Friday, June 30, 2006
20But you, dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit. 21Keep yourselves in God's love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life.
I was raised in a good old-fashioned Pentecostal church where prayer requests were shared by standing up at prayer time for the entire congregation to hear. Sometimes there would be issues a person wanted to keep private so they would raise their hand when the pastor asked for “unspoken requests by the upraised hand.” It was a way to say, “Hey, I’m needing something over here” and knowing that your brothers and sisters in Christ would back you up in prayer even without the details with the corporate understanding that God knew what was going on and what to do about it.
In Sunday School we’d share prayer requests too, from wanting a puppy to my mom is gonna have a baby. We’d all bow our heads together as children and pray for one another.
There was another part to this system of needs, requests and prayer. It was when a person would share what God had done in response to prayer. I am guilty sometimes of praying about something and asking others to pray with me and then when God moves in my life, I breathe a sigh of relief and move on. I know better than that. I know that you share your burdens and you also share your blessings.
I have this great group of people in my life that remind me of the old congregation of prayer warriors. I can tell them what’s going on and immediately know that they are talking to God about it. It takes a good part of the burden off my heart to know that these people voluntarily take it on their own. It’s like having to move a pile of bricks and suddenly all these men and women show up and just start carrying them for you. It’s the coolest thing.
These guys not only pray for me, but they check back on me constantly; sometimes daily. They ask how I’m doing. They send me cards and e mails and they hug me and call me and text message me. And they pray for me.
So here’s the shout out for the answered prayers of my team of warriors...
Regarding the variety of issues I’ve dropped in your laps over the past few months, it’s getting better. I can feel God going in front of me. I can FEEL it.
I know that through you guys, God has granted me favor in this new part of my life. With your encouragement I’ve come to believe that I can handle what’s in front of me. With your prayers I am seeing results and feeling more confidant that God is going to use me.
The point is, your prayers are working. God is listening to you and enveloping me in His love. I can think of few other times in my life when I just felt God heavy all around me like He is now, and I know that you have called for this in my life. I thank you.
I don’t think this particular phase of my life is all wrapped up in a neat package now. In fact, I think I have probably only experienced a few warning shots that will precede a bigger battle. But I’m more battle-ready thanks to the prayers of my friends. I have some soldiers standing with me. I even have a few who have offered to beat people up for me, which is a nice bonus!
Seriously, prayer is the beginning and end of all that I would hope to do with my life. When that pile of bricks seems overwhelming, before I even reach down to pick one up; you are there. When my faith falters, you lend me some of yours. When I’m sick of talking to God about my issues, you let me rest and you do the talking. When I start to believe the lies of the enemy, you speak truth on my behalf.
And I feel it.
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.
I hate yard work. I am not altogether crazy about the outside as a concept in itself. I really love mid to high seventies, sunny, slight breeze (not enough to muss my hair) kind of days. But I have very little tolerance for any variation.
Strangely enough, I do love nature. I love trees and animals and sunrises. I love water, from over here that is. I do not want to be in actual contact with the water. It’s very wet. Again; hair issues. I think of all the things that God puts in front of us, nature speaks of His majesty in the clearest terms.
The Mr. does not like yard work either. He may be even worse than I am. I like pretty yards, I just want someone else to do it. He however, seems to abhor any attention whatsoever given to yards. When I buy the occasional flat of petunias to try to pretend we’re actual citizens of the earth, he seems to take no pleasure in them at all and only wants to know how much they cost. Yeah, cuz he’s such the frugal guy.
I used to try to do a little sprucing up in the yard when the kids were little but being the needy young woman that I was, I didn’t know how to enjoy it for its own merit. I would plant flowers and do my sorry best to make our yard look pretty and I would get just about zero feedback from the Mr. As you know, he’s quite a beast.
So I quit. I stopped planting the petunias, stopped filling pots for the front porch. And you can guess the results. Our yard sucks. It’s really a shame because we have the cutest little bungalow with a wide front porch and really, we would have very little to do to make it lovely. But he doesn’t care, and I need more affirmation than he has hours to give.
Why do I do that? I enjoy the results of a little yard attention, why can’t I motivate myself just to plant the flowers, fix up the porch and breathe in the yard of my dreams (or at least, not of my nightmares.)? Because I’m childish. I not only want what I want, I would like someone else to do the work, and if I happen to put my hand to it I would like a standing ovation. Every day.
