Tuesday, December 1, 2009


So I'm a big disappointment.
Reading on in ch 24 Jesus calls his disciples 'O fools and slow of heart'... That would be some type of declaration of disappointment. Surely we disappoint God too.

The thing that stands out today is that, after the resurrection, Jesus met one-on-one with Peter before he appeared to the rest of the apostles(v. 34, I Co 5:5).

Somewhere near the top of the agenda, after the big denial and disappointment... Jesus restored the broken Peter. I stumble. I fall into sin. I disobey. God's love for me doesn't depend upon my performance.

I love that about God.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

God knows

Okay, so I still don't have the short blog thing down. But I think I have an answer to the puzzle of who is more disappointed when we sin.

Doing my Bible reading in Luke, I came to chapter 22. The disciples had the last supper with the Lord. It's interesting to put the last supper accounts together to get a bigger picture of the table conversation, especially if you add the verses from John. Then, Satan had previously entered into Judas, and Judas went to the priests. Did Satan also come to the Last Supper inside Judas, like the Greeks at Troy? Odd guest. But I stray, and that's what makes for long blogs.

Anyway, Jesus tells them some important stuff... like when He informs Peter that Satan has requested to sift him like wheat... Scary stuff. Bad temptation coming your way, Peter. Very bad times. And Jesus had spent time praying just for Peter that his faith wouldn't fail. He then instructs Peter that when he "returns" (implying that Peter would turn from Christ), that he should "strengthen his brothers." Peter replies with his good intentions. 'If you get arrested. If you get crucified, Lord, you won't be alone because I'll be right there beside you.'

Jesus replies: "I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me." That's just a few hours away. I believe Peter had that small voice inside his head saying, 'I don't know about that. I don't think you understand how committed I am.' Commitment is so much easier when you're sitting across the table from Jesus in the upper room.

Then came the small trial in the garden (Can't you just stay awake and pray?). Next came the arrest, when everybody ran away. Bigger test, granted. Wow, missed that part of my good intentions. Then he had the chance to identify with Christ, as he claimed he would, 3 times in the High Priest's hall. Instead, he goes the other way, strongly stating to everybody that he doesn't even know the man.

"And the Lord turned and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice." They locked eyes. Jesus knew. Ouch.
"And Peter went out, and wept bitterly."

Peter thought he was better than that. Granted, he didn't have an indwelling Holy Spirit yet. But he had spent years with Jesus, and Jesus was his best friend and Master. God already knew he would deny. Peter thought he was better than that. And so do I.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

A time to gain, a time to lose, and sometimes, a time to gain again

All good gifts come from God. Just because you have them doesn't mean they belong to you, or that you'll keep them. That's Biblical. The gifts may be possessions. A roof over our head. Family. Friends. A job. Toys. Happiness. Health. America is an interesting place where we take things for granted. Really, it is just human nature to receive these gifts and forget the giver.

So, in America, we set aside a day to help us remember the God who has taken notice of us individually, and blessed us with all things. Incredible. He bends down and takes notice of you. And loves you. And blesses you.

Sometimes God removes the gift. Most times that precipitates a time of complaining in me. I can't find a season of complaining in Ecclesiastes. That's not His design. (A time to gain. A time to lose. A time to enjoy. A time to kvetch...) Strangely, I'm finding the losses bringing me to a spirit of thanksgiving this year. I know that spirit is also a blessing. A spirit of thanksgiving brings me joy. Contrast that with the carnal spirit of bitterness that comes so naturally to me.

Bob has lost some earning opportunities this year. But God has so richly blessed us with his job at J&M, and the strength to work. How often have I been bitter over God's blessing? I am so thankful God has provided our family the things we have enjoyed (a house decorated with Christmas lights each year, happy memories, a homeschool haven, and a place to laugh with friends and enjoy celebrations) through the means of this sometimes stressful, greasy, dirty job. Thank you, God. It is a good gift.

We have lost many friends and relatives this season. My kids are all starting to comment that the last pair of socks that Mona gave them are wearing out. I'm so grateful for the friendship and good memories God gave me over so many years through Mona. And Don. And Nancy. And the others. I felt loved and enjoyed laughs. I became wiser and learned how to be a friend. And I lost touch with them often. Didn't go visit as many times as I wish I had. But the minutes spent with each of them were blessed. They were each good gifts. And God didn't owe me anything, but kindly gave me friendship through them. Thank you God.

