Sunday, September 30, 2007

Forgive Me, For I Have Sinned...

We make life so complicated, we mortal men. We make much of little and little of the greater things. I have cried over too-tight jeans more than over people. I've thrown thousands of dollars at clothes and shoes over my lifetime and hundreds at food for the hungry. I think so much about God and yet have so little of him in my life. This, I think, is why I was not immediately taken to heaven upon my salvation. I am myself saved and yet so lost in so many ways. I need these years to make my salvation real in the world.
I actually said to God, this morning in the shower, something so ridiculous I am ashamed. Thinking of a man who I am friends with I wonder if he really knows Jesus, or just tries to play the part. So I said to God, "Lord, if you want me to speak to him and ask him bluntly about his salvation I will. Just tell me if you want me to do this."
God forgive me. Do I really need a voice from heaven to tell me that if I've doubt about the state of someones heart I should ask them about it? Why would I not? Why would I leave room for doubt when hell is the other option? Am I being polite? I'll tell you this, my hesitation is not rooted in love.
I thought today also of a young girl I know. Her family doesn't know the Lord. Her mom is not a mom who speaks Jesus into her life. And I thought to myself, maybe I should be her spiritual mom. Really? Maybe? Do I really think that God would prefer I did not extend myself in such a way?
There is a Christianity that I lose track of in my spirituality. I have made something too complicated of my role in the world. I need only to stand, feet spread wide firmly planted on earth. I need to reach one hand to heaven and firmly grasp my Lord's hand. I need to reach the other one as far as I can stretch to hold hands with anyone I can reach.
The results are not mine to tally. The effort is mine to answer for.

John 21:17 The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep.

September 30, 2007

Romans 8:15
For you did not receive a spirit that makes you a slave again to fear, but you received the Spirit of sonship. And by him we cry, "Abba, Father."

Saturday, September 29, 2007


1. My mom, my voice.
2. My dad, my jawline.
3. My Mr., my last name.
4. My grandmothers, my middle name.
5. My grandpa T., my nickname...Sara Dippity.
6. My grampa, my other nickname...Sari
7. My parents, the Lord.
8. My in-laws, my husband.
9. My husband, daboyz.
10.Christ, more than I deserve.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Temper, Temper

I am capable of quite an ugly temper. Let us just say I come by it naturally, the Hatfield and McCoy feud being a part of my family history.
Oh, I'm a scrapper. I don't have a problem throwing down. I control it only through conviction of spirit and force of will. My instinct of fight or flight is missing the flight gene.
Well right now, I'm angry. Boiling, fist-clenched, bring-it-on angry. The why isn't important. I pulled myself up just short of really tearing someone up today. I knew that when I hear myself say, "Let me tell you something..."; the other person was in for it. That other person did indeed "get it" and here I am, still mad.
The problem is that anger is like a rabid dog. It doesn't just go away. It waits for the next victim. I know about my temper and so I try to be very careful and prayerful about expressing my anger in ways that God approves of. I don't think I went over the line today, but man it took a lot of jaw clenching to control it.
Now it's time to decompress and let it roll off. It doesn't come easily to me. I gotta talk to God about it so it doesn't steal any more of my day.
I have to be aware that even though it is how I am, it isn't how I am intended to be. There are parts of me that were born in the fall. This temper is part of the fall-out. I need to be strong and assertive. I don't need to be angry.
It's up to me to stop my own fall by letting Jesus have the fallen parts of me. If I wait much longer, I'm going to have to repent for holding on to anger. I'm gonna just give it to God right now.
I am redemption in progress.

James 1:19-21 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


My friend Arlene is in the hospital. Please stop and pray for her today. I don't care if you don't usually pray. Maybe you just came upon this blog accidentally and don't know me. It's all right if you've never prayed for someone before, here's your chance.
Arlene has cancer. It started in her colon a few years back. We thought it was gone. But then it showed up again in her liver, lungs and abdomen. Two days ago she was feeling some discomfort in her left leg and back to the hospital her husband, Barry, took her. After a ct scan we heard that there is a tumor on her brain. So Arlene's in the hospital waiting for some treatments and procedures to be done so she can come home.
I wasn't going to post about Arlene because by now, all of us in this circle know all the details by phone and e mail conversations so I didn't really think I "needed" to share it. I wasn't going to post at all today. But it's your lucky day. You get to join us; if you aren't already one of us us.
One of the ones who get to pray for Arlene, I mean. It's a privilege really. Let me tell you about it. Arlene is asking for a miracle. She loves Jesus and serves God with every cell in her body (even the sick ones.) She wants the cancer gone and knows God can do it. We're all in it with her and asking for that miracle. What's in it for you? Every time I start praying for Arlene, God fills up my empty spaces at the same time. Prayer for Arlene, no matter how you start it, winds up in worship.
Arlene loves to worship so I think the Holy Spirit just translates all prayers for her right into worship. God dwells in the middle of worship so it's all good.
Who ever you are, and whatever your empty spaces are; Arlene would pray for you if she knew about it. She has prayed me through the darkest days of my life. So please, stop and talk to God about her. If you don't know what to say, I'll put a prayer at the end of this post for you to join in. Print it and hang it on your fridge if you want to pray for her daily.
Arlene has some cells that are sick. We are all in a fallen world and all of us need healing somewhere. I pray for her and you and me today.
Worship with Arlene and me.

