Sunday, April 30, 2006

Blog Church 4/30/06

Hebrews 3:4
For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Things That Brighten My Day

1. A strong cup of coffee.
2. Sunshine.
3. Music.
4. Prayer.
5. My husband.
6. Daboyz.
7. E mails.
8. Text messages.
9. Blog comments.
10.Other people's incredible blogs.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Why You Should Never Let God Know You Hate Someone

1. He will then cause that person to be in your life far too much.
2. He will cause you to notice redeeming qualities in that person that you would prefer to deny.
3. He will cause that person to be kinder to you than you are to them making you realize you are a steaming pile of doo.
4. He will remind you that you are not so hot yourself but He still died for you and you can at least make nice.
5. He will turn the person you hate into a friend forcing you to rely on, trust in and love them which totally screws up the hate process.

Romans 12:18
If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bloody Grateful

Blood transfusion
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Blood transfusion is the process of transferring blood or blood-based products from one person into the circulatory system of another. Blood transfusions may treat medical conditions, such as massive blood loss due to trauma, surgery, shock and where the red cell producing mechanism (or some other normal and essential component) fails (see blood diseases).

Donating blood has become commonplace in our society. My son is thinking of donating. My husband has several times. We probably all know someone who has received a transfusion. Life giving stuff, blood.
I know people who, facing surgery, have donated blood for themselves or banked the blood of people they know.
Transfusion is a tricky thing that I won’t pretend to be an expert about. I do know you have to be typed and matched. You can’t transfuse my blood, A- into a B+ person. What would happen? Death.
I know that when a nurse is setting up a transfusion she is required to have a second nurse confirm type with her to prevent fatal errors.
I also know that my mom is probably feeling a little yucky right now with all this blood talk. Sorry.
I’m just saying that it’s a big deal, receiving the right kind of blood. And it’s dependent on the right kind of donor volunteering to share, literally, life.
I’ve never had a medical procedure that required a transfusion and I’m pretty happy about that. But I have had a transfusion. My blood type is not limited to A-. I’m a type C as well. Christ donated and I accepted the gift of life.
It changes everything when you’re on the brink of death and somebody steps up to give you what you are lacking. It changes who you are and where you’re headed now.
So I’m just saying, thanks. I had massive blood loss due to sin. I had tried to operate on myself and just caused more damage. I was getting shocky and fading fast. And just in time, the much-needed transfusion arrived.
Blood anyone?

Matthew 26:28
This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

My Birthday Wish

One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them.
Virginia Woolf

I'm not a fan of my own birthday. It's not that I mind growing older, in fact I wouldn't turn back the clock for all the Sketchers in Kohl's. It's that my only birthday wish is for it to pass minus pomp and circumstance. Quiet. Unobtrusive. For someone who wants to speak to multitudes and be read by millions I really want to be ignored as much as possible. I'm a freak, I know.
My family, friends and loved ones, however, refuse to honor my birthday wish. They, in fact, start celebrating approximately a week early by kicking off with a birthday cake on Easter. I hope Jesus doesn't mind.
Cards and such continue until the big day which always includes an early morning phone call from my dad. My husband plans for dinner out. I just knuckle down and wait for it to pass, begging those who say they love me to just let it go.
Today was no different. Early morning phone call and e mail from the parents. Hugs and kisses from the Mr. (always welcome). More e mails. More cards in the mail.
I worked today and my co-workers, under the influence of our psychologist, spent eight hours pelting me with those little metallic "happy birthday" things you decorate tables with and calling them birthday wishes.
Several paranoid schizophrenics wished me happy birthday leading me to believe that either they really do have super powers or someone was tipping them off.
My sister, the professional registered nurse who works a few floors over from me gets the prize for ignoring my birthday wish. Our hospital uses a pneumatic tube system like a bank drive-through. While passing out medications I was brought several deliveries with home made "happy birthday, love Amy" cards. I received a fleet's enema, perineal wash, a truss, a posey restraint vest, feminine products, a New Testament and some Swedish Fish candies. Hospital shopping is a challenge.
The only one who really honored my wish was my son Mac, who insisted my birthday was tomorrow because today is the 23rd. This being wrong as today (writing this on Tuesday) was the 25th and my birthday isn't the 24th. Apparently he's still on Mexico time or something.
I'm learning, with text messages, gifts of enemas and early morning phone calls to just take it in stride. It's 24 hours long. I smile and wait for it to pass.
I also realized something, I am loved. Whether I want to celebrate out loud or quietly nobody really cares. Because I don't belong to myself. I'm part of a greater whole...of a family and a marriage and a circle of friends. I'm thankful finally, to be celebrated.
I looked in my rearview mirror today and thought "you're ok for an old chick". And I felt God's answer, "You are finally learning that the beauty of life is love, and you are loved. That's why no one grants your birthday wish."
So I have a new birthday wish, let me love the way I'm loved.
And on your birthday, there will be a Fleet's enema with your name on it.
Thanks, for celebrating me.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