I wonder what would happen if on a slightly breezy high seventies sunny day like today, I just potted a few petunias and then...looked at them. I could even water them on a regular basis. What if I just picked up a chair or two to put on my wide front porch and then I sat in them. Alone with my coffee on Saturday morning. What if the Mr. asks me how much I spent and I just tell him, without becoming defensive. What if I did a little yard work because it’s what I know I should do, it’s what I think someone should do and there’s no reason I can’t do it?
Probably I wouldn’t make snide comments to the Mr. about our yard. Possibly I’d pull out in the morning and back in in the evening and it would bring a smile to my face. Hopefully the neighbors would stop hating us.
And I’d stop feeding my own laziness and discontentedness.
How many things in life are like my yard? Things that offend us, that we criticize or complain about. Things we think someone else needs to fix and inspire us to point out the other guy’s inadequacies. Things that we could put our own hands to; but we choose to point a finger instead of picking up a shovel. Things don’t get better and the disappointment just keeps going deeper when we could be the one to fix it up.
Maybe there's something you've been criticizing that you could be the one to fix. Go plant a flat of petunias, buy a nice chair and do a little yard work. Of the heart or otherwise.
12 The grasslands of the desert overflow; the hills are clothed with gladness. 13 The meadows are covered with flocks and the valleys are mantled with grain; they shout for joy and sing.
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.
I ran across this verse a few minutes ago and I thought; I like that! I applied for a promotion at work a few weeks ago and recently, I found out I got it. I’m happy and terrified. I am so honored to have been chosen and I wonder if someone made a mistake. I want to do a good job. More than gaining a title or a pay increase, I want to do something good. I want to deserve this.
When the opportunity first presented itself my Mr. was certain I should apply. I asked some family and friends to pray about it. I have wrestled with myself trying to decide if I should pursue it or not. Some of my co-workers are very encouraging and some are not so much. Some people think it’s great, others think it’s too much hassle.
Finally after my last interview I came home and just told God, “Ok, here’s the deal. I don’t know what in the world to do with this. I know I want to live to honor You. So since I’m too thick-headed to figure it out, here’s what I’m gonna do. If they offer me the job I’m taking it. If You don’t want me to take it; don’t let them offer it. Got it?”
Next day, the call came; the offer came. I took it.
And then I found this verse. Keep your eyes straight ahead. I realized that my confusion has only come when I’ve looked around for wisdom that only comes from Him. When I pushed away all the other stuff and just let God give or not give me the job, it got so much easier.
When babies are learning to walk, they always keep their eyes on mom or dad or whoever is urging them on. They don’t watch their own feet or the walls or look back over their shoulders. If they do; that’s when they fall. Eyes on the one you trust, steady as she goes.
I guess if He’s watching me, it just makes sense for me to make eye contact, right?
Eyes ahead, no regrets.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
Regrets, I’ve had a few (another saying I invented; again, you may use it).
Plans vs. purpose. It’s a concept I’ve been chewing on a lot lately. I don’t like it.
I even posted about my plans and how they didn’t work out (see Plan This). I have always assumed that my failed plans were equal to failure period. I have a hard time walking away from “The Plan” and not trying to dissect the whole affair. I sometimes lay in bed at night thinking about what I could have done to change the course of things and how it would’ve made my life different.
It leaves me feeling like those old movies where the helpless damsel is tied up on the railroad tracks struggling like crazy to get untied and off the tracks before....
My heart has planned for a future that didn’t happen. I had a house chosen and a plan to live in it. I had a career path I was excited about. I had a body in my head that never seemed to make it into the real world.
The whole thing came together in my mind a few months ago during a conversation about someone who had passed away too young. We all have someone in our lives that has died and we ask that question, “What would they be doing today?”
It’s a torturous thought. In fact, it can become an obsession picturing that person getting older, getting married, being at this or that event.
Pretty soon we’re back on the railroad tracks tied up in our own thoughts. The plan has failed and now we don’t see a future that makes sense.
So back to the conversation about the person so well-loved who died too young. And those still mourning him all these years later. And the question, “What would he be doing today?” Well, God answered the question.
“Nothing. There was no today in My purpose for him. His life was complete when he died. My plans are perfect.”
I’ll be very honest with you, that seemed really harsh to me. I spent about a week really thinking hard about that. The plans that failed were plans that didn’t match the Lord’s purpose. Because His purpose prevails.
In stark terms, God was saying that if someone died a year ago or ten years ago or twenty years ago; there was no intent for him or her to be at the family reunion this summer or to be at your wedding. There never was a plan for my Grandpa to see Jay graduate. Yes, I pictured him sitting there grinning ear to ear during commencements and taking all the credit and insisting on a thousand pictures of himself with his great grandson.
