Sunday, April 29, 2007

Sacred Amnesia

How do you forgive the unforgivable?Being that I've been walking around inside skin for some years now, I've had my fair share of hurt at the hands of others. I won't pretend that forgiveness has come as naturally as breathing. It's something I've had to work at, decide to do and then practice until I got there. This doesn't seem strange at all to me since I'm not Jesus. I figure the proper use of the minutes between my salvation and final redemption in heaven is to learn to think like he thinks and be what he is. It's no surprise that this takes a good deal of effort and lots of messing up.One of the by-products of forgiveness is a kind of spiritual amnesia. I'm fascinated by the concept of God forgetting my sins being that he's God and all. Some years ago I realized that the humanistic idea that "I"ll forgive but never forget" was in direct opposition to what God does and so it's a bit of a bastardization of the concept, isn't it? Forgive is forgetting if we're to allow God's definition to trump our own.Oh, I'm hardly suggesting that this is so easy to actually accomplish here in the real world, inside of this human skin. What I'm saying is that this is where the ego must be put aside and the humble prayer must be prayed, "God, let me forgive like you do." That is if you agree that forgiving is God's for the defining. He doesn't have a secondary form of forgiveness that includes memory and the occasional mention. Your sins, and mine, are cast as far as the east is from the west. The sins committed against me however are merely thrown as far as today is from tomorrow. In mere hours I'm likely to re-examine them. I've something of a hopeless chest where I can store my hurts and sit back self-righteously admiring all the hits I've taken to prove to myself how very lovely a person I am, having forgiven all these creeps.Ah, but my own sins are gone. Truly and forever gone. Forgotten by God himself. It has forced me to reconsider my fondling of the trespasses I have endured to wonder if I have not forgiven after all. If I have not forgiven, am I myself forgiven? This has shaken me with a terror deep enough to make me beg God for the ability to bestow that holy forgiveness I so require. I want the forgiveness that erases the sin from memory. Must I therefore, in even exchange, allow my own memories to fade with my forgiveness of others?I think so. I think I have to forgive and forget. Don't tell me human beings cannot do this. I have done it. I have forgotten. I have only the fuzziest outlines in my head of things that once utterly destroyed me. I can't tell the specific stories of my history, they are cast away from my mind by sacred forgiveness, the giver of which is not me but he who dwells within and steers this heart.How do we forgive as Jesus does? And as we need, ourselves, to be forgiven?Don't wait to be apologized to, Jesus died before you were even born much last asked for his sacrifice on your behalf.Don't talk about the offense to anyone who will tolerate your unforgiveness. Tell God your pain and ask him to to take it so you can release it as an offering to him.Refuse to go back to the hurt to examine the details of the thing. Request spiritual amnesia and sit in quiet as it washes over you.Consider the possibility of you being forgiven the way that you forgive. This should give you inspiration to seek a holy perspective.Ask now, regardless of if you've got things that need forgiving, for that heart of Jesus who is supposed to beat in your own to remake your mind. Ask for the ability to forgive and forget today. Think of it as a muscle that needs exercising before you need to you use it.Worship. Meditate on your own state of grace and let that meditation become a celebration that only wants to invite others to join in.I have been forgiven much. I will pour out the grace that has been poured in to me. I relinquish the right to remember.

John 8:10,11
Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" "No one, sir," she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."

Saturday, April 28, 2007

My New Birthday Bike!


When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. Then the angel said to me: "Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides...Revelations 17:7

Renewal

1. Forgiving makes you look weak only in the eyes of the foolish.
2. Grace means you get what you didn't earn.
3. Mercy means you don't get what you earned.
4. Apologies aren't a requirement of forgiveness.
5. I can talk loud enough to drown out God.
6. Hurt of the heart can make you sick in the body.
7. Tears never run out.
8. Loving unconditionally sets you up to be hurt.
9. Loving unconditionally is worth it.
10. Only Jesus can fix us.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Softly & Tenderly, Jesus Is Calling

I have recently been reminded of the importance of quietness. We've had a stressful week. We have had quite a few close friends going through various hurts all in the last ten or so days. We've tried hard to be there for them and sometimes to give them counsel. We have also prayed for them and with them.
When someone you love is going through pain you really want to be able to do something significant to get them through it. I have struggled with myself as I've driven to the home of a friend trying to find words worth saying to make the hurt better. Dean and I have talked ourselves literally hoarse trying to work out some wisdom to speak.
One thing has surfaced through this week and a half of hurting loved ones. Quietness is not to be overlooked as wisdom in action. In my own life, it is only when I just become silent that I can begin to find that part of my spirit that, in communion with God, allows me to see the truth as he sees it. And it is only truth, finally, that makes us free.
As I said, Dean and I, through long nights not sleeping, talking until the late hours of night, praying and crying, have actually gone hoarse. We both have terrible sore throats. In fact, he missed work today and ended up at the doctor's office. Dean says he feels like he has been crying for days. We both feel wrung out and know this is only a portion of the hurt our numerous friends are living with.
So we are forced to be quiet because talking hurts.
I think that might be the smartest thing I've ever not said. I'm gonna shut up now and listen for Jesus.
Psalm 139:17
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Gifts...By Dean aka The Mr.