April 25, 1967

I am from plaid couches, from Town Club pop and meatloaf for dinner.
I am from the corner house, plain, white and humble.
I am from the giant cherry tree, the bush in the front and the long bumpy sidewalk.
I am from a mouse at Christmas and she looks just like Eleanor; from Trent and Ger’stein; from Meszaros and Mezigian.
I am from the pursuit of holiness ; too serious and laughing until you cry.
From you have to suffer for beauty and close the vin-door.
I am from redeemed and the Old Testament and Amazing Grace.
I’m from Ft. Hood, Texas, Hungary, Armenia, Germany and West Virginia coal mines, rice pilaf and stuffed cabbage.
From the sugar beet too big for her little hands, the encyclopedia read in the outhouse, the cat that Grand-dad shot and the Saturday shopping trips.
I am from the farm and the suburbs. I am from poverty and wealth. I am from shish-kebob in July and family prayer and bunkbeds. I am from babies well-loved and no boundaries. I am from fire trucks and pots of soup and nurturing and discipline. I am from genocide and survival. I am from trying to do better. I am from purple Schwinns with banana seats. I am from swimming pools and Daisy May Sunshine Trent. I am from California and Michigan and West Virginia. I am from knowing who I am. I am from I will meet you in the morning just inside the Eastern Gate.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Altar Service

I am so lazy. There’s no other way to say it, lazy. I simply don’t want to do anything, ever. I only want to sit alone in my living room and read. I don’t want to clean my house, exercise, shop, study or anything that would justify the amount of space I take up in the world.
I hate my laziness. I truly do. I look around and think of all the stuff I should be doing and could have done and I just want to kick myself. But I don’t, because I’m too lazy.
I have perfected the art of doing the essentials but the problem with that is that the unessential starts to pile up and pretty soon, you’ve got a mountain of essentials. That’s the problem with laziness, you end up having more to do because you don’t stay ahead of the game.
I don’t know what to do with my laziness except maybe, instead of my usual turning-over-a-new-leaf approach, I think I’ll make it a God thing. Funny how much of life I still try to wrestle with myself when it’s all God stuff.
What a lesson to be learned, that it is all about God. The lazy, selfish, frightened, sad, hopeless, angry, confused parts of me need to be presented to God along with the stuff that I think is worthy of giving to Him. I want to give Him the best of me so I try to identify the things I’m good at and give those over to His use. I teach or I write and I do it for Him. But there’s a hidden part of me; there’s a hunchback in the bell tower who I would prefer He didn’t see. It’s not that I don’t think God realizes I’m lazy, it’s that I’m ashamed of it. And I think I should fix it myself and then show Him what good work I’ve done. But that isn’t the truth of redemption is it?
I’ve been reading about “living sacrifices” and the Mr. and I have been talking about worship a lot lately. We talked about gifts and talents that we all have and giving those to God’s service as our sacrifice. He sings and plays bass. I teach and counsel. Those are our sacrifices.
Here today though, I’m wondering about sacrificing something else. I’m considering bringing forth a sacrifice of laziness. What do you do with a sacrifice? You offer it to God, not hanging on to it as your own. You let it die so you can live. You leave it on the altar and don’t take it back home with you.
What if I said, “Here God, is my laziness. Here is my desire to just satisfy my flesh. Here is my tendency to waste the moments of life You’ve given me. Here in fact, are my days. I surrender my right to waste them. I give them to Your service. I sacrifice my laziness.”
Worship is devotion to something/someone. When I spend my time in nothingness, in laziness and selfishness; where is my devotion? It is to myself. It is for myself. What if I stopped being lazy, what if I used my time productively and responsibly. Could it be that worship can happen every day? Every time I ask God, “what do I do in this moment?”; could that be worship? Could sacrifice of self be the first step of worship?
Dear God, please forgive me for the selfishness that fuels my laziness. Thank you that in your mercy and love for me, you reveal your truth to me whenever I am willing to listen. Give me the courage and the discipline to lay my days on the altar for your use. Take from me the childish desire to only please my laziness and give me greater joy in pleasing you. Be the center of my days. Be the object of my devotion, be the God of my worship. Thank you. Amen