But there was never a purpose from God’s heart for that to happen.
And yes, it left me feeling tied up and incomplete. Until I understood that I was pitting my plans against God’s purpose.
In my own life until just the last few weeks, I considered my career to be the runner up for the true plan. I was going to be a teacher forever. Didn’t happen. I got married and had babies and never enacted the plan. Then a few years ago I did go back to school and became a nurse. That was NEVER in the plan. I had (have) no desire to be a nurse.
Uh, wait a minute. That was NEVER in my plan. This just in, it is exactly God’s purpose.
Can I be really honest here and tell you that I graduated in 2004 from nursing school with no great pleasure at the idea of a career as a nurse. Can I tell you that I went to nursing school because it was a two year program and I crunched it in a year and half? Can I tell you that for two years I have felt that I was just doing what had to be done? Stiff upper lip. Chin up. Mourning my plans, confusing my plans with God’s purpose.
Well after the revelation about God’s purpose prevailing over man’s plans; I got to thinking about this. If God wanted me to be a teacher, I would be one. But I ain’t. Soooooo...
Gasp. God wants me to be a stinking nurse? What? You mean, I’m right there in the flow where I belong?
For two years I’ve been feeling like a fake and a failure. I’ve been feeling like I didn’t have a right to be a nurse because it wasn’t my plan. I wasn’t passionate about it. People tell me I’m a good nurse and deep down I’m kind of ashamed to receive the compliment. People ask for my opinion about a nursing issue and I don’t feel confidant in my ability.
I’m tied up on the railroad tracks and hoping nobody notices. But my heart is racing and I’m pretty sure I’m done-for.
Don’t let Satan (yes, Satan) lie to you any more. Don’t look over your shoulder at the plan and let yourself be tied up in regrets. Your plans were never meant to last, only God’s purposes are perfect. He will sideline our imperfect intentions with our own mistakes and our own talents. He’ll use people who intend to hurt us and people who love us. He’ll use every breath, word and thought to fulfill His purpose.
Even if it means interfering with my plans.
So let go. Sit up and untie yourself. Walk away from the tracks. There’s no train bearing down on you.
There is no “today” that should’ve been and isn’t.
There is no plan of God’s that you are powerful enough to destroy.
There is no purpose of God’s that you are strong enough to defeat.
My grandpa was never meant to see my sons graduate.
I was never meant to be a teacher.
And those ropes around your life are self-inflicted.
Stand up and start living in the prevailing, perfect purpose.
Sara, Registered Nurse per God’s Purpose
Monday, June 26, 2006
The Mr. does this count down thing. He’s always counting down something. This many days until Christmas, that many work days until vacation, so many weeks until our anniversary. I am not a counter-downer, I find it makes the time drag. I just kind of arrive upon the awaited day surprised that it’s here already.
The beginning of July every year we head up north. I don’t know the exact year this tradition started but it was when daboyz were tiny. Even before the Mr. and I took them north, my parents were taking them. So their history of the northern pilgrimage is even longer than ours.
My parents started thinking about a vacation home in the Northern Michigan area of Moon Lake when daboyz were still in diapers. Don’t take the name Moon Lake too seriously, it’s more of a pond/lake/puddle depending on the rainfall. It’s a humble little lake, but we like to call it ours. It’s not a swimming beachfront kind of a lake. It’s a lake for the eyes.
So every July when the Big Four shut down (you auto workers will know what that means); we head north to Moon Lake for a week or so. Last year with two teenagers, the Mr. and I started to wonder how many more of these July weeks in the woods we had left as a family of four. Happily, daboyz still look forward to the shut down trip north.
The Mr. is of course in count down mode. He should’ve worked at NASA. I am just headed into each day knowing it’s coming soon. Daboyz are making plans and talking about it more every day.
In a few weeks, we’re heading out, to Moon Lake.
My eyes are hungry for “up north.” When I was little, I developed this particular appetite with weekends and summers at my grandparents’ farm. I went quite a few years between the sale of the farm and the Moon Lake days hungry but I find that now my taste is satisfied with up north and it’s a relief to know I’m going to get my “fix” soon.