The Mr. is guest-blogging today for my birthday. So you get a two'fer Wednesday. Scroll down for my post today after you read his.
I've been thinking about gifts lately as my wife's fortieth looms. It's hard to decide on an appropriate gift to mark such a momentous occasion.
My earliest memory of a gift was what I believe was about my third Christmas when I received a red fire engine just the right size for a boy like myself to ride in. Then again; this memory is one of me seeing myself in the fire engine begging the question; do I remember the event or a picture of it?
My next most memorable present was 1970. Keep in mind, I said memorable; not wonderful. It was the year of G.I. Joe and manly toys for manly boys like myself. I was a fan of Johnny West. He was a man's man. He surrounded himself with other manly men like General Custer, his manly son Jimmy, his Indian sidekick Geronimo and fought bravely against the evil Sam Cobra. Naturally with the purchase of aforementioned manly toys were included accessories such as cowboys hats, pistols, bowie knives along with coffee cup and pot! Fantastic!
As June 15, 1970 drew near I let my parents know exactly what I needed to complete the Wild West adventure. Which action figure would I receive? What manly gift would await me? As I, with great anticipation, unwrapped my gift I realized in my hands, my manly hands I beheld..Jane West. Loyal wife of Johnny and mother of Jimmy. Wearing a fabulous powder blue cowgirl hat. It was an unmanly birthday indeed as tears welled in my eyes and all dreams of manly western adventures were destroyed in her sparkling eyes.
Along the way I received Micronauts; G.I. Joes and at the age of fifteen the ultimate Christmas gift...a bass guitar.
NowadaysI have simpler requests. Actually so simple it's a single request. Gift cards to Guitar Center. That's it. I'll take them in any denomination. I'll even take them in amounts less than a dollar. I'm a humble man, hoping only to someday have enough Guitar Center gift cards to buy something enormous. This is what I've come to.
But...
On April 25, 1967; as Gomer Pyle laid the soundtrack for my toddler days the greatest gift of my life would be delivered to Fort Hood Texas. God chose to bring Sara Margaret Trent into the world knowing that fifteen years later, she would walk into my teenage world.
I love you very much, Sar'. Happy birthday.

p.s. I'm very glad this time it wasn't a plastic woman.

My Father's Gift

This picture is fifteen years old. Today is my fortieth birthday. Forty years ago I was born on an Army base in Texas. Fifteen years ago my marriage was born again.
Dean and I married when I was nineteen. Three years later we had two babies, no money and a very troubled home. We fought and turned all the stress and immaturity on each other like weapons and our wounds were deep.
We took turns being the one to want out and the one to hold on. God did a work in my heart that took over a year as he turned me back toward my husband and healed the scars in my spirit. Once I was healed I looked at Dean to find he had given up entirely. For over a year he tolerated our marriage for the sake of our boys even as he bluntly informed me he was leaving. For over a year I tried with tears and desperation to be a wife no man would walk out on. I succeeded and failed in equal measure.
During that year Dean told me he no longer loved and would no longer lie that he did. Every day I told him I loved him and he stared back at me silently.
On April 24 he left for work, afternoon shift at the factory. The guy he usually worked with wasn't there, Dean had never met his replacement.
This stranger asked Dean how he was and my husband informed him, not too well. You see, Dean had decided that at the end of his shift he was packing up and leaving for good. The mystery man told Dean he didn't accept that and asked if he could pray. Dean shrugged, he didn't care. The decision was made.
For eight hours this man prayed. Literally eight hours out loud. He reclaimed our home and rebuked every demon in hell dispatched to destroy what God intended in our lives. He painted a picture for Dean of the throne of God descending, each leg making up the four corners of our house and our home nestled beneath the throne of God. Eventually Dean, broken and desperate started praying too.
He came home that morning, April 25, 1992, on my twenty fifth birthday. The day he intended to finally destroy us. In that dark early morning he crawled into our bed where I laid still and quiet, pretending to sleep; dreading the conversation.
He put his hand on my shoulder, this itself unusual in our cold relationship. "Hey, I need to tell you something." His voice was gentle and my stomach knotted.
"I love you."
These words I hadn't heard in over a year. I laid silently still, not sure what was happening. Afraid and distrusting and hopeful all at once. This thing I had prayed for was happening and I had to reach out to receive it even if I would be humiliated again.
Dean told me about this man, about the praying for eight hours and the throne of God resting over our house. He told me about his heart breaking and mending all in one night as I slept.
On April 25, 1992 God gave me my husband's heart for a birthday gift.
Jeremiah 29:11 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.