Romans 12:1
1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual[a] act of worship.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


1. Ain't No Sunshine When She's Gone
2. Come To My Window
3. Everything I Do
4. Can't Keep My Eyes Off of You
5. I'll Be
6. Grace Like Rain
7. The Banana Boat Song
8. Devil Went Down to Georgia
9. I'd Rather Have Jesus
10.You're the One That I Want

*Any of these would be acceptable for my funeral.

Friday, April 21, 2006


Every once in a while God has to remind me of how small I make my world, and how much more there is of it to be had. Today He has done it again. Simply, beautifully God is shining around me and teaching me about abundance.
I woke up with the headache that won’t die that has lasted longer than I care to comment on. I didn’t particularly care to do much but lay on my couch and read and try to keep my head still. I wasn’t depressed or down or even discouraged but just kind of still and introspective. Then I got to thinking about better ways to spend my day and better thoughts to fill my mind and I asked God for a different feel to my heart.
Do you ever need that? Just a boost, a little “uppy” as my kids used to call it. They would come up to us as little ones and wanting to be lifted up they would raise their hands and stretch their arms and say “uppy”. We all knew what that meant and they were guaranteed that some loving adult; mom, dad, grandmas, grandpas, aunts... would always lift them. They wanted a better view, a higher perch and the closeness of being held that went along with it.
This morning I realized I have had too many days in a row of quietness and slowness and I needed an uppy.
I put on some praise music, really loud. I opened my windows to let the cool spring air through. I put in a load of laundry, washed a few dishes, got myself together and got moving. I breathed in really deeply and slammed back some cold water. And I took that uppy I’ve been needing. Within moments I was thinking about my fantastic husband, my beautiful boys, my amazing family. I was reminded of the people God has placed into my life who usher me into praise and giggles and trust and love and life; a great big full life. I got a better view from a higher perch. I got the lift into the arms of Christ that changed my perspective.
Abundant life exploded in front of my eyes. Cherry blossoms blooming on my tree outside. Springtime blowing through my little house. Worship and adoration whirling around my head. Abundant goodness had been hiding. I needed an uppy to see it.
Are you feeling a little down, a little blah? A little like it’s just another day, and the same old things are in front of you? Don’t accept it. Be like my boys, they weren’t willing to take life from the point of view they had in front of them. They wanted to see it all and be held close by someone who loved them in the process.
The stuff of life won’t go away; but it’s a whole lot prettier when you get an uppy.

John 10:10
... I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

(Mike's) Stupid Evangelism Trick #4

DISCLAIMER: In the spirit of honesty and forthrightness, I will admit that I did not write the following but snatched it from the blog of my friend Mike. He's a deeper thinker and better writer than I, so I guess I'll share my space. One takes no prisoners when identifying stupid evangelism tricks.
And so from the mind of Mike (

Monday, March 20, 2006, 04:48 PM - day to day
It would be great if I could blow up most church signs. Honestly, most of them are just so utterly ridiculous, it is beyond me how they come up with this stuff! Although, if you go to a typical Christian bookstore, you'll actually find books with these fine sayings that boil down the wonder and mystery of God into quips and puns that turn the meat of theology into small cheese puffs that when really pressed down leave you with wasted space.

Some of the more popular one's I've seen or encountered others reporting include:

“Are you wrinkled with worry? Come into church for a faith lift!”

“Don’t have anything to be thankful for? Check your pulse!”

“This church is prayer-conditioned.”

“Distribution center for the bread of life.”

“A shut mouth gathers no foot.”

"Church shopping? We're open Sundays."

"If Jesus returns this Sunday where will He find you?"

"God answers knee-mail."

"A day hemmed with prayer seldom comes unraveled."

"Are you a reprobate?
II Corinthians 13:5"

Recently, at a small church in Taylor, MI (in winter time mind you) I saw this one: "You think it's hot here," which could only be topped by an earlier attempt on the same sign: Seating for eternity: "Smoking or Non?"