Have you ever had eyes that are hungry? I want to see the fields flying by as we drive the four hours north. Some of them are the same fields from the farm days, so that’s a bonus. I want to see the same roadside stops we make for bathroom breaks, snacks and a pop. I want to see the little towns that didn’t exist when we started the trips years ago, and the bigger towns that were little back in the day. I want to see the rivers we drive past and the houses I have dreamed about living in. I want to listen in as daboyz in the backseat comment about this or that landmark that has become a part of their marrow over their life time.
I want to drive down shadowy roads with overgrown trees that would never be tolerated in the suburbs. I want to open the door of the closed-up cottage and see the familiar futon and bar stools that have been waiting patiently for a year, frozen in time.
I want to see the family pictures on the walls that were brand-new one year, and sweet distant memories today. I want to see the deer trophies on the walls that have hung at the farm, in my grandparents’ basement, in my parents’ home and now here, at our cottage.
I want to watch my big boys wander into their cottage and settle in like they never left, throwing their bags and books and games on their own twin beds to share a room; just like when they were tiny.
I want to watch the Mr. building a campfire as I stand at the kitchen window. I want to sit shivering on the porch swing before the sun comes up with my cup of coffee watching the pine trees sway down the long driveway.
I want to sit still for hours with a book hoping for a humming bird to fly by.
I want to fill my heart with daboyz and the Mr. and Moon Lake.
My eyes are hungry.
1 I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Saturday, June 24, 2006
2. Grilled hot dogs, fresh off the barbecue or cold left-over.
3. Huron Street Steve (pictured here).
6. Warm ground and bare feet.
7. Up north.
8. Dairy Queen.
9. Coffee on the front porch in the morning (that's for you Wally).
10.Deep inhales to store up for winter-time.
Friday, June 23, 2006
Tell the righteous it will be well with them, for they will enjoy the fruit of their deeds.
So I’m here to tell ya, it’s gonna be well. It’s going to be great. It’s going to be FANTASTIC. Life that is. Of course, this is a promise to the righteous. If you’re not running after God, you will still reap the fruits of your deeds, it just won’t be all that enjoyable.
I was sitting in my living room today thinking about all the stuff I think about when I’m sitting around. I was thinking about work and this house and the boys growing up and I said to myself, self, ya gotta lighten up a little. You need to just sit back and enjoy it.
So I took a little stock of some things I need to do so I can do just that; enjoy it. There are a few things that get in the way of enjoying life. Procrastination. Not being disciplined with myself when I need to. Petty arguments. Concentrating on the wrong stuff. And just getting plain old side-tracked with life. I have invented a saying, “Stop and smell the roses.” You may quote me if you wish.
If you’re having a hard time enjoying the view; figure out what’s in the way and take care of it. If you’ve been putting off doing the housework, get on it! If you haven’t called to patch up that rift with a friend, pick up the phone! If you need to lose weight/exercise/eat healthier...well you know what I’m getting at.
Life is for enjoying, get to it!
Thursday, June 22, 2006
Beauty fades. This is true. I myself am fading at an alarming rate. I’m also looking at much older women and thinking how lovely they are. My parents have a picture of my great grandmother in their living room and I’m thinking of requesting a copy of it for two reasons. One is that I loved her and I don’t have any pictures of her. The other is that she is where I’m headed, if I live like I want to live.
She is wearing a little pink suite, gray hair in a bun, grinning. Old, wrinkled, chubby. Unglamourous to be sure. Not nearly so fabulous as I like to imagine myself.
But she is a knock-out. She’s gorgeous. She’s glowing. She’s a reflection of Christ.
I have wondered about plastic surgery and botox and having various things lifted, tucked or removed. I’m not saying I won’t do all of the above at some point. But when I get really quiet and serious about the consequences of the years already lived, I honestly kind of like crow’s feet and smile lines. I like the smiles of people who have raised their babies and loved their spouses and worked for a living. I think they are beautiful.
I know that we aren’t supposed to aim for lines in our skin, dark circles or sagging body parts. But have you noticed the alarmingly astonished looks of the unwrinkled, lifted, tucked and botoxed? They look perpetually smooth and...weird. It’s like a four star general refusing to wear his medals. What’s the point?
I have been sifting through old pictures preparing for my son’s graduation party. I was pretty cute at 18 in my senior picture. I was acceptable in my 20s. I’m closing in on 40 now and I can live with the woman in the mirror, but she ain’t exactly turning any heads these days. Despite the promises of space-age technology, I’m ok with her. I have creases at the corners of my eyes. Eyes that have cried with soul-searing pain and eyes that have cried with nose-snorting laughter. Both have contributed to their present state.