Monday, April 23, 2007

TEENAGERS!

...said with the typical inflection, TEENAGERS!
They can drive ya nuts. They are entirely unreasonable, demanding, unwise, rebellious, frustrating....
Well, at least some of them are at least some of the time. I love teenagers. My own and other peoples'. I think they are passionate and fascinating and smart and brave.
One of the things I love about our church, Metrosouth, is that it is a youth-driven ministry. It started as a youth group in our pastor's basement and it remains a youth group with a few older people thrown in around the edges. And these TEENAGERS bring out the best in us. They are completely informal in the way they dress for church. Jeans, hoodies, piercings. Like somehow they think that Jesus isn't impressed with outward appearances. They are wildly physically passionate worshippers who will rush the stage and stand on tiptoes and stretch out awkward half-child/half-adult arms toward heaven and yell and sing in off-key voices. As if God would receive such undignified worship. They run up and wrap each other in such hard embraces that they regularly knock over the recipient of their affection. Like Jesus ever touched people. They wash cars and collect bottles and beg for money to go to Thailand or Chicago or anywhere else they have enough gas and cars to get to and touch dirty people and feed hungry people and love lost people. They don't realize that Christ never hung out with "those kind" of people.
It's actually parents I don't get. I hear about kids who are in real spiritual trouble. Some of their trouble runs so deep it's destroying their families, their academics and their futures. The parents will go to therapy, parent-teacher conferences and read books and do online searches. I don't get 'em. Why not try to find a church that the kid will respond to? Why not sit in a rock and roll church that makes your liver vibrate in exchange for watching your kid reach his own awkward hands toward God?
Why are you sitting in churches your kids hate where youth are expected to be seen and not heard? Where there is no love, only judgement extended to the pierced and hoodied and scowling?
Maybe this isn't you and maybe it isn't your church. I hope it isn't. But if you are a parent of a teenager who is not full-on in love with Jesus and you are dragging them to a church they are obviously not responding to; I just don't get you.
Are you trading your preferences of style for your kid on Sundays?
I don't need to know the answer to that question. I just hope you do.

Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don't let anyone put you down because you're young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use. 1 Timothy 4:11-14, The Message Bible

Sunday, April 22, 2007

From Beyond...

Mac put his phone on the ground at Fuel to run a foot race or pole vault or something and some kid stepped on it damaging the screen. So instead of getting a new one, of course he just decided to trade me phones. So we had the numbers switched but my phone book and his phone book are kind of melded into one giant master phone book so the call I.D. on my phone now reflects his entries.
My cell phone was ringing in my purse and by the time the Mr. grabbed it, it had gone to voice mail. So this is what he says to me,
"Sar', your phone was ringing!"
Me, "Check the ID; who was it?"
Dean, "Your grandpa."
Me, "What? I'm not answering that!"

You see, my grandfathers are both deceased. I figure nothing good can come of getting in touch with them now.
As you have likely figured out, Mac has my dad under "Grandpa" on his/my phone.

Talk about long distance!

In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me. Psalms

April 22, 2007


Psalm 78:5-7
He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

In Jesus' Name

1. Margie's grandma passed away.
2. Joe Zaddok (our friend); his grandpa passed too.
3. Families of Virginia Tech victims.
4. Families of Columbine victims.
5. Families of Oklahoma victims.
6. Mars; our unit secretary.
7. Donna (nurse at work); friend of family very sick.
8. Marriage lifegroups starting this week.
9. Jay's new job started Friday.
10.What do you need us to pray for?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Columbine

Yearbook photographs of the two perpetrators.


On April 20, 1999 two young men killed twelve students, a teacher and then committed suicide at Columbine High School.


Everything changed on this day. My kids' school started doing lock-downs and my then ten and eleven year olds memorized the announcements that were code for armed shooters in their building. From that day forward they practiced drills wherein they flipped up the tables in their classrooms and learned how to take cover from attackers. I sat on my couch and wept the first day they came home to tell me about this new drill.
Let this be a day to love a little deeper and watch a little more carefully.
Let it be a day to forgive in case we don't have another chance and live like it's our last.
Let it be a reminder to pray for our kids.