When I stop to think about these signs we all drive by (usually after pulling over on the side of the road to hurl my most recent meal), I ask myself what kind of nut-job person or couple would see signs like this and then say, "You know what Maud--we ought to check that place out...sounds nice.."

So I am begging you, if your spiritual gift is church-signing, stop making them SUCK! Stop turning theological truth into pre-school sayings. Stop assuming people driving by have an understanding of the gospel and find your biblical play on words as amusing as you. Stop fulfilling the idea that all Christians are large blue-haired women with smearing mascara and married to some guy mailing you a prayer hankey with some holy snot on it if you send a $500 offering or more in and "plant a seed." SERIOUSLY..please stop!

So there you have it, that's my take on most church signs. In the mean time, I hold out hope that they can be redeemed somehow (the signs that is). I recall one youth pastor I knew some time back who got put in charge of their church sign. He lasted two weeks before the responsibility was taken from him! What did he put in order to spice it up a bit?

"Aren't you glad you weren't aborted?" and "Yo Quiero Jesus"

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

What The World Needs Now

Some of them were old. Some young. Some of them were fat, skinny, black, white, Asian and Middle-Eastern.
Some looked me in the eye and smiled and some looked me in the eye with less than friendly intent. Some said “Hi.” Some ignored me.
Some were well-dressed and others looked a bit rough around the edges.
There were some with screaming children and some using walkers. There were some coming and some going.
They were the shoppers at Wal-Mart and K Mart today. I went both places grabbing supplies for my kids. There were a million of them I do believe. I was a bit annoyed by them frankly. Too many of ‘em. Slowing me down, getting in front of me in line, blocking the aisles with their carts. Chatting it up with the cashier when I had places to go. “Move along there Skippy!” screamed inside my head. At least I’m pretty sure I didn’t actually say it out loud. Man, people can really irritate me by co-existing in my space.
I just wanted to get in, get out and get on with my day for crying out loud and they are just so; so; so human!! And there!! And , and, and...
And God loves them. Every fat skinny loud quiet young old rich poor insert-nationality-here rude friendly chatty pouty one of them. God loves them. As much as He loves me.
I stood there in the check-out line and caught a glimpse of God like never before watching the people streaming in and out of the doors sure to get in my way at some point. Suddenly I saw love flowing in and out of automatic doors at the nation’s leading discount king. Love walking around, not knowing it was loved. God’s heart, beating in front of me.
All of a sudden, they weren’t in my way any more. All of a sudden, they were the reason I was there, to ask God to give the ones who needed it another chance to find Him. To ask for their safety. To pray for their blessing.
All those nameless, faceless, irritating, smiling in my way people. Put there, I think, to teach me a little lesson in love.
God love ‘em, each and every one of ‘em.
And teach me to do the same.

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say

Colossians 3:7-9 (New International Version)
7You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices

“Man, have you noticed how much casual swearing you hear? I don’t like it.” That was my 16 year old Mac. And so there in the car driving to dinner a discussion started amongst the four of us about how easy it is to let our conversation run a little salty. Mac was specifically bothered by some joking he heard from some Christians. Some words that checked his own spirit to be careful.
Remember that old song? Oh be careful little hands what you do? Oh be careful little feet where you go? Oh be careful little mouth what you say? For the Father up above is looking down in love...
We live in a world where we are barraged by less and less edited speech. One of the freedoms we need wisdom to live within. I’ll speak for myself and say that this makes it easy for me to be less bothered by words and conversations that wouldn’t have been acceptable at one time. Is it better that I have more liberated speech now? Honestly, up until Saturday April 1, 2006 I was occasionally aware of how much I was tolerating. After Mac started us talking and thinking, I did some repenting and refocusing.
Here’s how I see it now. Some words you use may offend me and not be a big deal to you. And some words I use may be upsetting to you. I am going to try very hard not to be the naughty word police and exact a five cent fine for bad words and swears.
But what I am going to do is dial my heart back a few decades where my mouth was a little more guarded. Back in the days of PG movies and bubble gum rock. Back when I didn’t excuse things if I could label them as art. There is only one great artist. And I’m going to work hard at imitating Him. Don’t send me a list of funny words you found in the Bible (you know who you are). I’m not being quite that literal.
I’m going to try to speak from a renewed heart. I’m going to ask God to cleanse my lips. I’m going to hold myself accountable to things that might offend someone else or Christ and if there’s any doubt...don’t. I know that. I got sloppy for a while but my kid reminded me who I am. If out of the fullness of my heart my mouth speaks I should be so busy with love, compassion, truth and grace that certain words just don’t fit the script.
So if you hear me using language that makes you cringe; charge me a nickel. I’ll pay.