My body having carried two babies and had two c-sections is best kept under wraps and my hair requires a team of experts to achieve it’s natural blonde shade.
My skin is dry and the good people of Oil of Olay will live well as long as I’m around.
But I don’t want 18 back, or 20 or 30. I’m headed for the day when I sit in a pink suit with a bun (but not gray hair, and probably not a bun either) and grin into a camera. I hope I can be one of those wrinkly women who are still beautiful. Because there comes a time when you have to connect the outside with the inside to be truly beautiful. Sorry, all of you young hotties out there. But you don’t have the seniority for beauty yet. You’re pretty, sure enough. But time is coming for you too.
Botox can’t compete with nights on your knees praying for your children to make your eyes shine. Plastic surgery won’t lay wisdom onto your face. Life well lived is the secret to beauty.
That’s what I want. I want to sit grinning into a camera a few years before I breathe my last and look like a cover girl.
Maybe beauty doesn’t fade after all.
1 Peter 3:4
Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight.
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will...
It appears that my plan has failed. It was a good plan to be sure. I continue to theorize on where it all went amuck.
I was going to devote my life to teaching...
Having darling little girls...
After marrying Tom Cruise (kind of glad that fell through)...
Have a heart like Mother Theresa...
A wardrobe like Princess Diana...
Look like Jennifer Anniston...
And look what has become of my plan...
What’s up with that?
I laugh too loud. I talk too much. I say everything that flits across my mind. I eat like a lumberjack. I don’t like pantyhose. I want to live in sweat pants. My house is messy. So is my car.
I drink too much coffee.
I inadvertently gave birth to boys.
I became a nurse for crying out loud.
Someday me and God are gonna have to have a long talk about the plan...
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Somehow, he’s eighteen now. Somehow the nineties came and went and he flew through elementary school and learned to tie his own shoes. Somehow he has a driver’s license and a draft card (I know, I know).
Somehow he snuggled on my lap for one last time but I didn’t know it was the last time, and I can’t remember it. Somehow he lost all his baby teeth and gained a mind of his own.
Somehow he learned to ride a two-wheeler and stopped liking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Somehow I’ll stop crying when I think about loving him so much it hurts.
Somehow he went from Jordan Trent Smith to Jordan to Jaybird to Jaybaby to Joe to Joe Joe to Jay.
Somehow my son grew up into a man and I am so proud of him.
Somehow God chose to give me this gift.
Happy birthday Jay.
A wise son brings joy to his father...
Monday, June 19, 2006
Ok, kids, it’s time to kick it up a notch. It is time to use this blog for the Kingdom. It’s time to take this platform to declare the Word of the Lord. Blow the trumpet in Zion! Sound the alarm!
Many of you have occasion to come into contact with my Mr. He’s a perfectly nice Mr. as you know; but he has a dirty little secret. It’s time to make him come clean. Join with me my brothers and sisters! In the name of Jesus it’s time to confront Dean and tell him to...
BUY SARA A DISHWASHER for crying out loud!
That’s right, I do not have a dishwasher. I am still washing dishes by hand after twenty years of marriage and carrying his two children in my body for nine long months, two c-sections no less (a year apart!). After listening to bass runs and guitar riffs until my ears are bleeding. After graduating from nursing school and getting a full time job; I have no dishwasher.
It’s time to launch Operation Dishwasher of Zion.
The Lord will wash away the filth of the women of Zion.
Sunday, June 18, 2006
Saturday, June 17, 2006
1. He's a retired firefighter.
2. He's an avid outdoorsman.
3. He drinks more coffee than I do.
4. He spent summers in West Virginia as a child.
5. He's sentimental.
6. He was stationed in Ft. Hood, Texas in the army, where I was born.
7. He is a master tail-gater.
8. He never misses a Summit Academy football game.
9. He's up for any family get-together.
10. He's a great son.
Friday, June 16, 2006
Once upon a time there was a young man. He was married to his high school sweetheart. When he was 22 years old, his wife had their first baby, a son.
A year later the man’s wife had their second son.
The man loved God and the man loved his little boys. The man loved his wife too, but she didn’t always believe him.
The man’s wife watched his every move and was quick to point out his inadequacies.
“Don’t you pay attention?” “Can’t you do anything right?” “When are you going to grow up?”, the wife would say to her husband.
The wife was often right. The young man did not always pay attention and sometimes, he didn’t act much like a grown-up. There were some things he didn’t know how to do, and some things he just didn’t care about doing.
But the man loved God and the man loved his little boys. The man loved his wife too, and she learned to believe him.
