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Monthly Archives: May 2011

Even the winds and waves…

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I have become very uninterested in TV viewing for the most part over the past few years.

I found I was becoming so discouraged….so I just stopped watching.

We love our DVR and anything we want to watch usually gets recorded for viewing at a conveinient time.

Well in my lack of TV consumption the large catastrophic tornadoes that have hit the US in the last month have missed my attention. So I had to watch some clips online to understand the devastation. I didn’t watch because they bring encouragement but rather empathy for the poor, poor families that have undergone such tragedy!

My heart aches for the many losses.

This morning I awoke early from a dream. I was crying. In my dreaming I had gotten everything stolen from my van. Which included my purse and my camera with my 2 sd cards that held over 3000 pictures. I didn’t care so much about the wallet all though I knew it would be a pain to replace but the camera and pictures I knew could not be. I had such an empty feeling as I woke. My emotions were heavy.

And then I awoke so glad to realize it was just a dream. But I instantly thought of all the people who have been affected  in some way by the storms in the past weeks and I thought of all they had lost. Some precious memories that will never be replaced, others homes and cars and places to work. And finally others have lost their family members.

And my heart breaks as I think of their tremendous loss.

I think God cares about it too.

Do you remember the story of Jesus in the boat?

His disciples were in the middle of the biggest storm of their life. They were trained on the sea. They had spent years as fishermen. They knew that the storm they were in could kill them. And they were scared out of their ever lovin skin.

And Jesus slept.

It must have felt like he wasn’t really getting the picture.

What was he doing?

Why didn’t he use this moment to step in and save them?

Did he care?

Was he punishing them?

They were completely out of control of their environment! Rockin’ on the boat without land in sight.

But Jesus knew that the sound of his voice would make the wind be still.

And that’s what makes him different than you and I.

He knows the wind and rain.

He is in charge of the direction the wind blows and how much or little the rain falls.

He wasn’t punishing the disciples…they were with Jesus.

He was with them.

And as they cried out to him he stopped the wind and rain.

But what about when he doesn’t stop it?

What about the people who cried out this past week and Jesus seemed to continue sleeping?

Those are hard questions. Ones I can’t answer.

But I don’t think it’s punishment nor do I think he sleeps.

He watches every hair on our head. He knows when the sparrow falls and he knows when my toe gets stubbed.

So you better believe he is very awake when his children face storms.

Yes he is very awake.

And he is right in the boat with us…speaking peace.

Peace…fall into my arms when your world falls apart.

Peace…Give me a chance to bring you clarity in your storm.

Peace…Be still and know that I AM God.

He is.

And while a storm is so huge and furious that it can rip apart a city in 20 minutes is hard for me to understand…

I can rest knowing that if that happens here to my house and neighbors he is still in charge and the winds still have to submit to him.

I want to have a calm assurance that no matter what the storm looks like today. …

Jesus is in the boat!

I love him for that!

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Great Finds

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I LOVE me a good garage sale!
I don’t know where I got that gene from…I didn’t grow up garage saling at all. My mother is not a fan of rummaging through people’s trash.
However garage saling and auction going would probably be pretty close cousins and my Father is an avid auction goer…a collector of boxes of good deals:) However, I did not pick up that love. Mostly I don’t like auctions..they take time and I feel foolish not knowing what I’m doing or what the auctioneer is actually saying. So I just stick with Garage sales. It is a rush like non other.
I love to buy clothes, bags and shoes for my family. I have supplied my children with scooters, bikes and toys. Video games, TV’s and countless household items.I’m truly a sucker for furniture….But J is threatening if I buy any more he may open a consignment furniture store.
Sometimes I shop and find really amazing steals that I could never ever buy new for a fraction of the price.

And sometimes I really get lucky and find things I actually need.
Like last weekend.
I needed ball pants, a new helmet and a bat for my son.
I had been looking but wasn’t finding any sales…
Oh but guess what I found?
That’s right! All of the above for a grand total of $7.25
And then I found this…

My music man is playing in his spring concert…He has taught himself the guitar! I think he’s pretty good! But he had been using his dads big guitar and I found him a jr size one for $5! Nice!
And then I got this amazing steal…I have been looking for one of these for years! No one seems to want to part with theirs.
.
A BUNN!!!!! For $20! It is a happy time in my house! J and I LOVE coffee! And now we can have it instantly! How thrilling!

And…finally we have been having trouble with our racks rusting in our dishwasher. It looked horrid! So we were thinking we may just have to purchase a new one. Ours was only 8 years old. Stink!
Saturday morning J and I went out to look a little and came across a dishwasher just like ours. Except our exterior was in better shape but the racks in the slightly used one looked perfect! So for $5 we decided to buy it for the racks….
And they worked perfectly!!!
I Love that!!
I also have bought 3 tennis racquets over the course of a week and so last night we took the kids and had a family tennis night.
I think I’m gonna love that sport!
My back makes me feel a little old this morning but it was worth it!