Monday, April 17, 2006

The Day We Met Jesus At The Door

One day many years ago two little girls were happily playing on the front porch. It was a warm summer day and the two little girls were whiling away the time by leaning back against the screen door and bouncing on it with their behinds.
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
It was a fine time to be sure.
Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.
Just as the girls were bouncing, their dad pulled up and got out of his truck with their cousin, Tom.
Bounce. Bounce. CRASH!!
The two little girls fell backwards on their behinds when the door caved in.
Run. Run. RUN!!!
The two little girls ran away.
And now the truth can be told. The two little girls were praying.

Matthew 7:7
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Sunday, April 16, 2006


John 11:25
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;"

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter Stuff

1.Sunrise service
4.Recee's Peanut Butter Eggs.
5.Egg hunts.
6.Baskets with colorful plastic grass.
7.Macaroni salad with tuna.
8.Little boys in short pants.
9.Up From The Grave He Arose!! With A Mighty Triumph O'er His Foes!!!
10.Grave, where is your sting? Death, where is your victory?

Friday, April 14, 2006

I Am My Father's Daughter

Because I am my father’s daughter...

I believe the Bible is perfect, true and all I need to live rightly.
I pray.
I know that family is all.
I sometimes end up standing alone with my ethics.
I will tell you the truth even if you won’t like me for it.
I know that mercy & grace are different than tolerance.
I know that the generations to come will walk on the bridges built by the generations before.
I have a responsibility to God, then my spouse, then my kids, then the world. In that order.
I need to give some part of my self to mankind if I’m to be worthy of my life.
I will fight if need be.
I will stand for my country.
I will pray for my president.
I cry during 9/11 footage, still and always.
My sons will go to college.
I chose a man of honor who loved God to be my husband.
I am the great granddaughter of coal miners and immigrants who had nothing, the granddaughter of auto workers and public servants who had some, the daughter of a firefighter and homemaker who had more and I am a nurse who has much.
I am my father’s daughter.
Happy birthday Dad.

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

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

I Am

I am a grifter. A con-artist, a snake-oil salesman. I am skilled in sleight of hand. I’m a fake, a fraud, a facade of success and spirituality. I am smoke and mirrors. Stage make-up and special effects. Trap doors and tele-prompters.
I am a natural beauty born of Crest White Strips, five years of braces, $100 highlights, sixteen-hour foundation and triple action thickening/curling/lengthening mascara, extended wear lip gloss, contact lenses and space age foundational garments.
I am a quoter of scriptures I have heard and never studied. I am a raiser of hands filled with shame. I am a singer of praise with unclean lips. I am a teacher of lessons I do not live.
I am a nurse in need of healing.
I am a parent who is really a child.
I am a giver of advice who needs a counselor. I am a confidant speaker with low self-esteem. I am a champion of forgiveness and angry for no reason.
I am intelligent and illogical. I am a specialist in psychiatry and depressed. I am a student of reason and unreasonable.
I am loved and lonely. I am middle aged and wracked with teenage angst. I am unworthy and trying to convince you I’m holy.
I am a large squeezed into a medium who wants to be a small.
I am a writer with nothing to write. I am a giver with nothing to give and a hoarder with treasures I won’t share.
I want to help and I don’t want to be bothered. I am guilty and I am judgmental.
I wish I were invisible. I long for applause. I am humble and I want credit.
I hope you don’t really know me. I wish someone really knew me.
I am less than I appear and more than meets the eye.
I am redeemed.

Isaiah 43:1
"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Shh. Listen.