Cassie <span class=
Cassie Bernall


Steve <span class=
Steve Curnow

Corey <span class=
Corey DePooter


Kelly Fleming
Kelly Fleming

Matt <span class=
Matt Kechter


Daniel Mauser
Daniel Mauser

Daniel <span class=
Daniel Rohrbough


Rachel Scott
Rachel Scott






Coach Dave SandersIsaiah <span class=Isaiah Sholes
Coach Dave Sanders
John Tomlin
John Tomlin

Lauren Townsend
Lauren Townsend


Kyle Velasquez
Kyle Velasquez

Psalm 23:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

*
I wrote this on April 13. I guess the enormity of this week's events doesn't need to be mentioned. April has become a month to remember The Oklahoma City Bombing, Columbine and Virginia Tech. We dare not grow weary of praying.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Followed By Love

This has been a very busy and stressful week so far at work so I've not much to say today other than I am going to bed any second now.
The main thing on my mind is our marriage lifegroup which starts on Wednesday, 4/25 and Friday, 4/27 (we'll be leading two groups for a while). We'll run every other week for five weeks or so. Please pray for Dean & I as well as all the couples involved in this time as we turn our relationships toward heaven. Marriage isn't easy. It isn't automatic passion and understanding for a lifetime. It has to be intentional and purposeful to last.
I'm so grateful for my husband who has been the love of my life for twenty five years. Our marriage was restored on April 25, 1992. We're approaching our fifteenth anniversary of being healed next Wednesday. As far as I'm concerned, that's more worthy of celebration than my fortieth birthday which happens on the same day. My twenty fifth birthday gift will never be surpassed.
Someday in heaven, I'll know the names of all the people who took part in our restoration by their prayers, fasting, support, love and good counsel. In the meantime, I remain in your debt even if I never knew your part. Thank you.
So I'm gonna haul my tired self into my pajamas, read for a bit and then snuggle with that Mr. of mine until I fall asleep.
If you're married, getting married, been married or hope to be married...consider yourself and your spouse prayed for today.
It ain't easy. But it's worth it.
May I never fall asleep ungrateful that I am loved.
Psalm 23:6
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bait

My sister keeps recommending a book that I keep forgetting to get, Bait of Satan. I am not really sure what it's about but the title makes me think it addresses the stuff satan uses to pull us in all the wrong directions. While it's easy to point to external forces bearing down on us, the bait that satan dangles in front of me all comes from within.
There is something in me that shames me to admit. I hope that if I just take a deep breath and put it out there I'll be forced to change. And that thing is change itself. The Mr. says I'm stubborn which I don't deny but it makes me ask, why? The answer is that if I change, I must admit I was wrong. If I am wrong, I am weak. I don't like weakness. This is of course, a completely delusional thought process on my part as we are all weak and I'm not kidding anybody but myself about it.
Have you ever heard of "Practice Theory?" It is exactly what it sounds like, the concept that with practice we become better at any given task. It should be so simple to embrace but we tend to give up and walk away long before it can pay off. I think to myself that if I were smart enough, I would be exempt from Practice Theory. Life itself is Practice Theory.
You see, with practice, you refine your methods. You weed out the stuff that doesn't work. You do things clumsily at first, then a little better, then really well, and eventually the stuff that was so awkward is now instinct. You've practiced your way to proficiency.
In life this requires going back at those things that you have failed at over and over again. Examining your failure and determining to figure out where you're messing up. Then laying down your ego to go at it with all your ineptitude showing until you master "it." Changing your approach and methods all the while until you finally get good results.
Life, lived well and right before God takes practice. Parenting, relationships, school, jobs, fill-in-the-blank; it all takes multiple attempts and revisions. No symphony is complete at the first draft. No life is well-lived without practice.
I need to lay down my pride so I can keep working on the things that bait me into being less than I should be. This life is sacred, let me practice holiness until I am finally made complete.
Romans 12:2
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Meet Sonia