The man continued to do some things wrong and to this very day, he doesn’t always pay attention. The man never tried very hard to act like a grown-up.
There are still some things he doesn’t know how to do and now he just tells his wife, he doesn’t care about doing some things.
The man is older now. The man’s two baby boys are taller than him. One is going to the University of Michigan in a few months. The other one will go to college next year and play football for the third year in the fall.
The man’s wife is overcome with gratitude.
The man’s wife has learned how to get his attention and she has learned from him what is worth paying attention to.
The man’s wife thinks he does most things right, the important things anyway.
The man’s wife is very glad he is not always very grown-up; because he fills her days with laughter.
The man’s wife has forgiven him for not knowing how to do everything because she now knows, he does everything they need.
Once upon a time a young man was married to his high school sweetheart and they had two little boys. The young man didn’t know how to be a father or a husband, but he loved God and he loved his little boys and he loved his wife. And it turns out, he really did know all he needed to know.
I love you, Dean.
Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.
My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music.
My husband turns 41 this year. He was a junior in high school when I met him. Man, is he getting old! Glad I’m not.
Dean is a musician and has been since that first moment I laid eyes on him. I have been alternately proud of that and hated it. Sometimes simultaneously.
Over time, I’ve come to understand that for the Mr., it’s more than picking up a bass or singing into a microphone; it’s his life’s work. Worship is his language.
I have written a lot on this blog about how much I love him and how grateful I am to be Dean’s wife so I won’t belabor the point today.
What I wanted to say is that for many of us, we spend the time between our first and last breaths figuring out the why of our existence. But Dean has shown me through his music the why of all existence. My husband has taught me to worship.
Sometimes I have thought that I was born for him, and him for me. I’ve even said as much to him. He always smiles that sweet dimply grin of his and says in the gentlest way possible that no, he wasn’t born for me. He was born for God.
And God in turn, gave me a gift on June 15, 1965.
And that gift taught me what I was born for.
And together, we worship.
Happy Birthday Baby.
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say, You're tearing up the grass. We're not raising grass, Dad would reply. We're raising boys. ~Harmon Killebrew
Father - to God himself we cannot give a holier name. ~William Wordsworth
Sometimes the poorest man leaves his children the richest inheritance. ~Ruth E. Renkel
A father carries pictures where his money used to be. ~Author Unknown
There are three stages of a man's life: He believes in Santa Claus, he doesn't believe in Santa Claus, he is Santa Claus. ~Author Unknown
Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope. ~Bill Cosby
When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years. ~Mark Twain
“I talk and talk and talk, and I haven't taught people in fifty years what my father taught me by example in one week.”
“I could just remember how my father used to say that the reason for living was to get ready to stay dead a long time.”
“One of life's greatest mysteries is how the boy who wasn't good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the smartest grandchild in the world.”
The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.
Theodore M. Hesburgh
It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”
Monday, June 12, 2006
20 Thus you will walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous.
In honor of the upcoming Father’s Day, I say let’s hear it for the boys. For the boys who are now grandpas and great grandpas. For the ones who are dads to be and dads to kids of all ages.
Here’s to the boys growing up to someday be dads and the ones who will remember with fondness and love the dads they grew up with.
The sons who have lost their dads, and the dads who have lost their children.
In a world that doesn’t always realize how much we need you; this is for you.
Thank you God, for men!
Sunday, June 11, 2006
Saturday, June 10, 2006
1. Help support my household.
2. Support the work of the Kingdom.
3. Have a roof over my head.
4. Put food in my pantry.
5. Go to the doctor when I need to.
6. Buy more luxuries than I usually realize I have.
7. Drive a nice car.
8. Give my son a graduation party.
9. Wear warm clothing in the winter, air condition my house in the summer.
10. Lay down my head at night knowing I used my day honorably.
Thank you Lord, for my job.
Friday, June 09, 2006
Song of Solomon 2:12
Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come...
In my dresser drawer is an old box filled with hand-written letters from the Mr. They date back to the mid 1980s and our high school days and move forward through time.
They are mushy and sweet and sad attempts at poetry.
They make me laugh and cry.
All these years later on my cell phone is a whole bunch of saved text messages from the same author.
God is always sending me love letters too.
One of my favorites is lilac letters. I love lilacs. They are one of the many ways God tells me He loves me. He created lilacs for me.
Every time my lilac bush blooms or I see the purply flowers I know that up in heaven my Father is sending me a love letter.