Dear Father, There are so many reports about Arlene that it is easy to hear only those from the mouths of man. We believe in your report only. We accept only your prognosis. We will listen to the words of man only to direct our prayers more specifically. We do thank you for people upon whom you have bestowed the ability to care for Arlene and we ask you to bless and guide them. But God, right now you are the Great Physician upon whom we trust entirely. There is no fear or doubt in your hands. We ask you to touch Arlene and as you reach your hand to her, let every cell in her body respond in obedience and become whole and healthy. Restore to her every thing that the devil wants to steal. Let there not be a single loss of function or ability. We worship you God. You are Jehovah, our Redeemer and Savior. You are the Giver of life. You are the Author of our lives. There is none above you. We love you and lift you high above ourselves and all things of the earth. We submit fully to your authority and will. We believe fully in your wisdom and goodness. We give you all glory for every breath you choose to breathe into our bodies and thank you for every moment you have given to us. Teach us to more completely honor you with every moment. Rain on us and reign over us. Thank you for this day. Thank you for this moment to come to you. Thank you for the gift of your son and the shed blood by which we are healed. We love you, there is nothing to compare to you. Amen.

Lamentations 3:21, 22
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I'm A Cowgirl Baby

I'm not gonna lie to you. I have ordered a pair of cowboy boots online. They are pictured at left. I'm from Texas, it makes perfect sense. Not the high-heeled-pointy-toed kind. Those are for wannabes.
I'm a real cowhand. From the Rio Grande.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Being the daughter of a firefighter, I was talking to the mom of a firefighter not long ago. Eventually the conversation wound around to her son having delivered quite a few babies over the course of his career. The youngest mom? Ten years old.
That's fourth grade.
The year I discovered Laura Ingalls Wilder and got that terrible pixie cut. The year Mrs. Weinlander used to exclaim, "Sacramento California and all points west of the Mississippi!" when we, her class, became unruly. The year Kimmy was my best friend. The year I started to wonder if it was time to put away the Barbies, but couldn't bring myself to do it.
And in another little girl's life; the year she became a mom.
Oh, the ways that little kids lives can be changed. We pontificate and shake our fists and debate how to save them. The truth is, they need saving from us. We are salvation and destruction all at once.
I just have to ask, of all the ways that our children are changed for the worse; are we brave enough to make a list of the changes we ourselves caused?
How many ten year old little girls who will give birth could have been spared if...
How much of it is really beyond our control?
When I turned fifteen I school shopped for my new jacket to wear to my first day of high school. Red. I had a Halloween party for the youth group at church, I dressed up as a punk rocker. I met my first serious boyfriend. I applied for a job at the mall. I took driver's ed. I slept on sponge rollers every Saturday night so my hair would be curly for church. I went on my first date. I attended my first school dance. I had my first kiss.
Another fifteen year old enrolled her child in kindergarten.
Someday needs to change, so our children don't have to.
It's not them, it's us.

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

No Justice

Just recently I learned that someone didn't get "what they deserved." Let me clarify that, what some people seemed to think they deserved. Some people even feel this person got away with something. Folks sort of stood around waiting to see the punishment and humiliation rain down and then...nothing. At least nothing so spectacular as has been predicted (and perhaps hoped for.)
I know what he did, the guy who got away with it. It was bad. I've yet to run across anyone to defend what he did. He'll pay, says the crowd. But he hasn't paid. And although everything isn't as it once was, it is beginning to look like he might just walk away from this more or less intact.
Not everybody likes the way this is turning out. The climax is rather anticlimactic.
Me? I kind of like the way it turned out. And no, he didn't get off scot free. His life has changed in some major ways that I myself wouldn't want to deal with. I'm glad I'm over here just watching and not over there living in it. But I am relieved that the worst didn't happen. When someone gets the justice for their sins, I get nervous.
You see, I don't want to pay for my sins. We don't know what real justice is, even as we stand around demanding it. I don't want justice, no thank you. I like to see mercy, even when it's just an earthly glimpse that's blurry around the edges. Second chances make me breathe a sigh of relief. I'm living on more second chances than I can count. I'm on second chance infinity.
Jesus is merciful, even while we are far away from asking for mercy. He lets us feel enough pain to make us want to turn away before justice comes down on us. It's like the mercy of pain receptors in our fingers that cause us to pull our hands off of a hot stove. Sure, it hurts. But think of the damage we'd do to ourselves if we didn't hurt.
So I know that pain serves a purpose, and that the wise man turns away from the self-inflicted pain of sin. Still, I rejoice in mercy.
So I'm glad he kind of "got away with it." I'm glad he didn't "get what he deserved." It made me breathe a sigh of relief.
I have no appetite for justice.

Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.

September 23, 2007

Ephesians 4:14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. 15Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ. 16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I Have Outgrown...

1. Wearing uncomfortable shoes. 2. Being self-conscious without make-up. 3. Wondering if I'm saved. 4. Needing a new house. 5. Impulse buying (most of the time). 6. Crying if a size medium doesn't fit. 7. Hiding my upper arm flabbage. 8. Owning other people's problems. 9. Holding on to offenses. 10.Needing other people to tell me I'm good enough.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Things That Make You Go "Huh?"

The Mr. does most of our grocery shopping and I am so grateful. Really I am. Of course, turning over this task has meant I must relinquish my demand that he shop "my way." He doesn't always see the need to stock the same items I do. He certainly doesn't agree that we need extras of anything. He does more impulse buying than I. I do more green bean buying than he. But he does the shopping and I am grateful.
Then there are moments like these...

Mac: "Why did you buy plain old vanilla ice cream? Nobody likes it."
Mr.: "I know nobody likes it. That way nobody eats it and it lasts longer."


The Forgiving Coals

Romans 12:19, 20 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay,"says the Lord. On the contrary:"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.

I've read this scripture more times than I can count and will tell you I've never really understood it. I mean, it seems to imply that you should just be nice to people that hurt you because this will guarantee that God will step in and zap them. Even in my most vengeful moments, this seems a dubious plan.
I know someone who has been wronged. No doubt she has been hurt. And it keeps on hurting, coming back to snap at her just when it seems that things are settling down. It's hard to forgive and forget when you are reminded constantly of the pain. At times, she says, "I just don't think I can forgive. " I don't know how to tell her to. It does seem too much to ask.
Today my mind wandered back to the burning coals thing and I wondered again; what in the world does God want me to understand about this?
I asked Jay. He didn't know.
I asked the Mr. He didn't know but quoted something in Proverbs about preferring to living on the corner of a rooftop than with a quarrelsome woman. I've got a coal or two with his name on it.
I read and re-read and tried to find that place in my spirit that really focuses on God. Sometimes it's hard to find that place, you know?
Then I got it.
The only thing that will heal the hurt between us is when we each surrender our own hearts to Christ. That surrendered heart will make us seekers of peace and gentleness. It will make us forgivable; if we are the ones in need of forgiving. But what about when we act in ways that make us seem unforgivable? That is the absence of Christ; making the flesh we live inside of dominant. It is the need for divine forgiveness that makes us most offensive.
For those we need to forgive who put up their hands against repentance, we must model what forgiveness will feel like if they would only receive it. By loving, giving to and serving the ones who hurt us; we show them that they can indeed be forgiven, loved and served.
It is our ministry to show mercy so that the world is drawn toward grace.
Those heaping coals are the burning need that will settle upon the person who is so greatly loved by the ones he has wronged that he can finally picture what it might feel like to be forgiven. Free of his debt. Burning to be forgiven. Needing the pain of guilt to be lifted and having experienced the sweetness of our forgiveness, though undeserved; he can begin to imagine the forgiveness of God.
It is the enemy's greatest weapon to convince each man that he is unforgivable. Like Adam, we run in our shame as God calls out to us. And God said to Adam, "Who told you you were naked?"
I think God asks us a similar question, "Who told you you were guilty?" "Who shamed you?" "Who told you you didn't deserve to be forgiven?" "Who told you you would not be accepted and loved?"
I now realize my resentment and hostility toward the hurters in my life has made mine the voice that accuses the guilty. And so I have pushed the sinner deeper into hiding as I have reminded him of his shame.
I understand that I have been forgiven much, I must love much.
It is no longer a mystery, the coals of fire resulting from my kindness toward my enemies. Let my voice never convince any man that he cannot be forgiven.
I can show him Christ in flesh that he might desire Christ himself.
Through forgiveness.

Romans 12:21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Chemo Day

Isaiah 53:5
But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.