If I could I would garage sale for a living. I would!
In fact I have started making some money on others people’s stuff.
If I can find name brand good clothes I take it to consignment where they in turn give me cash for my finds. It’s risky but I made $20 last week. 🙂
That supports my coffee habit.
I know it’s not for everyone and frankly I’m kind of glad it’s not. That leaves better deals for the rest of us! 🙂
As one of my fellow garage sale friends said…”there is something so invigorating about getting out each spring and digging through someone elses junk!” 🙂

Its a matter of life and death

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There has  been a lot of talk lately about hell.
In fact….I have heard more on this subject in the past 3 months than I had in a long time.

A particular book came out and so did all the chatter about it.

I really like what Author, Pastor, Francis Chan has to say in this clip.

Understanding we are but clay. God’s ways are so much higher than mine.
His thoughts are not my thoughts.
He is superior to me in every way….so why do I think I would be smart enough to rewrite what he has spoken?
How can I the created being tell the creator what he should do?

If I am telling you a story but leave out certain facts on purpose to give you a different picture of the truth I am telling you a lie….

So too, If I, am only telling you part of God’s revealed Word leaving out the hard parts, or perhaps redefining the terms, I am being dishonest in the way I handle His very important message.

How are we discussing this subject…I’m guessing your circles have been talking about it as well.

  • I must do it with a humble spirit. Being careful not  to become sarcastic with those I disagree with.
  • Asking God to reveal himself to me as I search out his Word for the whole truth.
  • Maintaining that what God says is always the truth. But in the middle of telling his truth I must be loving.

 When we seek him with a humble heart he promises he will show up.

I’d love to hear what you think about this video.

When the church bells go ding dong

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Did you grow up in church?
What’s the first image you think of when you think of your memories of church?

Was your church fun?
Was it long?
Did people talk above your head?
Were you more concerned with what friend might be there then what you would receive from the message?
Did you sit and smell odors coming from the fellowship hall that made your stomach rumble with hunger?
Which row of pews did you sit?
Did you play tic tac toe and count the ceiling tiles while you waited for the big people to wrap it up?
Or wonder why all the songs? And what did all those words mean?
What did you wear?
And How much time did you spend dozing off on your moms shoulder while drool escaped the corner of your mouth.
In your waking moments did your dad have to squeeze the flap of skin right under your knee? Or was that just me?
What about flies…did you have flies swarm your head?
Do you remember the sound the ceiling fans made as they circulated round and round.
Well I just recently came across something…

It was my 11 year old sons thoughts on church….

He said… ” Church is a place where someone stands up and says….Blah Blah Blah and would you like to help with Dee Dee Dah…Then someone else stands up and says Someones family needs prayer. After that we stand for what seems like forever and sing…then we sit down and the pastor talks about God being faithful and Just and then we stand while he prays which also takes forever because he has a lot to say to God. Then he dismisses us we shake hands and our parents talk a long time while us kids wait for them to finish up.”

Sounds about right.

I think that may have been similar to my thoughts as a child. Maybe church hasn’t changed all that much from one generation to the next. 🙂

A beautiful thing

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I love going out to the garden this time of year!
It’s so fun!
Today I got rhubarb, garden tea,cilantro,basil and lettuce. Along with a non food item….Lilacs.

This was my armful coming in.

And this was after…


rhubarb bars!

And this…

Garden tea and fresh smells of lilac!

I love it!

It’s a hand I would not care to hold….

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Suffering.
It’s a word that drips pain.
I don’t like it.
I was born with a sunny disposition. I love to smile. And crack a joke.
Suffering doesn’t hold my hand well.
When it does its grip is too hard.
I want to let go. I tell it to leave me alone. To find another who likes it more than I do.
But it persists claiming to be my friend. It tells me I must embrace the pain for my growth.
I say, “who needs growth”. I’m fine with short.
But it replies, “not growth in stature but in your inner man”.
I resist.
I can’t be sad.
No one will want to play with me.I won’t have anything to bring to the party.
Suffering is not for me.
I am strong. I am independent. I don’t want to hold its hand.
“If you let me I will walk with you. I will lead you through the valley. You will not be alone.”
“I am not going that way”. I reply.
“I have found another road. I can do it all by myself”.
I have my dignity to think about.
What will people say if I hold suffering’s hand and stumble down the rocky path into the valley?
I will have nothing left if I go.
But the road that I choose dead ends and I have to go back.
There stands suffering once again. Waiting for me.
I hesitate wondering if I should try another way.
But suffering reaches out its hand and I slowly grab hold.
Ouch! It hurts! I start to cry.
“Why must you squeeze so hard”? I moan.
As we navigate the rocky path I struggle to see through my hot tears.
“I don’t like this. Please let go”. I beg.
But suffering holds on.
And I weep.
I am thirsty so I ask for a drink.
Suffering offers me a cup.
But the liquid is bitter. I spit it out.
I feel no hunger as the pain envelopes me.
We stop for the night but I can’t sleep and tears drench my clothing. I am sure I won’t make it to morning.
The night is long. I cry until the tears no longer come. It hurts my skin to be touched. I wonder if morning will ever come.
And then slowly, slowly the light breaks a crack in the sky. I have made it through the dark night. I look back and wonder how I came so far.

