righteousness in disguise when it’s driven by ego.
It feels like justice when it’s fueled by anger.
My sin has only one goal, it wants to kill me.
It will kill you too if it can get its hands on you.
I can’t obey enough rules to stop sinning and I can’t isolate myself from enough of the world to break free. I can’t dress in a certain manner or speak a certain way or pull myself up out of the mud by my own bootstraps.
You and I are capable of sin.
And we are magnificent at it.
God, cleanse me with the blood of Christ, guard me with your Spirit and create in me a hunger for holiness that distracts me from all other pursuits.
Be magnificent in me.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Elect

So it's election day.
I am not here to tell you who or what to vote for being that there is not a single candidate for anything out there who has not offended me in some way. Not one.
Anybody out there know what I mean?
Anybody else sick to death of lawn signs, unsolicited phone calls and intellectually insulting television ads?
Give me a candidate with enough dignity to rise above this garbage and you might get a little enthusiasm out of me.
I don't like politicians. Don't like campaigns. I think it's all a circus.
That being said; please don't let the idiocy become a reason you don't vote. I understand if that's what you're tempted to do. Look the other way and let the fools wrestle each other to the ground. I feel the same way.
Still, I refuse to let these fools take complete control. I vote issues and not candidates because the candidates don't impress me, not one of 'em.
Please, pray and ask God what to do with the power of your vote, and then use that vote to turn your part of your community back toward holiness.
And if, like me, you think they're all idiots; hang on. A better leader's coming.

Jeremiah 30:21
Their leader will be one of their own; their ruler will arise from among them. I will bring him near and he will come close to me, for who is he who will devote himself to be close to me?' declares the LORD.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Our Typical Bounty

Jeremiah 31:14
I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty," declares the LORD.

More hearth, home and harvest thoughts from me today. These thoughts also had me contemplating if I’m so attuned to my blessings at the change of every season or if this particular time of year speaks especially to me.
Either way, today is a good day.
It’s Sunday morning, November 5, as I’m sitting at my computer writing. The Mr. has already left for church some two hours ago being that he plays in the worship band and has to be there for early service. Mac will stay home this morning because he’s just on the tail end of this nasty flu thing and I want him well-rested for school tomorrow. I’ll wake Jay up in a few minutes to start getting ready for church.
It’s chilly out, although not freezing. The Fox 2 weather people tell me it’s in the low forties. That’s practically a Michigan heat wave. It’s your typical sunshiney crisp Michigan autumn, and I hope I never lose sight of the sweet typicalness of it.
Sometimes on Sundays we go out to dinner after church. Once fall and football season arrive, we start eating at home more often so the Mr. and daboyz can watch whatever game(s) is on. Chilli or nachos is standard fare on those Sunday afternoons but with Mac’s gastric issues of late I put my foot down despite the Mr. going grocery shopping yesterday and stocking up on chilli and nacho supplies.
Into the pantry I went this morning before the sun was quite above the horizon, still in my pajamas with the coffee perking (have I ever mentioned how deeply satisfying I find the smell of coffee in the morning? Never gets old. I’m sure I’ve not shared this before...). So rooting around for what we might have for Sunday dinner the Mr. pulls out our standard giant can of green beans. In that quiet wonderful manner of two who know each other so well we started the day. He put the green beans into our large stew pot and added onions and bacon. Before long the house was smelling like a holiday, you know those early morning smells as you start the preparations for a special meal? A typical special Sunday morning.
I pulled a ham out of the freezer to add to our green beans. The Mr. added a jar of pintos to the green beans because it’s a good source of fiber and nutrients that Jay, with his Celiac disease, sometimes misses out on. No discussion needed.
I turned on the dishwasher to take care of the multiple pizza pans and cereal bowls from Saturday.
Off the Mr. went to church as I stepped into the shower.
Mac awoke just as I was finishing my morning routine. Feeling better. Weak. But better.
I made him a cup of hot tea. Kettle on the stove whistling. Tea tastes better that way than from a microwave, don’t you think? He wanted honey and lemon in his tea because his throat is still a little sore. Honey and lemon it is.
Oh, and do we have any corned beef hash?
Yup. Coming right up.
The beans with bacon and onion are smelling wonderful and the sun is shining bright and the hot tea with honey and lemon is steaming in a big red mug.
Into the oven with the ham. Glaze and pineapples at the Mr.’s request to be added later.
Mac loves Au Gratin potatoes. Any in pantry? Sure. Not from scratch, but the kind he likes.
Jay just got up and into the shower. We two will leave for church shortly.
Mac will sip his hot tea. We’ll be home in a few hours.
The ham and beans will be ready and I’ll finish up with the Au Gratin potatoes.
What great bounty I live with. Just a simple matter of opening a cabinet, peeking into a pantry and turning on a kettle.
Ham, green beans, Au Gratin potatoes.
Hot tea with honey and lemon.
Not a holiday. Not a special meal. Just a typical day with more than we need at our fingertips.
Warm, well-fed and blessed.
Our typical bounty.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