For Arlene

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


A large percentage of the human body is made of water.
This is not new information and no, I didn't invent it.
Unless you've been living under a rock you know that we are all supposed to drink 6-8 servings of water per day. At 8 ounces a serving, that's about 48 ounces of water down the hatch. My compliance with this rule of thumb pretty much guarantees most of my life is spent in the restroom. This is why I tend to wander away from the rules on occasion. It's hard to accomplish much if one is in the restroom all day.
Last week for a variety of reasons, I didn't drink my water. The most ridiculous reason is that we ran out of bottled water. If only a person could get water from somewhere other than a bottle, I could've done better.
In one of those God-inspired ironies, if we don't drink water we retain water. I won't bore you with the details of why that is but I assure you it's true. I retain water like the Hoover Dam on a good day so I know what happens on no-water days. I also stop pooping, which I don't do much of anyway. Still out there?
Anyhoo, this week my grandma had a few issues and I was doing what little I could to help out meaning I was at her house after work a few days. I was worried about her so I was stressed. I tried to assist her and (now, this is highly medical); I pulled the crap out of my back. By Friday evening I was pretty tired, sore and feeling overall blah. Not sick. Just blah.
So I went to the Lord seeking wisdom and strength. "Oh Lord", says I, "I need you to help me. Heal my sore back. Give me extra energy. Give me wisdom." So on and so forth. I believe I inserted a few thees and thous to make it official.
And here is what God, creator of the universe, redeemer of my soul, says to me.
"Drink some water silly girl."
Ok, I'm looking for parting clouds and angel's song over here. Drink some water?
I'm not sleeping, I'm tired, my head hurts, my back is pulled all to crap, my grandma's sick.
"Drink some water silly girl."
But we are out of bottled water?
"Turn on the water faucet goofball. Drink some water."
So I drank some water. And I drank some more. And in half an hour I drank 42 ounces of unholy tap water.
And...I felt a little better!
My head ache went away. My back still hurts but it's a little better. My achiness subsided. I went to bed early and slept hard all night long. I woke up feeling better still. So this morning right after my coffee, I drank some more water!
It seems that being mostly made of water, if I run dry I don't work as well.
Maybe it's really that simple. We need to be careful what we are made of and refill the empty places so we can get through the day a little better.
By the way, after I drank some water last night, I laid down in my bed and closed my eyes. I didn't go to sleep. I asked God to move over me and soothe me from the inside out.
I'm made of water and Jesus.
Next time you get dehydrated; drink some water.
And a little drinking in Jesus wouldn't hurt either.
It's what we're made of, after all.

Isaiah 12:3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Ugly One

The Mr. and I went to a movie this past weekend. For us, this is rather a rare occurrence. I just find most movies incredibly boring. Does anybody else think Hollywood has lost its edge over the last several years?
Anyway, we went to see The Brave One with Jodie Foster. Decent flick. Not great, not painful to sit through. Very middle of the road. More a diversion than a worthy place to drop two hours and twelve bucks.
As I'm watching, I'm take note of something.
Jodie Foster is ugly. There, I've said it. She looks old and she was no beauty in the first place. Her hair is stringy and flat. She has squinty, tired-looking eyes and a thin upper lip. She has some serious facial lines going. Her hands are manly and her chin is too pointy. I don't hold this against the woman. She is a talented actress and that's what I'm paying to see. But she is ugly.
As we're leaving, the Mr. turns to me with a happy grin on his face. He's happy because we've gone to the show. He asks me to go to the show every weekend and I refuse. So he's thrilled with having seen a mediocre film.
And he says this, "You know, lots of people say you look just like Jodie Foster!"
This does not bode well for his future success in me agreeing to go to the show.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

My Friends

Thank you to the friends who know I love them even though I don't often see them. Arlene's illness has reminded me again how strong the bonds between us are if we are indeed brothers and sisters in Christ. I have e mailed people I grew up with and literally haven't seen in over 15 years and gotten sweet e mails back like no time has passed. I've run in to people from "back then" and we hug and pick up where we left off, no love lost; literally.
It has shown me that life and the pressures and schedules that get in the way of leisurely coffee klaches hold no power to isolate me. My friends love me at all times. And I, them. There is no distance of time or inconvenience that truly separate us at the heart.
I've gained a new understanding of the verse below. ALL TIMES. Even when we no longer sit across the aisle from one another in church. Although we used to share Sunday dinners and now we go to separate churches. Although I've changed and you've changed we are still friends. For all of time.
And now I hold the brother (and sister) born for adversity. I see now that indeed, God wove these precious people into each others lives for just such a moment. The time of pain, of cancer, of fear and need. We were born to step across the years it's been when last we spoke and there is no distance. Adversity only calls us back.
It is not with regret that I speak of the friends who I see rarely. It is simply that the life God has led us to has not stayed side by side. I'm quite all right with that. I celebrate the newer friends who sit across the aisle from me at church every Sunday, they are no less mine for life. In fact, the Mr. and I share every Monday evening with two of those lesser seniority friends. And they also stand beside Barry and Arlene with us, our circle ever widening. I'd not trade those recent additions to my life to regain the years gone. I take it all as my own.
So thank you, my friends. My brothers and sisters at the ready for the time of adversity. You remind me of who I was, who I am and who I might someday be. I look forward to eternity with you.
Truly, we are born to be friends for all time.