When I smell their delicious scent I know He stopped to put in that extra detail just for me.
He knew just the kind of flower that would take my breath away.
Gotten any good love letters lately?
Thursday, June 08, 2006
I have been so busy lately. Really busy. Much more so than I’d like to be. I’m working extra hours. Jay just graduated. On top of all of this, blogger was down all day so my last link to the world was unavailable! I know, everybody has a lot on their plate. My life isn’t any more demanding than anyone else’s.
I just wanted to say that I’m still out here! I know that the e mails and the coffee breaks and get-togethers have been scarce lately but I wanted to somehow just reach out with a collective hug. I hope that’s ok.
Actually I know it’s ok. You are my friends. You guys accept the good, the bad and the ugly of me. So I guess I presume that you accept the busy me too.
And so my friends, I love you guys. I carry you in my heart and think of you during early morning drives to work and drifting off to sleep at the end of the day. I’m hoping summer time might bring a little more down time; but that probably won’t happen.
Meanwhile, I thank God every time I think of you. For friendship and loyalty so undeserved. For friends who are willing to stick close by when I’m less available than I would like to be. For prayers I know are spoken for me when I’m on the run and e mails that keep coming when I’m slow to answer.
Thanks. I love you guys.
A friend loves at all times...
Wednesday, June 07, 2006
I seem to be always in a state of becoming, and not often arriving. Perhaps this is the very exercise of life. The becoming may only be for the eternity when this body is no longer required of me.
I have put my hands and my heart to the fulfillment of dreams and wishes in younger years. I wanted to become the owner of a larger house or the driver of a nicer car. Those becomings are the stuff of yesterdays and yesteryears now.
My son graduated from high school last week. Being the family that we are, all celebrations last at least a month longer than they need to. We are big on wringing every last moment out of life’s occasions; both big and small. So we have had the official graduation open house, commencements and finally a few days ago, the smaller family dinner.
And now my son has officially graduated.
You see pictured here a happy family. We have become that way over time and trial. You see a woman here who has become peaceful and joyful from the inside. A woman who no longer seeks to become things that will fade with time and age.
My son was just recently a baby in my arms and a few moments ago a kid working on science fair projects.
His brother was a bad boy who had more spankings than I care to recall and developed a fear of public bathrooms, as that was where the beatings generally happened if we were on the road.
My husband was a young father who didn’t know what to do with the burdens of a family and took refuge in music and pushing his fears aside.
And I was, just a heartbeat ago, a young unhappy woman who was hoping to become...something different.
And become I did. I could now list the accomplishments that I am most proud of. But really, they are pictured above. All else is unworthy of discussion in comparison.
I have become a mom since these beautiful boys were born. No, not in the delivery room. In the years I have become a mother. I have become an appreciater of the sound of snoring from their bedrooms and laughter in the backseat. I have become an adorer of God’s handiwork evidenced in these children of mine.
I have become a holder of time, seconds and minutes and hours and days and weeks. The years will hold themselves and show themselves back to me in greater number than I am prepared for. But the ticks of the second hand, those are my collection.
I have become a toucher of hair and faces and hands. I have become a hugger of friends and family and people and dogs and even guinea pigs.
I have become an inhaler of afghans that hold the memory of my grandparents' house in their scent.
I have become a gatherer of photographs.
I have become a woman who lets go of that which I once gathered to hold in my chest until it nearly suffocated me. How easily those weights fell behind me when I released them, knowing now how useless they are.
I have become one who holds tightly to gratitude and encouragement. I have become one who looks at the faces of those who say they love me, and I believe them.
I have become dependent.
I have become free.
I am not finished.
I am becoming...
It had been planted in good soil by abundant water so that it would produce branches, bear fruit and become a splendid vine.
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Saturday, June 03, 2006
1. A soft comfy couch.
2. Photos of loved ones.
3. Coffee maker.
4. Bottled water.
5. Something that belonged to someone of a previous generation.
6. One full-length mirror (inside a closet so as not to be taken by surprise)
7. At least one something from your childhood.
8. A great spot for reading.
10. Faith, Grace, Mercy & Love.
Friday, June 02, 2006
11 But the plans of the LORD stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.
Stress. That’s what planning does to me. It makes me stressed. I am not a fun person when I’m stressed. Even my family will tell me that I should go somewhere else and de-stress.
The older I get the better I have become at recognizing the stress response in myself so I can more efficiently stop the madness. I know I don’t make good decisions when I’m stressed because my only objective is to escape the situation, not necessarily in the best way possible.