Do I even realize how great the Word of God is? I don’t think I do. I think it’s so available to me, so much a part of my life and my culture that I sometimes lose sight of how amazing this gift is. The Word of God a.k.a. the Bible. I have several of ‘em. Different translations. Slim and light to carry with, big and bulky with lots of study guides for at home. Paper back “cheap” Bibles and leather bound with my name in genuine golden script.
I have a Torah for those days I’m feeling my Jewish roots. I have a kicky green and blue Bible for when I’m feeling stylish.
I have Bibles in my car, next to my bed, in my living room and on my computer.
My kids have their first children’s Bibles and their pre-teen devotional Bibles and their funky metal covered current Bibles.
I have a heavy King James with places in the front where our genealogy and important dates are recorded.
But do I really “get” it?
2 Samuel 22:31
"As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

This morning I was studying for some teaching I’m doing this month and for a while there, I think I did understand. I want to be that way more. I wanted to read faster to get to the next part and slower to soak in this part. I wanted to call someone to tell them what I learned. How can something so satisfying and fulfilling and empowering be so easily set aside in my life? I don’t know.
Matthew 4:4
4Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.

Today, though, I got it. I read and I soaked and I backtracked and I thought to myself, of course this is the story that will change the world. Of course, this is the power of salvation. Of course, this is the hope of glory. Of course, this is the Word of God.
What a gift, this Word of God in the hands of mortal man. How lightly we handle it. How foolish I am. If I spend a little more time with it, maybe this Word of God will make me a little less foolish.

I'm finding myself at a loss for words; And the funny thing is it's okay
The last thing I need is to be heard; But to hear what You would say

Word of God speak; Would You pour down like rain
Washing my eyes to see; Your majesty
To be still and know; That You're in this place
Please let me stay and rest; In Your holiness. Word of God speak

I'm finding myself in the midst of You; Beyond the music, beyond the noise
All that I need is to be with You; And in the quiet hear Your voice
~ Mercy Me

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Palm Sunday As I See It

Isaiah 49:16
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands...


Saturday, April 08, 2006

Reasons to Praise Jesus

1. He's Jesus
2. He loves you.
3. You're breathing.
4. You have access to a computer.
5. He knows your name.
6. He's building you a phat crib.
7. He talks to God about you.
8. He does cool things.
9. He died for you.
10.He lives for you.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Stupid Evangelism Trick #3

By popular demand...Stupid Evangelism Trick #3
Christian paraphernalia.
What do you mean, Sara?
T-shirts, bumper stickers (current favorite: “Get Right or Get Left ”), Jesus fish affixed to anything with a smooth surface, fridge magnets, artwork involving a poem about footprints, violins or depicting a very sad sinner clearly sorry for his dastardly ways, etc, etc, etc.
Ooooh, I’ve gone and done it now, haven’t I? Oh, no she didn’t Aw snap
Actually I’m kind of surprised you came back after Stupid Trick #2. Clearly you’re waiting for Mambo #5.
Anyway, before you beat me with your giant wooden cross wall hanging, use the following formula to decide how much you despise me.
1. Are the aforementioned items used in your life as a statement and celebration of your faith and reconciliation to Christ through grace? If yes, that’s cool; continue reading to question 2.
2. Are the aforementioned items used in your life as potential prompts for conversations about how utterly amazing God is? If yes, I’m loving you so far; continue to question 3.
3. Are the aforementioned items used to condemn, judge, embarrass or prove you are superior to sinners and other less holy attired Christians? If no then you may leave a comment about how true this all is and go about your business. If yes, then you are a NUMBER THREE TRICKSTER .
Still here? Ok, let’s continue. May I hereby officially request that if you are a 3-er, please oh please slow your roll player and rethink this evangelism tool. Here’s my beef with this method.
If you are representing and offending at the same time, you’re making life pretty hard on the rest of us. If you’re going to wear that t shirt, cross necklace, WWJD bracelet and fish baseball cap please be the most loving and least condemning person in the room. And think about dialing down the road rage. And don’t park in the handicap space unless you’re handicapped. And don’t smile while you’re telling people they’re headed for H-E-double hockey sticks. And don’t tip less than 4%. And don’t send your meal back 14 times because your fries are too crispy. And don’t share the salad bar with your spouse whom you’re not paying for. And don’t have either the worst behaved kids in the history of creation or beat them into a stupor because they didn’t call you sir. And don’t be the laziest person in your work place. And don’t come in late and leave early.
And do extend genuine love and concern into the lives of those around you, especially the cranky ones. And do go the extra mile when your boss needs you to. And do smilingly give up the good parking space. And do tip the girl who cuts your hair at Bo Ric’s for $7/hour. And do forgive 70x7. And do offer to and then pray for hurting people. And do go back and ask about the people you promised to pray for. And do admit you have problems too but Jesus gives you what you need to make it. And do worship with your life and not just your bumper sticker. And do get rid of that “Get Right or Get Left” bumper sticker, it’s stupid.
Letting the dressings of your life express the joy of your salvation: Cool beanz.
Wearing a t-shirt with John 3:16 on it and treating people like doo: Stupid Evangelism Trick #3.