Proverbs 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

September 16, 2007

Ezekial 36:25 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cleaning Up My Act

1. Swiffer
2. Mr. Clean Wipes
3. Stainless Steel Wipes
4. Pledge Wipes
5. Mr. Clean Erasers (they really are magic!)
6. Bagless vacuum
7. Dishwashers
8. Ceramic top stoves
9. Vanish Toilet Bowl Cleaners
10. Windex

Friday, September 14, 2007


Sometimes there's a storm in my gut.
Family lore is that as a child I was quite the talker. Urban legend has it that as a baby I was lying on a bed when a cousin came in to check on me and sat down beside me. I was allegedly too young to speak in sentences, however I stated rather clearly, "Get off the bed, boy!" I don't know if this is altogether factual but over the years it has become the story and everybody is sticking to it.
My grandmother forty years after my birth still describes me in terms of how much I talked as a toddler. My parents say I never shut up.
My kids are talkers and years ago my dad said, "How could they not be? Look at their parents!"
Now, I may be the figurehead in this clan for talkers anonymous but I think we are all motor mouths. It becomes increasingly apparent when there is an interloper amongst us. Eventually we notice the person sitting against a wall with rather a stunned look on his/her face. It is entirely impossible to get a word in unless you just jump in there. I think of it as verbal double dutch jump roping. You just gotta jump in and find the rhythm.
Back to the storm in my gut. Being a talker is easy. It's the not speaking that causes me problems. I am not just a talker, I am a confronter. I am a talk-it-outer. I am a responder to e-mails and voice mails and snail mails. I am a "Hold on a minute..."sayer, and then I talk for 20. There is, however, power in quietness too. I like to be heard but I don't really need to be. I am kind of like Niagara Falls and somebody needs to build a bigger dam.
In my efforts to stop the verbal diarrhea, I do something quite ridiculous. I use tremendous force of will and do not respond to those to whom I would like to respond. But I direct my flapping lips at the Mr., Daboyz, my mom, my sister, and sometimes the windshield as I drive to work. I am not altogether sure this reflects successful discipline.
So I'm trying to direct my bottomless pool of words at Jesus instead. Because the storm in my gut needs to quiet down. Not every hurtful or vile action requires my response. Sometimes it's just the other guy's problem and I need to leave it there. I'm trying to join a double-dutch that has no openings. This is where the rope wraps around my neck and I hang myself.
I think that the temptation to tell the world to "Get off the bed, boy!" distracts me. The storm in my gut blows because I let it. I could choose to be quieted and I'm working on that. I guess you could say I need to be rebuked.
Apparently every word out of my mouth is not as adorable as my grandparents thought it was.
And not every situation requires my reply.

Mark 4:39
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, "Quiet! Be still!" Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Pump It Up!

Got my 8 week highlights/lowlights and trim. My hairdresser, God love her, does not understand.
I spend eight weeks attempting to dry out and damage my hair enough so that it will be full and voluminous. My hair is soft and flat. I hate that about my hair.
A person must do a certain degree of abuse to one's hair to achieve the volume I so desire.
And so, having been high/low lighted and trimmed I have also endured the conditioning that my hairdresser so feels I need. I think she was more alarmed than ever at the state of my back-combed, root boosted, high volume sprayed hair today. Usually I bake under a dryer with my foilies. Today I simply sat, right there at room temperature. And then the deep conditioning.
It's gonna take me a week to unhealth my hair.
Can I get an amen?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Faith & Fog

My mom is now faced with an elderly mother who needs care. It's much more complicated than it seems to figure this out. Everyone agrees that one should care for one's aging parents. Of course, when it's time to roll out the plan, we all look at each other to ask exactly what the plan is.
I believe in being purposeful in the way I live my life. Oh, I don't do it all right. I often know exactly how I should be managing it all. I simply can't (or don't) do it. My mom and I have been talking a lot over the past days about what is best for my gramma. Again we have some ideas how it might all best be done. And again, it just doesn't seem to work out quite so simply. Life often goes that way.
The theory holds with daboyz too. Jay started college last fall and at the end of his freshman year he was offered a wonderful job opportunity. A once in a lifetime shot. The problem is that this opportunity is for a full time job. How do you work full time and go to school full time? You don't. Unless you are one of those superhuman people which this particular gene-pool doesn't seem to produce. How to manage?
Mac started college a few weeks ago and continues to try to know for sure exactly which classes to take and what career to pursue. There's the thing he thinks he wants versus the things that pay more money versus the things that take less time but might not make him happy.
And don't forget about me! I have a job I really enjoy. But shouldn't I get an advanced degree? Shouldn't I pursue something higher up the food chain? Shouldn't I explore other options within my field? Shouldn't I research where the big money is?
As my gramma often says, oy-vey.
Well guess what? It's not that important. Really, it isn't. This leg of the journey is the shortest. The only real tragedy is not staying close to Christ in the process. It is closeness and communion with Jesus that guides the moments of my days and there is where the real living happens. If I don't choose the "right" career path, heaven will still be beautiful. This is what I need to remember.
My mom and I have been trying to spend extra time with my gramma getting her to eat, keeping her oriented and active and trying to figure out what comes next. I want to leap ahead to what will we do if? If she has a debilitating stroke, Alzheimer's...? What will we do? Where will she go? Those questions are answered already in the mind of God. He hasn't yet shown us his plan. I need to be ok with that. It is true that for some people the arrangements of life are made awaiting the time to enact them. For us, this isn't the case and so we live today the best we can.
For my kids, they need to look at today and do the best they can as well. Worry does not flow from the throne room. I notice that in allowing ourselves to just take today and let tomorrow unfold there is peace that comes not from living carefree but from standing on faith.
I do not advocate living irresponsibly. There is much I regret in the way I manage my life. Certainly there are things I now pay a penalty for because of poor planning 20 years ago. But I do not want my own wrestling match with life to become bigger than the faith that holds my destiny. When the way is not clear, this is faith's specialty. Clearly lit paths do not require guides. I walk a path that is somedays bright and easy. On other days, the fog is pea-soup-thick. Faith blows aside the fog a step at a time.
I will not fear the foggy days. I know I am made of mist.