When we went to Larry's funeral I realized that the last frenzied 20 years were a gift that I was too busy to see. Memories of a season passed... Spankings doled out. One on one time pulling nits from my children's hair, sitting in a steamy bathroom in the middle of the night with a wheezer, date days at Denny's... The tooth fairy, piano recitals, kneeling on the floor to hear each child ask Christ into their heart. "Big time", construction paper gifts and proud graduation days. I reminisced with a friend yesterday, how that I always wanted a career and she always wanted a family. Life went the opposite way, with each of us getting the thing we didn't set our sights on. I discounted the gift God has given me over the past 30 years: my life as God designed it. He kindly (not angrily, as I would have done) turned me around to look backward this year and I saw the incredible beauty of His gift. Season passed. Gift complete. A beautiful generous gift. Thank you, God.

And then, sometimes God gives, takes away, and then re-gifts. Through Facebook I have gotten in touch with precious people who were friends and church family. They moved away. Most of them I knew as young folks, and now I get to enjoy an adult friendship with them. This has been an amazing and unexpected gift. Added bonus... What a joy to meet Kathy and Marla's spouses and kids. This has brought me great joy and blessing. Thank you, God.

Lastly, over the past 3 or 4 years I've been plagued with odd afflictions due to age. The biggest loss was my mind (though, some would argue that my looks took a bigger hit as my mind wasn't that sharp to begin with). By this time I had just come to accept the fact that I can't remember squat and most of the time I'm slightly to moderately confused. You don't realize how rational your mind is until it ceases operation. A few weeks ago I just woke up feeling good. Better than usual. Hmmmm. I was not confused. Able to handle a change in plan, remember how to get home from the dentist, know what freeway I am currently on, plan my day in advance. This is a major gift. I feel like myself again and it makes me so happy. Thank you, God.

Then the cherry on top. I'd also lost my sense of smell and taste. From having no sense of smell, to the variety of phantom smells and tastes I've experienced over the last few years, I'd just accepted the fact that growing old means that things you enjoyed just leave. There will be new things to enjoy in heaven. Some people have real problems... However, unexpectedly, I have the ability to smell flowers, pumpkin pie and BO. I tasted Elisabeth's delicious Thanksgiving turkey this year. These small things make life so pleasant. I'm so grateful.

I walked through a parking lot at a hospital this week. As I passed a lady in the crosswalk, she said, "Smell the roses." When I got to the corner there was a fragrant rose garden. I'd almost forgotten what that pleasure is like. God is so kind.

That's how our God is. He gives. He takes away. But He's all good, all the time. Thank you, God.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Answer Is Worship

The answer is worship.


The More I Seek You (by Zach Neese)

The more I seek you
The more I find you
The more I find you
The more I love you

I want to sit at your feet
Drink from the cup in your hand
Lay back against you and breathe
Feel your heart beat

This love is so deep
It's more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace
It's overwhelming

Thank you, Jesus.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The puzzle of disappointment

I am creating my own weather today, and I am under it. This makes no scientific sense. I wonder if I disappoint God more than I disappoint myself, since I have an indwelling Holy Spirit and have potential to do so much better. Or do I disappoint God less than I disappoint myself, since I expect myself to do better that He does. He knows my nature better than I do. One way or the other, it's disappointing.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Playing favorites no more.

I started blogging with such enthusiasm last year, electronically trying to fulfill what my social life was lacking. I'm perfectly happy to socialize electronically, which would mean that I AM social. Thank heavens, I was worried. I truly enjoy seeing what is happening in everyone's life. It's those get-togethers that I have a little trouble with. I enjoy reading everyone else's blog to see what's up and pray for you all. But, I'm ashamed to admit it. Facebook has become my favorite child. And that's just wrong. (But I can see your photos on Facebook..)

However, now realizing that my blog doesn't have to be a novel each time, I'll tell about the blessings of my summer.

Blessing: Having all my kids together. When I was younger, I prayed that God would give me a "family" and He has given me abundantly above what I could imagine. (Not just in numbers..) They all love each other as family should. They go out to sibling breakfast on Saturday mornings, which blesses my heart because they love each other and are friends. I'm not ashamed of any of them, or of what they are doing. (I said this because saying "proud" sounds so "motherish" and trite.)

Blessing: Amber Ridley came home with Grace in May, on her way to PNG for a summer mission trip. This lovely young lady blessed us with her sweet loving spirit and sense of humor. She was immediately adopted. It was a huge blessing to pick her up at LAX on her return trip and to visit with her during her 12 hour lay-over. The blessings from her mission trip were just spilling over (she had been awake for a few days running, so she was a bit delirious) and it was a joy to visit with her and hear what our wonderful God is doing in her life and in PNG.