John 13:35 (New International Version)
35By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Life Of A Hamster

One of my favorite lines in one of my favorite movies, O’ Brother Where Art Thou? ; goes like this...”That don’t make no sense.”
Some days it seems like that will be my epitaph. I long for the days of not knowing any better. At least then I had an excuse, flimsy though it was. But to know what I should do and then to do otherwise at this point just don’t make no sense.
I eat more than I should, eat the things I shouldn’t; and then can’t zip my jeans.
I don’t do the housework and then every morning I’m overwhelmed that there’s more to do.
I don’t run the errands and then I’m cranky because everything is behind schedule.
I don’t save money and I’m panicked at the latest round of bills I can’t pay.
The list could go on for days.
Regret is like a stone in my gut sometimes. I can pardon myself mistakes made from ignorance but it’s the intentional actions (or lack thereof) leading to my circumstances that weight me down with shame and self-loathing.
Of course, the way we learn lessons is usually to keep falling into the same hole until we decide to walk around it. So I keep being given opportunities to manage life a little better. I’m a very slow learner apparently.
Just this morning I folded my scrubs and threw them in the laundry basket. Hey, says inner voice, hey; you need to iron those right now. You’re off today. You sure won’t feel like doing them before or after work. You need those scrubs ironed and ready for work. You’ll be glad you did. Hey. Hey! Where are you going?
I sat down with a jello topped with cool whip to consider the wisdom of scrub ironing. Five minutes wasted.
What’s the mystery? What’s the big decision? Iron the scrubs for crying out loud! It ain’t rocket surgery.
So I plugged in the iron. It’s warming up right now. I’ll iron the scrubs. One mini-lesson point for Sara.
Of course, I’m wearing overalls because my waistline is not jeans friendly. I have no groceries. My bedroom is beyond frat house messy.
But I’m gonna iron those scrubs. Really I am. Just one more cup of coffee. Honestly. Anyway, who’s it gonna hurt if I iron them tomorrow?
You’d think I’d be skinny from all this hamster wheel running I do.
Here lies Sara. She never did make no sense.

Romans 7:15
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

...And Give You Peace

I have so many needs, wants and wishes. Material, emotional and spiritual. I sit here thinking about what I want God to do in my heart today. I don’t want to go to bed tonight no closer to Him than I am right now.
I want the same for you. A personal moment, a shift of the heart, a lamp stand in the worried mind. God moments I guess they’re called. I don’t know what you need right now. You might need money to hang on to your home. You might have a sick child that you’re begging God to touch. You might have a troubled marriage, an elderly parent or a terrible job that is breaking your spirit.
My kids just called to say that they got into a car accident on the way to school. I answered the phone about fifteen minutes after they had left. Fifteen minutes during which I had been grousing about not feeling well and needing to do laundry. Fifteen minutes of sighing as I swept the kitchen floor and made a cup of coffee. Then the phone rang.
“Mom, we just got hit.”
They’re fine. Tail light and bumper are not. It’s ok.
Just a little reminder of the God who already knows what’s needful. Who already went ahead to set angels around us. Who answered the prayer I didn’t know I needed to pray.
I wish for you today the reminder that God is at the center of it all. I want us both, us all; to have that sweet awareness of God in us, before us and for us.
As we all walk through our separate days and live our different lives, let us all claim the blessing of ancient believers...

Numbers 6:25-27 (New International Version)
25 the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
26 the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace." '

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Blogger Beware

I have discovered a little something I like to call irony. Yes, I discovered irony.
This specific brand is blog irony.
Here’s what has happened. I blog daily. I know some of my entries are useless foolishness, some are (hopefully) encouraging or thought-provoking. I try not to be self serving, but it’s there. And the opinions expressed are those of the management and meant to represent the writer thereof. Sometimes people don’t agree, sometimes they get mad. It’s fertile ground for discord.
I don’t always know what to do about potential offense-provoking posts. I have no desire to offend anyone. In that spirit however, some of my convictions do hit others the wrong way. Still, I feel the need to speak what I believe to be true.
Here’s the irony; other people’s blogs sometimes offend me. What to do? Specifically, I just now was surfing around the internet and coincidentally ran in to the blog of someone I know. And the contents of this individual’s blog made me realize that I don’t like the way they think! I’m offended! For a moment or two, I reconsidered whether I could like the person themselves now that I had a peek into their thoughts.
Blogs can be dangerous guys. I want to make two points and then I’ll hop off this soap box.