James 4:13-14
Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Monday, September 10, 2007


2 Chronicles 7:14 ...if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

No Plans

I think we plan ourselves into paralysis.
When daboyz were little and I was a stay-at-home mom, I learned a few things. I had no money, often no car and no plans. It was daily survival and making the best of it all. Sounds rather desperate and sad but it wasn't. Oh sure, it was frustrating and hard. But because of my limited resources I was kind of boiled down to basics. I just got up in the morning and made the best of that particular day. Sometimes it was a walk to my mom's house with daboyz in a wagon pulled behind me. No car to go any further. Didn't want to stay inside my little house for another day. So off we went. At the time it seemed like that was how we spent our time because there was nothing else available. Of course, had I had a nursing license I would've had a job. And daboyz would've been with a sitter or daycare. Had we had more money I'd have had a nice car to tool around town. Had we been able to buy a nicer house it would've been further from my parents and I couldn't have walked there. As it happened, I plopped down in a 2 bedroom bungalow three blocks from where I once lived with no money and no plans. So we walked and spent many hours with my mom and dad. And often my mom and I would load daboyz up and we'd drive the 5 minutes to my gramma and grampa's house where daboyz would pull the same toys out of the garage I had played with on the farm. In the fall my grampa would organize an apple orchard excursion and off we'd go together to pick apples and then home to make pies together. No plans, just life.
With a job that claims 40 hours a week now, those old days of no money and no plans seem rather a luxury I'm grateful to have had. My grampa is gone to heaven and the truth is my gramma is 85 and there are no more apple-picking days with little boys in her plans. What we have is pictures of soft-haired toddlers running down the long driveway at the home of their great grandparents and my grampa smiling with sun-tanned arms and joy in his eyes. We have hearts that sing when autumn rolls in because we are full with the memories of lifting little ones high into apple trees.
Now I see that God is not held in time like I am. I look from here forward and fret over which plans are best and how to accomplish them. My heavenly Father stands at the end of my earthly days and unfolds the plan in reverse. He knew that no car and no money and no plans would give daboyz days on end with nothing to do but be loved and carefree surrounded by grown-ups with no plans but to be with them. And so the Lord gave me nothing so that I could have everything and give it to my boys. Out of my empty hands God's fullness flowed. Out of his plans to give me no plans.
Now we are in a new part of life. Daboyz are in college and oh, the planning! What to do? How to do it? What if we misstep?
And my gramma! How to help her? How to take care of her? What will we do?
It cloaks me in peace to remember the perfection of my days of no plans because there, I was held in higher plans. So today I look at the worries of my own plans and let it go a little easier. God is indeed big enough to handle my missteps and make something glorious of it. He's been doing just that for 40 years. I will take today and tomorrow and live with the knowledge that God still stands at the end of my breaths making plans beyond my sight.
I have a job, money and a car. And no plans.
And it's gonna be just fine.

Ephesians 1:11
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...


Isaiah 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Arlene spent much of last week in Oakwood hospital receiving chemotherapy for masses found her in abdomen. She is coming home today and in much less pain. After not being able to eat much at all her appetite is returning to normal. Arlene feels that her abdomen is smaller and softer and this indicates that the chemo was successful in shrinking the tumors.
The next step is for Arlene to go back to the weekly regime of chemo or antibody therapy once a week. On chemo weeks she will be hospitalized because it makes the experience much easier on her than coming home immediately afterward and feeling sick.
Barry and Arlene want to thank all of those around the world praying for Arlene's complete healing. They remain steadfast believing in God's plans to be glorified through her healing. Please continue to pray with us, especially on chemo days.
And don't forget to pray for Arlene's doctors, nurses and team! God is using them to care for her!
Thanks again and remember...