Blessing: My lovely husband gave me a well needed vacation from my mom's shenanigans. He took her to the hospital last spring, when she wouldn't call 911 as I insisted. No she needed me to take her to urgent care or she'd take a taxi. "Fine then. You can take a taxi or call 911, because you need an ambulance and a trip to the ER." I know it sounds cold, but she will never consent to do what I think is best for her, and I won't transport her in my car again if I feel she will probably keel over! Bob couldn't let her take a taxi. Bobs are that way. (This is why I'm amazed that God granted me a lovely family... I'm so undeserving) Well, he spent his night with her in urgent care, and then, as always, after hours of tests and observation, they sent her by ambulance to the ER. After their bonding experience it was like the attachment implied when you feed a stray cat.. You are obligated to keep it up. So he took stuff to her in the hospital. He helped me feed the cats. He brought her home from the convalescent home. He answered all her crazy calls and did all the interacting with her over the summer, giving me a well needed vacation. It is so taxing to argue with her over everything, and to hear how she needs me to be more than I am. Now he's burned out and I'm refreshed, so I'll take the job back. (See Elisabeth's blog...) This was a huge blessing.

Well, I'm going to play at Trinity Lutheran's library now. (Another blessing) So, I will continue blogging my blessings later. In a very small Ben Bailey's words," Our God IS an awesome guy!" God was also good to give us Ben Bailey... another blessing. They're everywhere I look.

And may He bless you with His presence today.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

I'm back... I hope. I think it unwise to make such a sweeping announcement without qualification. That just seems to invite trouble. Instead of blogging my own thoughts today, I would like to invite you to read my friend Helen's blog. She was selected by the Susan B. Komen Foundation and UCLA to blog about her breast cancer experience. Her scriptural perspective and deep faith blessed me as I read her blog today, and I think her words would be helpful, no matter what type of difficulty we may be experiencing. Anyway, check out her site. It will be worth your time. Her web address is http://hevans.projectconnectonline.com/. This is her latest post:

Truth must be absolute. To withstand Hitler’s propaganda, my mom understood that truth was not relative; it did not change with people or circumstances. Truth came from a higher source - that is God. Colosians 2:8 tells us “See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ.” Mom saw through Hitler’s deceptive words and chose to obey a higher truth - one based on God’s absolute word. When I received my cancer diagnosis, I too had to focus on truth. I could not be taken captive by my deceptive feelings that wanted to panic - that wanted to blame. Instead, I focused on solid truth found in the Bible. Specifically, I knew that God had numbered my days, and nothing, including cancer, would ever cheat me from one day of my life that God had given me. I also knew that humans live very transitory lives and that every one of us must face death at some point. Are we ready? This is a question that every one of us must answer. We do not need to think this question is relative or unanswerable since God has already given us the truth - In John 14:6, Jesus said, ”I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” God bless you as you seek truth.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Never-ending Humiliation

So, is there a limit to the number of times you can truly humiliate yourself in one month? Is that number 3? I hope so. Sometimes I wonder if I need new meds.

1. There was the humiliating karate test. That was a good one.

2. Then, there was the time at the Mother's Day banquet, a week ago, when I forgot how to end the song. It was the easiest song we had. My mind, when not occupied, apparently defaults to the blank slate we were supposed to be born with. There I was... blank slate. But, unfortunately, my hands kept moving. Making chords. The nice keybordist looked at me like, "And where are you going??" That's when I first realized that I was out of control. Then the singers looked at me as if to say, "Are you two playing the same song?" There was no way to play the same song since I was playing chords in no particular order. Yep. There was terror in their eyes as I drove the Praise Bus off the cliff. That was fun.

3. Then, there was this time, yesterday, when I took J and her friend to see X-men. I went to the ladies' room while they got our seats. I hurried into the theater and for no particular reason, decided not to move J's purse and plop down next to her. It's nice to have a place off the floor to put your purse, so I just dropped my purse in the seat between us along with hers.

Then the previews started. There are some great, action-packed movies coming up. Those of you who go to movies with me know that I give thumbs up or down, and make an announcement at the end of each preview (that looks good... no, not going to see that one). If something looks particularly good, I even pump my arm and say, "Oh, yeah! Definitely."