This is my friend Sonia, Sonia Kashuk. Sonia and I met a month or so ago at Target. I was on the hunt for an eyebrow pencil. No, I did not pluck out all of my eyebrows, they were pretty much non-existent to begin with. The point is, it's hard to find a decent eyebrow pencil that doesn't leave you looking like MiMi on the Drew Carey Show. I've used the Revlon red pencil forever but there is not a color that is quite right and I've always been unhappy.
Until I met Sonia. There I was in Target searching for an answer to my eyebrow pain when before me was Sonia's collection of cosmeteticals. I had never used this line and the eyebrow pencil was a little pricier than my customary ugly Revlon red pencil. $6.99. Shew. But eyebrows are ever so important! I spend more time than I like to admit examining eyebrows and trying to recreate them on myself. What finally convinced me to give it a try was that Sonia had a color that was a little lighter than my Revlon red pencil and it was called "taupe." Taupe is a real color so I could imagine what it might look like, unlike "golden bronze blond ash brown light brunette."
I tried it the next morning even before my Revlon red pencil was finally used up and what joy! The color was just right! The texture was lovely! No crumblies! Imagine my further happiness when I realized that the Sonia pencil sharpens beautifully and lasts all day! Even when I rub my forehead in frustration at work!
I went this past weekend back to Target to visit with Sonia and to purchase a second pencil before my first one runs out as Wal Green's carries only the Revlon red and I just can't go back. I figured I'd take a look-see at the mascara. This is a toughy. I'm sold out to Mary Kay mascara because my eye lashes fall out at the slightest provocation and whilst rubbing my forehead I sometimes rub my eyes as well, plus although my face is dry I swear to you my eyes are greasy and my make-up disappears before lunch.
Anyway, I was nearly out of Mary Kay mascara and feeling guilty about how much I spend on it. I'd tell you but we don't speak it aloud. Sonia's mascara was only $7.99 and it had a handy dandy eyeliner pencil thing on the opposite end of the mascara! Space age technology at bargain prices! Well, in all honesty, it's not as great as Mary Kay but it did last all day as did the eye liner and it washed off easily. I despise water-proof mascara which makes my eye lashes fall out even if I don't actually apply it but simply have it on hand for weddings and funerals.
Anyway, the Sonia mascara is definitely worth a try and I'm as yet undecided if I'll go back to Mary and her high falootin' mascara. I do like it better but with savings and the convenience of Target availability added in; I may convert. We'll see if my eye lashes hang in.
I'm now considering buying her foundation. I currently use a long-wearing, moisture-locking, age-defying variety I purchase from a mortician supply company. I don't know. Sonia is hard to resist.
I'll keep you updated.
Matthew 6:22
The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are good, your whole body will be full of light.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

House of the Blessed

On Saturday evening while Mac was in Chicago, Dean and Jay went over to my dad's to get together with a buncha guys for a little Texas Hold 'Em.
After they left I pulled the drapes and lit the candle on my coffee table. I settled into a chair with my diet 7-Up & the books I'm reading for lifegroup. I looked around the soft glow of my quiet living room felt a deep-down peace. And yes, that has much to do with the rare absence of two big boys and one even bigger one talking, laughing, yelling and doing all manner of foolishness while I try to read.
This was more than the peace of a quiet house, it came from a quiet heart. This house has seen baby swings and playpens and toys all over the place. I've hand-washed bottles and had dirty dishes on every surface and a baby on each hip. Those hard times have softened around the corners as they have become memories. And boy am I glad they are memories!
I just felt the fullness of my blessings as I sat there looking around at this place that has witnessed all the years of us. Four walls to keep out the cold have become a treasure chest that holds our past.
Here we are, today. All of us living in the embrace of God.
It just feels right to stop and remember how good He is.
John 1:16
From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.

April 15, 2007


Psalm 18:35
You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Great Things About My Life


1. I have found a fabulous hair spray that is available at Wal Green's.
2. My weight is back under control.
3. I told the Mr. he has "deep down stinking breath" and he still loves me.
4. My kid is in Chicago feeding homeless people this weekend.
5. My other kid just got a fantastic job.
6. I don't have to work this weekend.
7. I do not have any pimples presently.
8. I laugh a lot while at work.
9. Both of my parents are still living and today is my dad's birthday!
10.This picture is of God and me. Really, it is.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Thigh Master

Well, it's true. It's my birthday month. I'll be forty on the twenty fifth. So although we're several days in, I figure, why not post multiple pictures of me at various stages in my life to up the precious memories quotient? Plus, I'm fresh out of inspiration and feel the need at this time in my life to point out the obvious reasons I'm so screwed up today...just look at me!
I shared the pain of the Day of Dagmar and the ugly truth behind my forays into the world of deep lake snorkeling. As you have surely already surmised, my sisters have never saluted.
Why not travel on through time and truth and admit the thing we all know to be so? My thighs are monstrous.
This is me on the beach of the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean. I honestly don't know which, my guess would be one or the other. It's not the Dead Sea, this I know for sure. The exact locale is not so important as is the tremendous girth of my thighs! Look at 'em! They are, to quote the Song of Solomon, "like Dearborn Hams unto the Sabbath, with golden glaze and beautiful as before the Easter or the Christmas dinner...they do shine and plump under the noon day sun..."
Meanwhile, they are quite nicely tanned.
As I approach forty they are plumper still but no longer do they tan. This could be because they are not allowed out in direct sunlight. I'm afraid, like Ballpark Franks, they will plump even more when exposed to heat.