September 9, 2007

Isaiah 28:23 Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

I've Been Told...

1. That you have to suffer for beauty.
2. That I need to become a doctor. (hahahahahahaha)
3. That people hate me.
4. That I'm beautiful.
5. That I'm fat.
6. That I need to grow my hair long.
7. That I should wear my hair very short.
8. That I have great kids.
9. That my life is easy.
10.That I'm funny.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Jazz & Jesus

(Written 7/4/07)
1 Thessalonians 4:13
Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope.
To some this would seem an offensive discussion; but grieving over Jazz has me thinking about my grampa and what it was like to mourn him. I'd be the first to tell you that when my grampa died; it was like a line was drawn across time. The time before and the time after. When he was alive, after he passed. It wasn't easy to let him go, in fact this month marks the anniversary and I wonder still how things seem to keep on going as though nothing has changed. There were more than a few retreats to my bed to cry in the first days after the Lord took him home.
Tomorrow marks the first week since Jazz was put to sleep. Hardly an appropriate comparison, huh? She was a dog. I know we like to humanize our pets, I'm guilty of that to ridiculous degrees (ask my family). The truth of it all is that she was an animal and in my true heart, I don't believe dogs go to heaven. Sorry. I know it's an unpopular concept and one hardly worth arguing. But there it is, my own personal apostasy.
I believe that dogs, cats, birds, ferrets, etc. live a short number of years and are gone. They are not redeemed by the blood of Christ and are here for our purposes, be that of food or companionship.
This is why I am having a really hard time mourning Jazz. This is why the tears are still sneaking up on me and taking me by surprise and the sadness doesn't seem, yet, to be abating. I miss her, oh how I miss her. I miss her being here when we walk in the door and laying across my legs in bed so I'm pinned in the same position all night long. I miss her smelly breath kisses and just laying my hand on her furry side and feeling stress roll off of my own body. It's how I'm wired, I'm a pet-person. And that's why this hurts, because she is really and truly gone. I will never see her again. She wasn't made of the same stuff I'm made of, she was made to be temporal.
But my grampa, that was a mourning that concluded in sweetness, even in the midst of the pain. My grampa was made of better stuff, eternal stuff. He was born into a chance for redemption and he took it. We think of salvation as the best thing that we can do for ourselves, but on this side of his life it has come to be the best thing he could've done for me. You see, in that moment, whenever it happened, that he invited Christ to redeem his life; he made sure he would be my grampa forever. I just have to hang on a little while longer. I accepted his Jesus, so our destinations are sealed, our paths will cross again. My deepest mourning has never been open-ended desperation.
Silly as it sounds, losing Jazz has made me hurt for all the people losing loved ones far from God. I have always hurt for the lost. But suddenly I think of the people who don't have the opportunity to see their own grampas again. We won't all go to heaven, you know. Only those who have called on Jesus as their savior and lived their lives in submission to his leadership have the promise of eternity with him.
This may be a goofy approach to a salvation discussion; but don't leave behind people who mourn without hope. You aren't a spotted old dog who was meant for a short time in the world. You were made of eternal stuff.
Be redeemed.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


As summer time begins to wane and the earth turns toward autumn, it is darker in the morning when I leave for work. The other day there was a lunar eclipse that I watched through my car window as I drove. A few days later, a full moon shown bright in the sky.
Did you know that the moon generates no light of its own? It simply reflects the sun, casting its gentle glow into what would be utter darkness were it not for the moon doing nothing more than capturing and casting the light of a greater source.
I don't sleep well at night and during those full moon phases, hardly at all. I lay awake in the midnight glow and wish it were a quarter or even half moon night. Around 2:00 I give up the fight for sleep and spend some time praying. These are actually good times of intercession and worship that I know full well would not happen during daylight when there are so many other "better" things to keep me busy.
I have nothing to offer the world on my own. But I am learning in the gentle moonlight that I too have a purpose beyond my own power. I need only to capture and reflect the light from the true source. If I could only be so wise as the moon, I could push aside darkness and ease the journey into the Light.
If only I was a better reflection of Jesus, the world would not seem so dark.