The movie started. I sprawled out in my seat. Slumped. Legs at different angles. Knocked my drink lid on the floor. Looked around for it. Made comments about being a dork. Made comments at the funny parts of the movie. Generally made comments. I sing in public restrooms. There is no end to my vocalizations. The girls were silent, really intently watching the movie. I sprawled some more. Kind of wallowed.

About half way through the movie, J's friend leaned forward, elbows on knees. I never noticed how masculine Gabriella looks. You know, when we walked in to the theater she had curly hair. Yes, the hair was the real give away. This was definitely A MAN. Then I focus on the person next to me. Nope. It was not my baby. It was someone else's baby... Probably the guy sitting next to her.

Then I began to laugh... quietly. You know how that shakes your seat. It shakes quite a few seats. I envisioned what it would have been like if I had grabbed her purse and plopped down in the seat next to her! More laughter.

Now what was I supposed to do?? Crane my neck and look around for my party? Surely they don't want to own me by now. So, I sat up and tried to behave like a grown-up.

Julie just thought I wanted to let her and G sit by themselves... SO I JOINED A COUPLE ON THEIR DATE????
Yep. That was terrific.
I hope the number is 3.

Monday, April 27, 2009

긍지는 가을의 앞에 파괴와 거만한 정신의 앞에 간다.

긍지는 가을의 앞에 파괴와 거만한 정신의 앞에 간다. This is, "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." The Korean version. Or as Nacho would say it, "Why have you given me the desire to wrestle and then made me such a stinky warrior? Have I focused too much on my boots, and on my fame and my stretchy pants?" Actually, I believe it was a set-up.

Okay, karate test time. I never feel ready. The Grandmaster always tells me that of course I'm ready. And I always flub up. But this was supreme.

I reviewed my self-defense tactics, both versions. I reviewed my forms. I reviewed my terms and history. I reviewed my tactical approach to sparring, which I always stink at since we never do it in morning class. (My sparring motto is: "old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill"- usually that works...) I've taken all meds and puffed. I'm good to go.

We arrive and line up by rank on the floor. The Gm announces that I am the high-ranking belt, which makes me proud. THE SET-UP! I'm in the high belt position, front right with the rest of the class behind me. This should work to my advantage, allowing me to set the pace to postpone an asthma attack. Good deal.

About 2 feet in front of me are 3 stacks of boards. 2 feet behind me is a green belt. 2 feet to my right is a line of seated students who are not testing. I feel like I'm in a telephone booth. He gives the command to start forms, and I knock some of the boards cattywhompus. Then, on turning in my first form, I find that all the little buggers behind me have raced off at 80 mph and are somewhere five steps ahead of us. The whole front line is now in chaos and Mrs. Bigbelt steps out. “What happened?” “Confused, sir.” Brilliant.

I'm not sure I finished any form correctly or completely, as the rest of the time seemed like "a nightmare covered in molasses." That's how Scott Hamilton described Nicole Bobek's Olympic performance to "Zorba the Greek" when she skated on her butt for a good part of the time. She gave the term sit-spin a whole new meaning. She was given the nickname Boom-boom Bobek by a local news commentator. The Gm sidelines us in disgust and then invites the purple and white belts to show us up. (Summon your eagle powers!)

Time for board breaks. He asks 2 people to hold my board over my head and horizontally. Break with a jump-front-snap kick. Obviously he forgot the moratorium he placed on old people doing aerial moves, so obviously I haven't done this in a while. I start jumping and snapping to practice, and he says, "No, run and then kick." My brain becomes busy collecting images of my life to flash before my eyes, so I can’t think out how to pace it off. I just walk up to it, jump, kick, and then from a prone position on the floor I can see that, yes, the board is broken. Come what may, it needed to break or I would have willed myself to die on the carpet. Just beam me up now.

Next up: No touch sparring with a lovely young lady... I last for almost the whole time before the asthma kicks in. I step out yet again, and he assigns some little kid to take my place. There I am on the sideline again, watching.

Now the finale! Put on your sparring gear! As if I’m not enough of a freak already. I just bought new sparring stuff, because my old chest protector had a place for boobs. Wonderwoman meets Madonna. The new chest protector pads all around (bulky) and laces up in back like Scarlett O'Hara's corset. On goes the headgear with mask and shin/foot protectors. (Everyone else is wearing just a lightweight flat front affair and no facemask.) I have never worn this stuff once, let alone sparred in it. As I walk from the back of the room to the floor I'm humming Darth Vader's theme from Star Wars. The older people chuckle. I'm sure everyone wants to be me. And yes, this was public humiliation.