November 5, 2006

Proverbs 3:7-9
Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones. Honor the LORD with your wealth with the firstfruits of all your crops;

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday Morning Blessings

1. The smell of coffee.
2. All four of us home this morning.
3. Feeling better.
4. Going to a wedding and a reason to dress up!
5. Get to see my family at the wedding!
6. Romans.
7. Laundry's caught up.
8. Cold outside; warm inside.
9. Peaceful heart.
10.Church tomorrow!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Sick Day

Good Friday Everybody,
Mac & I are under cootie house arrest today so it's all quiet on the Smith front. He has stopped puking, which is a good thing. Now he's just kind of worn out and draped over the couch. I'm a little better. Took my first round of antibiotics and not so "hit-by-a-truck" feeling.
I am a little aggravated that I'm off work for two days. I HATE calling off work. But the dr. took that in hand by telling me I'm contagious and can't work until Monday so I suppose that's that. Something about being a nurse, exposing patients, blah blah blah.
I woke up this morning and let the dog out and there was a little bit of snow stuck to the grass and that definately lifted my mood. There is something supremely luxurious about being at home when it's cold and snowy outside. It's not exactly a blizzard or anything but my Laura Ingalls heart insists that when frigid weather looms, a person should be inside warm and snug. Which Mac and I are, so I think I'll just enjoy this sick day of mine.
I do love being at home, and here I am so why not make the best of it? I have visions of eggy sandwiches and a hot tea kettle and maybe I'll pull out my "Long, Long Trailer" DVD and really hunker down for a good old fashioned sick day, the way God intended.
I'm so thankful that when I post that I've got cooties, I have seventeen comments of love from people I know and those I'll hug real hard in heaven when I finally meet them. I'm thankful that when I get sick I have a job that will pay me to stay home. I have access to a doctor and medication. I have health insurance. I have a place to take my sick child for care and he is strong and healthy enough to recover quickly. I have a warm home and a soft couch and a kitchen full of comfort food. I have so much more than so many. Maybe a sick day is a good time to realize just how much I have. I'm going to spend this one thankful and blessed.
Wherever you are today; God be with you. May you have a warm and luxurious day surrounded by great and small blessings.
Love to you all!
Psalm 144:3
O LORD, what is man that you care for him, the son of man that you think of him?

Thursday, November 02, 2006


First Mac had strep.
Then both of daboyz got throat infections.
Then the entire psychiatric inpatient unit got the flu.
And now...
I have cooties.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Falling In Love

I love living in Michigan because we experience all four seasons; sometimes in the same week.
The beautiful thing about it is that when it’s time for the seasons to change, I’m ready for the next season to come with it’s weather, holidays and specialness.
I do, however, have a favorite season and that’s autumn. As I get to work in the mornings with the wind blowing and rainy days looming, lots of people are complaining already about the cold to come and the lost days of summer warmth. Not me. I’m ready for the heat to fade away and to bundle up in sweatshirts and thick socks.
I love the leaves changing and the stark contrast of bare branches against gray skies. I like the settling in feeling I get down in my bones. The earth giving me permission to stay in, stay warm and be quiet. I like the slowing down of autumn.
I was an autumn bride and had one autumn baby. One event was intentional and the other was a surprise. Both add to my affinity for October in particular.
Although I’ve never been a farmer, I imagine the hard work of planting and sowing fields that yield the bounty of harvest in the fall.
I like apple orchards and harvest festivals and the sound of the Michigan wind blowing in the night when I’m warm under blankets and feeling cloaked in my blessings.
I think that coffee tastes better in cold weather and books are more interesting and food simmering on the stove smells extra yummy.
What is autumn like in your neck of the woods and what is your favorite thing about my favorite season?

Psalm 85:11-13
Faithfulness springs forth from the earth, and righteousness looks down from heaven. The LORD will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest. Righteousness goes before him and prepares the way for his steps.