And the introspection rolls on...

Psalm 148:7 Praise the LORD from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths...

Thursday, April 12, 2007

To Be A Channel Swimmer...

Ok, everybody's all in a twist because it's a tad chilly around here. Spring will never come, we'll all freeze to death, blah blah blah.
And some have had the audacity to blame me for declaring my love and appreciation for a dignified little season I like to call Winter.
Yes, I like Winter.
Sure, I'm ready for a little warm-up. Maybe a light windbreaker to replace my ski jacket. Maybe I'd prefer to have my skin get a break from the drying effects of a furnace running twenty four hours a day. Who wouldn't eat a grilled hot dog? Alright, alright. Maybe a slight upward trend in the thermometer would be a welcome reprieve from Old Man Winter.
But honestly, considering the potential for further demonstration of this body in summer apparel...
Do you see why I like winter?
Isaiah 25:11
They will spread out their hands in it, as a swimmer spreads out his hands to swim. God will bring down their pride despite the cleverness of their hands.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Circa 1987


He approaches the green and a hush falls over the crowd. Take note of the heroic distance from which he attempts to hit his target. How does he dare? Because he's a master of athletic skill folks, that's how.
Don't try this at home...
Stand back ladies, he's all mine.
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. 1 Corinthians 9:25


Tuesday, April 10, 2007

In Search Of...

In addition to going to bed at 9:00 precisely every single night of my life and thereby calibrating my entire cellular infrastructure to shut down at said time, my mother allowed me only one hair style until I turned fourteen.
Straight, long, parted down the middle, no bangs.
In junior high, and I do believe specifically in eighth grade, my mom finally agreed to break with tradition. I was to have the following hair style...
Straight, long, parted down the middle with bangs.
As an added bonus my mother was (erroneously) convinced she was qualified to cut said bangs.
At the same time the Olympics were going on and there was a particular gymnast I believe to have been on the German team. She was roughly my age. She was a manly sort with thick bangs.
Her name was Dagmar Lurch.
To my recollection she did not medal.
I'm sure you've already figured out the point of this story. My mother made me look like Dagmar Lurch.
I've searched the net looking for Dagmar to see what she's up to and if her bangs have grown out yet. They may have, in fact, been a mere extension of her eyebrows.
I cannot find Dagmar causing my mother to accuse me of flights of fancy although she does admit to me exclaiming upon completion of my make-over,
"I look just like Dagmar Lurch!!"
This was not an exclamation of joy.
If anyone out there knows about Dagmar, remembers her, or can confirm her existence; please respond post-haste.
There is a chance I am spelling her name incorrectly. I think Dagmar is right, but consider Lurch, Lerch, Lyeurch, Luurroorch, etc.
I anxiously await your support in this matter.
Go Germany.
Jeremiah 7:29 Cut off your hair and throw it away; take up a lament on the barren heights, for the LORD has rejected and abandoned this generation that is under his wrath.

Monday, April 09, 2007

I'm So Glad I'm A Part...

There's a sweetness in the old cliche, "family of God." I've been a part of this family for my entire life and after a few years, you end up with lots of relatives! You have the quiet ones, the loud ones. The obnoxious, cranky, negative and critical ones.
You have the inspiring, sweet and encouraging ones.
You have relatives that you can't wait to see and those you wish you could deny being related to! There are some who make you proud and some you wish wouldn't tell people that you know them.
The family of God is just like a real family populated by imperfect people. And like a biological family, without grace and mercy the family will turn on itself and fall apart. Families can hurt each other more than any one else in the world can hurt us.
Relatives will let you down and tick you off. If you are anything like me, these same people will come through in a pinch and defend you to the end. Families laugh and cry together and the love and commitment runs so deep it overcomes time. Families are a multi-generational thing.
For a little reference to the family that Christ gives us, Am used to baby sit my kids and my sister used to baby sit her. Daboyz called her Amburger.
Arlene is Am's mom. Her husband Barry played piano at our wedding and he and the Mr. are soul brothers if ever there were such a thing. "Aid" is Adrienne is Amber's cousin who is really her sister and who needs to post a new blog.
Java Sista is a recent addition to my family having been introduced to me through Problems & Promises, a lifegroup of our church. The lifegroup is no more, but she is my sista for life.
Kelly is my third cousin but really my sister and almost my twin. Kathy is my aunt who I used to call my cousin. My mom is my mom. And my sister.
Tina was an eye-rolling kid in my Sunday School class but now she's one of my posse and I trust her with everything...the good the bad and the ridiculous. Her mom was daboyz' Sunday School teacher and in crisis, still the one I'm instructed to call..."Tell Sister Maryann to pray!!"
Mike is my brother and it is possible we were separated at birth as he is one of very few people who understands my inner grouch and in fact, encourages snarkiness as a form of ministry. He has also offered to beat people up for me, which is a very endearing trait in a brother.
Tonya is my sister of almost two years and I'm not sure what I did before she and her hubby came into our lives. They are the family I didn't know I was missing.
Margie is my sister whether she likes it or not and the recipient of my "wisdom"; also whether she likes it or not. She is also my go-to prayer warrior and resident cookie-baker. Both of equal importance.
Cheryl, Deb and Mrs. Mac are sisters I haven't met but no worries, whether here or heaven we will one day be a force to be reckoned with!!
Kaymac is my sister of encouragement and silliness who doesn't go to my church but did and is still in my church being that we are the church. And probably only she will understand that.
This is just the family in a nutshell. And a nutshell is an appropriate place to put them.
And since we are family...I say get up everybody and dance!
Hebrews 2:11
Both the one who makes men holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter

Easter Sunday. It was about 26 degrees give or take according to the Weather Channel when I checked at 6:30 a.m. Michigan Easters can be blizzards or heatwaves...very difficult to predict which.
I grew up here and have had my share of frilly dresses, ankle socks and frozen knees as we Michiganders will wear our Spring-Easter finery if it kills us. Sure, we all have sore throats the week after Easter, everyone needs traditions. I have dressed my little boys in knee pants and given them the experience of frozen knees as well. I expect to do the same with my grandchildren.
In fact, my niece, Sarah, had a spaghetti strap dress to wear to church this year. Do you think she wore it?
This year, being a member of the rock and roll church, I didn't even have a new pair of Easter jeans to wear to church. I put on a turtle neck and sweater and off I went. The boys, being almost 18 and 19 are very hard to get into knee pants these days. The Mr. did buy himself a new sweater for church but more due to an expanding waistline than a celebratory spirit.
Whether you met Resurrection morning in jeans or a sundress; whether under a warm sunrise or a snow-covered car; I hope your heart recognized the dawning day. I hope you were amazed and filled with awe the moment your eyes opened.
I hope you stood amongst the crowd in a church somewhere and cried tears of gratitude and felt the weight of true grace.
I hope you ate too much ham and too many jelly beans and wondered where that last Easter egg was hidden that no one found.
I hope your little ones wore knee pants or frilly dresses and there is plastic grass you'll be finding for months all over your house.
And I hope that if your Easter began and ended at chocolate bunnies and perhaps an obligatory visit to some church you won't see again until Christmas, I hope this is the last Easter you'll waste.
Don't think resurrections only happen once a year. You've been dead long enough, come join the living.
Make today your Easter.
Psalm 28:8
The LORD is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.

Sunday


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Friday, April 06, 2007

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

In The Mirror

This morning as I was getting ready for the day I was reasonably pleased with what I saw in the mirror. That's one of the good things about pushing forty in a few weeks, the expectations are more realistic. I don't expect to see Jennifer Anniston in the mirror regardless of the red bag of tricks in which I store my cosmetics.
I haven't been feeling well the last few days, some kind of stomach virus. This does not bode well for the woman in the mirror but today I'm on the mend and my complexion is returning to its baseline of dry and pale. It's ain't perfect, but I can work with it.
Do you have days when your face is pretty and other days when it's ugly and there's no good reason for the difference? Well, I do. I can tell pretty early into the make-up phase of my morning routine if I'm in for an ugly day or a pretty day. Same with my hair, the pre-sprayed post-dried stage is key. If it's looking rough from stage one, there's not much hope for improvement. Only half of the time do I accept the fact that extra product isn't going to do anything but call attention to my ugly day.
I should be so attuned to my heart. I don't often stop to check myself first thing to see if my spirit is ugly. And yes, I do wake up with an ugly spirit for no good reason. Somehow I tolerate that ugliness much more than ugly face days. This is an ugliness I should cover over by recognizing it and putting it right before I turn away from the mirror.
I know this much, what I put into my body for the last forty eight hours shows in the mirror in the morning. Too much salt, over-eating, junk food, caffeine binges...all turn into puffiness, tired looking, dull eyes and sallow complexion. Lack of the good stuff takes a toll too...not enough activity, skipping on the water, fruits and veggies. Health shows in my face and health is pretty.
On my ugly heart days I can surely look back over the days prior and find too much stress, anger I'm holding on to and unforgiveness that shows in my eyes. Not enough time in quiet worship and getting too busy to talk to Jesus contribute to an ugly heart as well.
If only I could be as bothered by ugly heart days maybe my face would have more pretty days?
Ecclesiastes 3:11
He has made everything beautiful in its time.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Husband or Savior?