I stand in front of my reflection in the mirror and wait. Darth Vader meets Frosty the Snowman. Plump. What am I doin’ here? "Eagle powers, come to me. Please!!" I bow to my partner, a 13-year-old sweetie of a girl, tall and stout. The Gm shouts and she starts pummeling me like Smokin' Joe Frazier. She beat the stuffin’ outa me. Gm finally stops her to remind her only 30% power to the body and 10-15 to the head. “Have some respect!” he says. “For the elderly,” I finish in my head. I finally got some licks in but I felt like I was in a sumo suit. (Those eggs were a lie!)

This is the night that would never end. So, to those of you who were kind enough to pray for me, thanks. I have truly tasted humiliation. And I didn't even wear my stretchy pants.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

At home, outside the box

Wow. What a sad season. So many people have died over the last few weeks that it's mind boggling. You never know what a day will bring. Our eyes tell us that this is all there is. Strangely, what we see is just a fleeting speck of reality. The real and everlasting life is outside the box. I'm so glad Jesus told us what's outside the box, or the thought of death would be terrifying. But, that is where home is. Today we celebrated the "home-going" of Larry Walker.

I've thought about the Walkers. Wanted to e-mail Tina when I found out that Larry was really declining. I just didn't do it. So often I pass up opportunities to show love until it's too late.

Watching their slide show today reminded me of a season that has passed. School functions. Piano recitals. Toothless smiles. Awards ceremonies. The wonderful "patriotic programs". Gethsemane Baptist introduced us to a wonderful group of people that we just don't see any more, but who were such a blessing to our family.

Larry and Tina were the first guests that we entertained in our home on the North side. Elisabeth and Lauren were about 7. We ate spaghetti and Larry told stories that had us in stitches.

I'm sad tonight that Tina will be missing her best friend, and when the girls go back home the empty spot will be so bleak. Larry was such a blessing to so many people that there is a multitude who will be feeling the loss for some time to come.

And I guess I'm grieving tonight for a season passed.
What a joyful season it was. I don't suppose there'll be seasons in heaven. Time only functions in the box. It was a gift. The next season will be a joyful gift also. Eventually, will come the ultimate gift- a home in heaven where Jesus is the light, and we will have a reunion with those who are already home.

I'm kind of homesick for a country
To which I've never been before.
No sad goodbyes will there be spoken
For time won't matter anymore.

Beulah Land, I'm longing for you
And some day on thee I'll stand.
There my home shall be eternal.
Beulah Land -- Sweet Beulah Land

I'm looking now across the river
Where my faith will end in sight.
There's just a few more days to labor.
Then I will take my heavenly flight.

Beulah Land, I'm longing for you
And some day on thee I'll stand.
There my home shall be eternal.
Beulah Land -- Sweet Beulah Land

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Out of the closet

Now it's time for true confessions. I'm a Thespian. This may sound bad, but it's time to come out of the closet. In high school I was inducted into the International Thespian Society, an organization to promote and honor those who excel in theater arts. I know. You can throw a tomato at me .

The whole idea of acting a part is not just to memorize lines and say them at the right time- you need to say the lines as though they are your thoughts.

Years after high school, while doing my quite time at home, it dawned on me. I have memorized scripts that are larger than many sections of scriptures. What if I memorize a passage, a chapter, in the same way that I would prepare for a drama presentation. Run these thoughts through the same process and own them in the same way. I chose Mt 25 (Why? I don't know). I spoke it aloud each day. Memorized to understand. To re-speak, as though they were my thoughts- by God's Holy Spirit.

So many people say they can't memorize, but they memorize stuff all the time. Lyrics to 500 songs. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. Nonsense. Baseball stats. The exact scripts of their favorite movies so they can banter back and forth with friends. But they can't commit a passage of scripture to memory and meditate on it as they go through the day?

My friend Helen and I were watching a film on the Roloff Homes for problem boys and girls. Part of the Roloff program for troubled teens was an ambitious Bible memory program to give these kids' minds "a good washing." Helen doesn't do things by halves. She declared, "If those little kids can do it, we can do it."
Great idea, Helen, where should we start? (thinking Ps 23)
John chapter 1.
You mean 1st John.
No, I mean the gospel of John.
That's 53 verses...
Yes, and we say all 53 verses to each other at the end of this month.

Okay, ambitious... but at the end of the month we both had all of John 1, because we're both pretty competitive.