It is then I recognize I am still holding the hand of suffering.
It’s not gone.
But it doesn’t hurt as much as it did yesterday.

The strangeness of this is even though I am spent in my emotions I feel stronger in my spirit.
As I stand suffering stands with me.
I feel its tight grip and I still wince.
But the new day gives me new hope.

I know my tears aren’t through.
But the hand of suffering isn’t as scary as it used to be.
I know it will be hard.
But my inner man is growing.

And I can say it is well with my soul.
I am beginning to understand more clearly what  Paul writes..”when I am weak then I am strong“.

~NLT II COR 12
5 That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. 6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

We will all experience suffering in this life.

 It will look different for each of us.

The question is not will we but when we go through the valley how will we respond.

Will we allow it to grow us up or make us slide off into the pit?

To be as Paul understanding that in our weakness, in our persecution, in our trial, God can be made strong through us. This is the way it was meant to be.

God shows us his glory when we allow him  to be Glorified through our suffering.

Becoming like him in his death and rising again in his power.

It’s the path of the Christian.

And in the end there will be  a big party and I will skip and dance and smile.  I’m sure there will be need for  a joke and some light-hearted banter. And at that party my Jesus will be the guest of honor and in his hand will be healing and life. His words will be sweet. And his laughter will be deep and rich. He will pass out crowns and we will throw them down at his feet praising the one who saved us from the grip of death.

And he will wipe away all our tears and there will be no more sorrow.

How I long for that day.

The day when we will say goodbye to suffering forever.

But for today I must take suffering by the hand and allow it to make me stronger for tomorrow.

Batter Up…It’s your day!

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My weekend was full.
It was full of things that matter to me. So I don’t mind full.
We had ballgames, a cookout with friends, Worshiping with our church family, a piano recital and actively participating in community with our small group.
And now as I reflect on some of the highlights I think about Saturday morning.
I’m sipping my coffee, watching my son play baseball.
I had the best seat in the house. Inside my van with the windows rolled down.
My oldest son is up to bat…2 on base.
“Come on baby you can do it” I mutter under my coffee breath.
Flashback with me two years ago.
My firstborn son has always loved baseball. He calls it his sport. He felt confident as he would hit and run. He just loved it. But half way through the season a pitcher beamed him with a wild pitch. My son’s instinct was to protect his front and so he turned half way and the pitch got him in the back. He fell, grimaced, tried to be cool, as he took his base. But there were silent tears and a bruise on his body.
His confidence at the plate changed. He would jump out of the box causing the umpire to call strike. The last 2 years have been painful to watch as he seemed to just pull away. All the while still really wanting to play but as he approached the plate he looked scared and timid. No amount of our encouraging seemed to help.
He was scared of the hard ball seemingly forever.

But this year as the season opened he and his dad were on their way to the ball park for his first practice. “Dad this year I’ve decided I’m not going to be scared at the plate.”
And that was that.
He has gotten on base at every game. With a number of hits. It has been amazing to see the transformation.
And here he is up to bat. And I’m holding my breath.
CRACK!
He hit that ball out to right field.
The runner scores and he brings the 2nd runner to third as he rounds first looking to see if he should keep running. Tears are filling my eyes and falling down my cheeks as I watch. It’s not the game winning point or anything but my son is overcoming the struggle that had paralyzed him with fear.
In that moment I felt God whispering to me….”That’s how I feel about my kids. I am so glad to see them succeed. I am for my children and when one is struggling after a bruise or injury I want so much for them to realize they really are overcomers. I love them. I know they can do all I ask them to do.”

And my heart melted.
I have my own paralyzing fears. Fears that I won’t ever be able to hit the ball again. Beyond that lacking the desire to even get up to the plate.
And I realized that God was using this baseball game and my son’s battle to speak to me.

And I love him for the way he loves his own.
Like a mother loves her son.
Our Father loves all his kids and even when we don’t realize it he is right there cheering for us.
“Get back in the game”…Strikes to the back will come but it will make you stronger.

 You will learn from it.

And One day you will hit the ball again.
One day my child.
One day.