I’m tempted to try to dodge any situation that makes me uncomfortable. I like my comfort zone very much thank you. However, that zone can become smaller and smaller until it is only big enough to hold me and a book. Because if I’m gonna live life, there is gonna be stress.
The only way to avoid this unpleasantness is to keep reminding myself that my life is planned out already. I just have to keep myself praying instead of plotting. No matter the situation in front of me; in the end it will have to be God handling the matter. The sooner I hand it over to Him; the better for all of us.
The problem is that sometimes God has plans for me that I would not necessarily have chosen for myself. I’m looking at one of those times in my life right now. I was happily sailing along when God put a hitch in my giddy-up and changed my direction. I tried to politely decline His offer. No thanks. It’s a nice plan to be sure but I’m good right here where I am. Then He convinced my husband to approach the issue. Uh, no thanks. Then He inspired my friend to bring it up. Ok, I’ll pray about it. Then two more people asked to speak to me about “something”, guess what it was. Yup. The plan. The Plan.
When I talked to God last night with sweaty armpits and palpitating heart I told Him that His offer was very, very nice and quite the compliment really but I didn’t necessarily want to pursue it at this juncture in my life.
And God informed me that perhaps my life is not my own.
Now, I don’t know where this course of action that I’ve been bamboozled into will ultimately lead me; but I do realize finally that my life is not just for my own enjoyment. If I’m useable somewhere outside of my comfort zone; I need to be submitted to it.
That takes faith. I thought at first it was faith in myself that I lacked but I now realize it was faith in God that was lacking as well. Because if I am obedient; shouldn’t I assume I’ll be blessed, enabled and anointed?
That wasn’t what I was assuming. I was assuming it would be a change for the worse. I was afraid that God was leading me into a big old mess. And He probably is; but He is going to come along.
So my direction may be changing soon. I won't know for a while if it will be an official change of direction or if this has only been a test. Do I believe in God’s goodness? Am I willing to be part of the plan?
Buckle up, we’re merging onto a different road and it might get bumpy.
Glad I’m not driving.
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
36Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement)...
"A mostly sunny day, to some, can look a lot like partly gray." Eeyore.
Let me tell ya, I can't remember the last time someone called me "Daughter of Encouragement".
I'd like it though, if someone did.
I have taken the bait over the years of trading encouraging words for funny, sarcastic or witty ones. It was a dumb trade.
I've also bitten when I had the opportunity to take the high road and embraced pessimism. Also dumb.
I get weary of people who color things the same way I've had a tendency to color them. This will NEVER work, they will ALWAYS be like that. Distrustful, doubting and discouraging. I'm bored with it after all these years.
I have decided I can see absolutely no value in this outlook.
These are the folks who in a restaurant cannot eat the food in front of them if it’s not exactly to their liking. They are never merely disappointed, they are devastated. They are not uncomfortable, they are in agony.
They are spiritual Eeyores.
You remember Eeyore, Winnie the Pooh’s donkey friend who was certain that all would end in tragedy all the time. His tail was pinned onto his body and kept falling off. Monotone speech. Deep sighs and gloom. A few years ago a very good friend who knows me very well went to Disney World and brought me back an Eeyore coffee cup. I think she was trying to tell me something.
God has shown me something about this side of myself, it’s the immature side. The side that sees the glass half empty is not the side listening to God’s idea of things.
I have been quick to be disappointed in people and to read their motivations as intentionally hurtful. I’ve been slow to let them off the hook or assume innocence. I’ve presumed that I was not important to someone for the slightest offense.
I’m sick of being Eeyore.. There is he is, living in the Hundred Acre Wood with a bunch of devoted friends who are willing to hang with him despite his gloomy outlook and still, he’s a downer. They come up with fun schemes and he insists it’ll never work. They are ready for a tea party and he’s preoccupied with potential disappointments that may never materialize. They’re admiring the sunset and he’s searching for trouble on the horizon.
Eeyore is stupid.
There is a reason Eeyore was depicted as a donkey. Think about it.
If Christians cannot be called Sons and Daughters of Encouragement, there is something very wrong. We’ve no reason to prophecy doom when we’re living in redemption and grace. Forgive me for speaking words that have brought discouragement or tainted the joy or hope in someone else’s heart. Forgive me for belittling your gifts and your sacrifice by speaking sarcasm and insult into my own life. God, make me a Daughter of Encouragement. Let me be the voice that stirs life and hope into the world around me. In other words, God let me speak words worth listening to. Amen.