But what a tremendous blessing she gave me by keeping me accountable to learn 13 verses per week, add to each section, and meditate on that wonderful chapter all month. "and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Wowee!

Such rich treasures I have found where there didn't seem to be anything shiny before. Verses I had passed over before, suddenly popped out in technicolor! New dimension. Communion with God as I try to think His thoughts after Him. A side effect is that occasionally a section will totally blow your mind, and your thoughts go off in all directions like fireworks as they connect with other verses from past chapters. The joy is hard to contain, but at the same time the thoughts are hard to communicate to anyone else because it all gets so BIG.

I highly recommend it. Find a faithful partner. Memorize all of Isaiah 53. Ephesians 1. James 1. The blessings you will own are immense. At the beginning of Revelation, a blessing is pronounced on whoever reads and hears the words of the prophesy of the Revelation, and keeps the things written therein. Imagine the blessing of committing those words to your heart!

Take inventory of the things you have memorized. Facts and phrases and dead words from dead books. The words in God's book are living... alive. They will act upon your heart and mind.

For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ! 1 Co 2:16

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Don't put a face on God's blessings.

I was talking with a Christian sister... about 30 years ago, about dreams, plans and goals. I had hopes that God would bless me with one thing or another, I don't remember it all. She told me,"Don't put a face on God's blessings."

That's returned to me over the years as I would look around the corner, expecting God to answer my prayers according to my imagination. Now, why would He do that. Half the time my imagination isn't fit for mixed company. No, God is full of surprises.

Many times I blame God for His blessings, not seeing the value in His gift right away. When we started homeschooling, I felt like I was being punished for a wicked past and being sentenced to "hard time." What a lavish gift and blessing that ended up being. I had a different plan for those 15 years, and he gave me something far more exciting and valuable: 15 years of one on one time with my wonderful, loving children. How could I buy such a treasure?

Often in the last few years, He blesses me with a friend. It's usually someone I never would have guessed would be such a lovely part of my life. And that's just what I'm thankful for tonight. God gave me a friend who encourages me to grow spiritually. She's faithful and patient with me. She overlooks my shortcomings, and praises my little bits of progress which encourages me more than she'll ever know. She's the bit of sunshine that I look forward to each Sunday. But, she's not the partner I would have thought God would give me to get me moving forward again. I would have put a much older face on her. She just turned 13 this week! Who would have thought that Bekah B, (who I affectionately refer to as "Dot") would be my special friend this year.

Thank you, God, for all the special people you put in my life. You are kind and generous. And thanks especially for my Dot. She blesses my heart. Please bless her too.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Best Day

The fear of dying just seems like common sense. No one wants to get the bad diagnosis. I can't remember all the times I found some little lump or bump and felt that little panicky feeling. Begged for mercy. Started bargaining with God. Please wait until the kids are grown.. until the grandbabies come. The graduations. The weddings.

Tonight Pastor preached on what it will be like to see Jesus. Revelation 1. A picture of the Savior in dignity and purity, with all wisdom and the truth of His word, with all authority. God in the midst of His churches, not sitting as a spectator looking down from heaven. Holding his seven messengers, perhaps the pastors of the seven churches, in His right hand. The Almighty.

The sight causes John to fall down like a dead man. But Christ lays his hand on John, and His loving reassuring words to him are "Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death." Our Savior, who tasted death for us and is alive forevermore. Fear not.

And the glad thought dawned upon my heart. Our lovely brother, Don Webb, went to be with Jesus this week. Don always seemed to have a twinkle in his eyes, and a smile on his lips. It looked like he had something cool going on with God that I just didn't know about. Sometimes, whatever was going on in his heart that week would leak out in bits and pieces, and his blue eyes would fill with joyful tears, and he would say something that I couldn't understand. I'd try to get it. Smile. Nod my head. And he'd laugh a little and shake his head, and his eyes would twinkle. And I'd be glad that he and God had something cool, some new truth, some joyful communion between them.

Tonight, as Pastor talked about what it will be like to see God, I realized that Don is experiencing His glory right now. The perfect conclusion to a life spent, partnered with a wife who also lived to bring glory to the Master and bring souls to meet their Savior.

My heart is with my sister, Ferne. I can't imagine that pair separated, and I can't imagine the pain. Everyone who knew Don will miss him. There is the sting.

But why do we fear our own death so much? It ushered Don into God's presence. That is what he lived for. That day, for each of us who know the Savior, is probably our best day ever. Our loving Savior holds the key of death. What does it unlock? Fear not.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Just about the time you think you're lookin' good...