Psalm 72:5 He will endure as long as the sun, as long as the moon, through all generations.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


After years of plans without success in going away for our anniversary, we have finally gotten a tradition going. Every year we go away to a little town west of us called Marshall, Michigan. Two years ago we stayed in a fantastic bed & breakfast but it was about twenty minutes from Marshall and sadly, the town it was in has become less than charming. Last year we stayed right in downtown Marshall, great location. I chose the National House Inn Bed & Breakfast and even chose the room I wanted from their web site. The Mr. made our reservations but decided to surprise me with the most luxurious suite in the place, the Kethcum Suite. It was very dark and scary and haunted. The entire inn was charming except for our room.
This year we're making a return trip to the National House Inn. Click here for a peek. Hopefully he'll book the correct room so I'm not too preoccupied with Ichabod Crane to feel romantical. Again, I am requesting the H.C. Brooks suite. Keep your fingers crossed. The clawfoot tub and fireplace are calling to me already.One thing we have down pat is our anniversary dinner, we'll make reservation at Schuler's. You can check out this historic restaurant here. With an October anniversary, the usually wet streets and falling leaves make this a perfect get-away.
Not a couple who is big on gifts, we have never exchanged tokens of love for our anniversary. Last year however, the Mr. surprised me. You may recall his presenting me with a ring identical to the one he had given me the year before. I continue to wear both on my left ring finger as a symbol of our relationship. On some days this means I have a ring to give to each of our boys for their wives, hoping that they will find the joy of Christ-centered love that we have. On other days, the rings remind me that the Mr. is a bonehead. Either way, it's accurate.
So I'm already welcoming the changing temperatures and cool mornings because my anniversary is coming around again. Walking along the now-familiar streets of Marshall we'll be reminded of how good God is, how far we've come and that every season brings new happiness.
Unless we go back to the Kethcum Suite and I get a third identical ring. I'm not sure what that will mean.

Psalm 143:5 I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Back to School Prayer

Dear Gracious Heavenly Father, Once again we send our children out into the world. We know it's a place that won't love them like we do and won't always encourage them to love you. But Lord, greater are you in them than what they will face in the world. We ask you to place a hedge around their physical bodies and give them safety and strength. Guard their hearts from doubt, fear and emotional attacks of the enemy. Give them wisdom and minds that always seek you in what they are being told and let them learn to compare the information they receive with your word. Give them victories that they can praise you for. Give them failures that will teach them to be humble but not break their spirits. Give them friends who love you that they can learn to serve you along side of. Give them teachers who follow you. Bless the buildings they will sit in and the people they will be with.
Father, if there is any person, adult or child, out there who might intend harm toward these precious kids; stop that plan now in the name of Jesus Christ. Put a barrier in front of that intent of destruction before it can materialize. Expose those individuals that they might be helped and saved from themselves.
Finally my Savior, I ask that you would lay a cloak of peace and joy around our children. And do a good work in us as parents that we might become worthy of this great gift you've placed in our hands.
Thank you God; for kindergartners and high schoolers and college students who will love you with their whole hearts and live lives to your glory.
In Jesus name.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The Message

Every week many of us devote a day of prayer to Arlene and others battling various illnesses. We have kind of found a common ground of prayer with Isaiah his stripes we are healed....I don't know how many weeks now I've posted that verse and it remains new to me every time.
This week I dug a little deeper into The Message, a contemporary language version of the Bible that is popular with youth. It was good for me to look at this passage again and find that the healing Isaiah talked about remains new and available.
I seem, lately, to be surrounded by people hurting in their bodies, minds and spirits. Battles are stretching in to weeks and months and years. I feel a little bruised myself. I am almost tired of it. Almost.
And then...I am healed. Of my weariness and discouragement I am delivered; so I'm back again. Too much was sacrificed for me to be defeated now.
Nor are you defeated Arlene. Or Randy. Or Deb. Or all the others who have been knocked around too many times to count.
Praise God. We are healed. And as the old song says, Let the redeemed of the Lord say so!
Today I speak life, health, redemption and wholeness.

Isaiah 53:2-6 (The Message)
The servant grew up before God—a scrawny seedling,
a scrubby plant in a parched field.
There was nothing attractive about him,
nothing to cause us to take a second look.
He was looked down on and passed over,
a man who suffered, who knew pain firsthand.
One look at him and people turned away.
We looked down on him, thought he was scum.
But the fact is, it was our pains he carried—
our disfigurements, all the things wrong with us.
We thought he brought it on himself,
that God was punishing him for his own failures.
But it was our sins that did that to him,
that ripped and tore and crushed him—our sins!
He took the punishment, and that made us whole.
Through his bruises we get healed.
We're all like sheep who've wandered off and gotten lost.
We've all done our own thing, gone our own way.
And God has piled all our sins, everything we've done wrong,
on him, on him.


2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

You Might Be A Psych Nurse If...

1. You find yourself attempting to operate a department store elevator with your car keys.
2. You always maintain a "safe distance" when speaking with others.
3. You imagine which medications your friends and family could benefit from.
4. And speaking of medications, you see no reason you shouldn't be allowed to carry a syringe in your purse for those displaying aggitation aka getting on your last nerve.
5. You threaten to put your spouse into seclusion if he doesn't zip it.
6. You watch the news just to see if you recognize anyone.
7. You consider calling a code if you can't find your keys.
8. While at work you regularly say, "Put your pants on!" but you're not a hooker.
9. You approach people on the street who are "acting out" and talk them down.
10. You got a nursing license and hate medicine.