1. You have every right to say whatever you want; it’s your blog. Just seek wisdom on how important a statement is to you vs. the reaction you’re causing. Poking people with a stick doesn’t make them want to listen to you. If you want to be heard, choose words people will listen to.
2. You have every right to stop reading any blog that offends you. No one owes you anything. We’re all walking different paths and filtering ourselves through different perspectives. Some blogs will have a positive effect on your thought life and some will have a negative effect. If you’re getting angry and not able to step back and try to see the writer’s point use your mouse. Click click. You’re outta there. Don’t visit just to see if the blogger is still a jerk and if you still hate them. You too need wisdom, reader. I’m not opposed to debate and discussion; but foolish arguing is, well, it’s foolish.
Don’t engage in word wars. Healthy discussion is great but at some point in our lives, we all need to know when to agree to disagree. Just walk away Renee.

There is nothing we are called to do by Christ that will cause division. Offense, sure. We have to challenge the things that displease God to change them. But we are all susceptible to degrading the challenge into name-calling and finger-pointing. My final question is this, are you attempting reconciliation and honor to God with your blogging, reading and commenting? Or are you patting yourself on the back for your great insight and using words as weapons?
Are you reading to check yourself and see if there’s something to learn on a particular blog? Or are you going back for an anger fix?

Just some thoughts.

Titus 3:9
9But avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and arguments and quarrels about the law, because these are unprofitable and useless.

Proverbs 19:11
11 A man's wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offense.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Good God. Good Boys.

Joshua 24:15 ... But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

Several years ago I was chatting with a man several years older than myself about how to raise kids to love God. He had older children, mine were still quite small. I was asking him how he parented and sharing about my prayers for my boys, my hopes and my faith that God would do great things for them if I gave their lives to him.
He said something that aggravated me and has always stuck with me. The gist of it was that I should prepare myself because all kids will turn their backs on God, rebel, choose a life of sin and then hopefully find their way back to their roots.
I didn’t accept that. But my kids were little so my arguments kind of hung in the air. I thought to myself, just wait and see.
Today I have a son graduating in June and another one graduating next year. And so, Sir, I offer you an update on the Smith boys.
They are good boys. They love God. They know Him personally. They know His word deeply and understand it with wisdom. They did not rebel. They did not break curfew. They did not hang with the wrong crowd. They did not drink, smoke or party. They never argued about going to church. They listen to Christian music. They get good grades. They love their grandparents and family. They stay up at night and talk silliness together. They hug us. They say “I love you”. They pray and share their burdens so we can pray too. They give glory to God for the good stuff, and walk in faith through the bad.
Are they perfect? No. I think someone set off a dirty bomb in each of their bedrooms. Two matching socks never make it to the laundry at the same time. They wait until the last minute to do the chores I ask them to do. They leave their cereal bowls and pop cans in the living room. They have messy hair. They leave book bags and gym shoes everywhere. They eat too much fast food. Given the opportunity to be at home unsupervised, they wear pajama pants all day and play video games.
They are not perfect but they are good. The are the gifts of a good God.
I hesitated to write this, some nasty voice in my head telling me it ain’t over yet! They could lose it before all is said and done! They could make a fool of you! I don’t think so. I didn’t claim that mess back when they were little, I’m sure not claiming it now.
This is not an ode to perfect parenting either by the way. It’s a heartfelt lifting of my hands to God. Thanking Him. Acknowledging Him. Always Him. Always, always Him.
Thank you God.

Proverbs 3:6
In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Blog Church 4/2/06

Colossians 3:13 (New International Version)

13Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Things That Make Me Laugh

1. Green Acres
2. I Love Lucy
3. The Mr.
4. Daboyz
5. Brian Regan
6. My patients
7. My friends
8. My family
9. Snoopy
10.God's grace