One day I want to write a book entitled "So, there was this time when..."

So, Sis and J and I decide to have a girl's night out. I put on my best shirt. Got on my groovy jeans. Finish off with my nice red hoodie (not a teenie bopper hoodie, an adult hoodie). Sis usually looks professional. Julie (the former cowboy girl) wants to go shopping and purchases a teale colored cotton scarf to acessorize with. As she's checking out I notice a man also checking her out, not in the learing sense, but in the taking another look sense. Then I check her out. She's not dressed provocatively, just looking good with her curly hair and layered shirts... MY BABY.

At this point I'm not feeling old. Julie's just growing up and Sissy is a professional. I'm lookin' good too, right?? So, we go off to see our movie. I had put something in my pocket in case it turned out to be a tear jerker, but it wasn't. Just funny. Afterward, as we strut to the exit, through the lobby of the theater, I notice J's scarf streaming over her shoulder. Nice effect. Then my hand brushes something at my side, and I notice a plume, about 3 feet long, of toilet tissue billowing in my wake.

And that's how your can tell when you're old. J acessorizes with scarves. I acessorize with toilet tissue.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stuck in a bad spot.

Okay, I'm conscientiously counting my calories. Drinking my water. Working out as often as life will permit. Trying not to overdo so as to injure myself. I've learned to wrap my problem wrist. I'm wearing my knee brace. I'm doing all the right things... and I've gained 2 pounds in the last month.

I'm going to need some mighty prayer in order to radically change what I put into my mouth and how often I do it (like MORE often). I'm going to step up the exercise by going in earlier (that I can do). But those who say, "Just count your calories and move more."... for some reason that works for you, because I've seen it. I'm going to jump into Amy's book again. Last time I immediately got a cold, which is typical for me. The Grandmaster has lost probably 30 lbs just by counting calories and working out.

So. I will stay in the wagon. My frustration equals "the flesh". Self-control and patience are in the wagon.

Hoping that God calls us today... or is that just hoping for a calorie free banquet.

Monday, March 2, 2009

How I became a snail.

When I was a new Christian, I became determined to read through the Bible. There was a lovely tool called the Daily Walk, from the Walk Through the Bible ministry, that helped me to accomplish just that. It provided helpful bits of historical and cultural information and overview stuff so that this very foreign information made more sense. I read through the Bible in a year, compulsively reading all the names out loud to make sure I didn't skip anything. I did this again several years in a row which gave a good Bible foundation.

Another helpful growth tool was the Institute in Basic Youth Conflicts (IBYC), commonly known as the Bill Gothard seminar, which came to Long Beach in spring and autumn of each year, and gave instruction in practical Bible application. I found a new challenge each time I attended, though the material was basically the same each time.

One of Gothard's spiritual habits (a challenge to us) was to fast and memorize a passage of scripture regularly. (Our pastor preached on fasting yesterday, which brought this to mind.) He assured us there was deep blessing in practicing both disciplines at the same time, so I decided I'd give it a try one year.

I chose Psalm 1 for my passage and began fasting on a Sunday night. (I ate REAL good Sunday afternoon!) I got up and went to class at El Camino on Monday morning and left the campus famished! "I really don't think it would be so bad if I had a little nibble God..." As I turned onto Redondo Beach Bl, on my way to work, the girl in the car behind me began honking wildly. I looked in my mirror and she was smiling largely and giving me the christian finger! (The nice index finger that communicated that Jesus was the "One Way".) She'd seen my bumper sticker. God had given me a helpful nudge. So, with renewed determination, I prayerfully, thankfully went off to work with my giant water glass and my Bible to take up the memorization challenge with a 4 day fast. My real challenge was to keep the fast secret from my workmates and my roommate (so I shouldn't be like a Pharasee- because I really, really wanted God's blessing!!)

One phrase at a time I memorized and meditated on Psalm 1 for four days. By God's grace, as my tummy would rumble for food, God would fill my soul with blessing. The night before I was supposed to break my fast I was so full of God's joy (Blessed is the man!!) that I didn't want it to end.

I have fasted for weight loss since then (which doesn't make me spiritual, it makes me crabby). The real blessing that I took away from that week was the joy of memorizing and meditating on a passage of scripture, one phrase at a time. What unexpected blessings I have received! Isa 53, Phil 2, Eph 1, Rev 5, Rev 19- one phrase at a time. One verse at a time. Phil 3... one verse at a time, prayerfully, one phrase at at time. I think it was Gothard who called this meditation "thinking God's thought's after Him." (If not him, I don't know where I got it, but it gave me a method of meditation.)
Next, I'll tell how I put a little rabbit in my snail.