I'm thinking a lot about how to structure this new lifegroup we're guest-teaching in a few weeks. I think I might start the first session with one simple question...
"What did you expect when you got married?"
I'd love to know what you guys would answer to this. And if you're not married, what are your expectations for marriage?
My answer says a lot about why my marriage went so bad. I don't really have a single word for what I expected, but the long and short of it is that I expected the Mr. to be my everything.
This seems utterly romantic and appropriate, doesn't it? That is what love's all about, living for each other. These were the days of not wanting to go to heaven because I feared that there would be no marriage there and I couldn't bear the thought of eternity without being Dean's wife. The days of counting minutes all day long and nothing being any good until he got home. The days of NEEDING him in big bold letters.
So how does a relationship that was so all-encompassing go so very wrong?
Without realizing it, I wanted Dean to be my literal everything...including my savior. I wanted him to be Jesus. I wanted him to comfort me, make me peaceful, give me joy and make me whole. But God is a jealous God. No spouse will ever be allowed that position. And no spouse should occupy it. When Dean wasn't able to fill up my empty spaces I became angry and even needier. And a cycle of dysfunction was created.
When he couldn't be my savior, my husband became my enemy. All because I put him in a position he wasn't meant to hold.
I love the line in Jerry MacGuire when Tom Cruise says, "You complete me."
Yeah, Dean does complete me.
Once I'd found myself in Christ, I was ready to complete my destiny to be the wife He intended me to be.
For your Maker is your husband—the LORD Almighty is his name— the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit— a wife who married young, only to be rejected," says your God. Isaiah 56:5,6

Brusha, Brusha, Brusha

The Mr. was getting out of the shower after work when he yelled, "Whose toothbrush is this in the shower?"
"Not mine." says I. I was the only other person at home at the time so there was no one else to answer, leaving me to think this was a silly exercise. But anyway.
"Why is my toothbrush in the shower?"
"I assume one of the boys used it."
"Why would one of the boys use my toothbrush?"
"They pretty much just grab whatever one they see first and use it."
"You gotta be kidding me. What's wrong with those two? I refuse to brush my teeth now until I get a new toothbrush. What color is your toothbrush?"
"Green & blue."
"OK. I'm using yours and then I'm going to buy a new one. "
Jay comes home and is identified as the toothbrush bandit. This causes him a few moments of hearty laughter.
The Mr. remains grossed out, although he wanted me to know that using my toothbrush is not gross. I guess daboyz are the gross ones.
Like that's some big revelation.
Psalm 35:16
Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked ; they gnashed their teeth at me.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Warrior

My husband has been a bass player for as long as I've known him. He has always played at church and/or in a Christian group of some kind. I've said it before, he is a worshipper. I love that about him. I've also said it before, I sometimes hate that too. I hate it when "our" time is taken away for music.
On your average Saturday the Mr. practices for his latest gig, the MetroBand. He plays and sings in our church band. It's his passion and his service to God. I know this and I am grateful for a man who uses his time for kingdom work. I know there are a lot of ladies out there whose husbands spend their free time in much worse places. Yes, I know.
That doesn't mean that I don't sometimes resent the three hour chunks our of our Saturdays. And it's only three hours because he knows that's about my limit. The band has tried to keep practices scheduled on mid-week evenings so weekends aren't chewed up but that's just not working lately. Because of the schedules of the various band-members, Saturday morning is the only universally available time. So there it is; practice on Saturdays.
In the Old Testament, the musicians always went before the army into battle; worship before war. This was their acknowledgement of Israel's dependence on God. We're still battling today in a different way. Our warfare is spiritual. And my husband is on the front line of the modern-day march into battle.
Still, worship before war.
Across the nation and around the world there are musicians, singers, worship leaders and composers standing before the Army of God preparing the way. I need to remember that it is my privilege to send a soldier into this spiritual war zone and pray for him as he goes. I'm asking you to do the same, would you pray for those who lead us in worship to prepare us for war?

Your procession has come into view, O God, the procession of my God and King into the sanctuary. In front are the singers, after them the musicians; with them are the maidens playing tambourines. Praise God in the great congregation; praise the LORD in the assembly of Israel. Psalm 68:24-26

Sunday, April 01, 2007

April 1, 2007


Psalm 18:30
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.