Monday, February 23, 2009

From the wagon

The good news is that no, I'm not an alcoholic. I'm not looking for rehab. But when someone's on the wagon, what exactly does that mean? Having resolved to try to do what is good, and not do what is bad, I declared myself to be "on the wagon." I almost immediately became overwhelmed with what I shouldn't do (which are the most nagging issues, because procrastination enables you to convince yourself that you actually WILL DO the things that you should do, sometime... soon). I was waiting for the flood of "to do"s to drown me while focusing on the "don'ts" and feeling more and more inadequate. Seems I've been in this spot regularly. Why do I keep getting off the wagon? Where exactly does this wagon go? (to the Loop?)

Yesterday's sermon was on "lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil." Hunh. Familiar, yet new. Don't you love it when that happens. Then Pastor tossed us 1 Cor 13:10 ... Look it up! "but God is faithful"...

Hunh. Great news! I am inadequate. This is not a case of "Jesus, take the wheel!" I don't need a wheel, I need a wagon. I need to be on God's wagon. It has to be God. (I could have had a V8!)

MY wagon won't move unless I'm going downhill (Aaaaaahhhhhh!!!), or unless I'm NOT on the wagon. Pulling, resolved, renewed determination. Now, which way to go? My sense of direction is legendary. (Kathy Porter could tell you... her mother could tell you.. just about everyone I know can tell you.) Conclusion: If I am "on the wagon", that would imply that someone else must pull the wagon. Otherwise, "on" a wagon is a really dumb place to be.

I've been pulling for a long time. Dragging a wagon and periodically getting "on" it. Struggling with the same temptations. I've been here too long. Lead us not into temptation (direction), but deliver us from evil (power- not my own). It's not a matter of resolve or determination- it needs to be God's wagon and He should be the one to pull. But God is faithful. He knows where to lead. He will deliver me. I just need to stay on the wagon. (The fruit of the Spirit comes in here, but in order to stay on the wagon, I'll leave the fruit for later.) It's all God. He will take me. Stay with.

I get a little break from life today. God has given me time to think. To perhaps get His message for me from yesterday and write it down so I can see it in a straight line (kind of). Life will start again at about 3. This will make sense to no one but me anyway. I assaulted Pastor Rich with it yesterday, and I could see that "this makes no sense, but I'm happy for you" look in his gracious eyes.

Great thing that may come from blogging. I can work through what is going on in my head or heart- sort of rearrange the pieces of the puzzle, without subjecting anyone else to it. My poor family may get some relief, and if anyone else gets splatter on them, it's their own fault for not moving on before it got messy.

From The wagon.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

back on the wagon- in the best sense

Well, I'm not off to a very good start. What cotton-headed-ninny-muggins would start a blog and then be totally baffled at how to use it. It appears to be quite user friendly today. We'll see what tomorrow holds. My thanks to Julie.

It seems that I tend to start good things and when adversity comes, I completely fall off the wagon. I am resolving to not be weary in well-doing. I have a promise to keep that I will tackle first. Then each time I start a new eating plan, I get good and sick. But I'm better now, so I will dig back in to Amy's book and not stop. If she can train for a marathon, I can eat asparagus.

And I will continue to blog, because I believe it will give me a sense of accountability and help me to grow. I have enjoyed reading your thoughts. I need to come out of the cave now. God can probably use me in a cave, but I don't think that's his intention... so I will share my ponderings on the blessings of the snail, unexpected gifts, and the Artist's self portrait in the days to come.

It's presently too late at night for any thoughts (as is probably evident). Until later, unless He calls for us tonight.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Wonder of Wonders

Will wonders never cease~
I now realize I have become a dinosaur. Guess what. Folks don't e-mail anymore in order to stay connected... they blog and facebook. Yes, I have resolved to facebook. Is that a verb? If Anita can do it, so can I. She is my inspiration. I'm not sure why anybody would want to know what I think on a regular basis, but after completing so many surveys over the last few years I have gotten used to self-disclosure. I'm not wearing any socks right now. I know that's random. I embarass myself sometimes. Sometimes?! I thank Sissy for letting me have access to her facebook page, where I found a window to the outside world. I thank Gracei for such amazing postings. So, to anyone who might be interested in my limited thoughts and ridiculous ramblings, a great big Hey!