Sunday, December 31, 2006

All in the Family

I’m roller skating down the streets of Victoria, B.C. My cousin and I are sampling gourmet jellybeans. Flash forward 20-plus years and I’m eating under a blue umbrella in the Tumwater Costco with my husband and four children and introducing them to my Canadian uncle and aunt. I’m all grown up but I still feel loved and safe when I spend time with relatives. I’m glad my oldest son is attending college with several aunts, uncles and cousins nearby.

One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. Psalm 145:4 ESV

Saturday, December 30, 2006

True Love

My just-married friend met her husband through an online Christian dating service but the first date didn’t go anywhere. A couple years later they reconnected and their friendship blossomed into love. She appreciated how he remembered things they talked about and asked questions about her and her family. When did Jesus woo and win my heart? I have known about God all my life. At age six, I asked Jesus into my heart after a discussion about creation. I fell in love with the Good Shepherd of the Psalms when I left home at age sixteen to attend college. I am still learning what it means to “live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20) and live a life holy and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1).

We love because he first loved us. 1 John 4:19 ESV

Friday, December 29, 2006

Wake Up!

Today my six year-old said it’s important to be conscious when you drive in a school zone. I try to be a conscious driver all the time, and also be conscientious. I don’t want to autopilot through my life. I see the grey-green foggy mountains visible from the hill near my parents’ home that look like a Chinese painting. I hear the laughter of family members interacting and getting along—even when six of us are crammed into an extend cab pickup. I welcome the sound of pounding and drilling and know that my floor is being shored up in preparation for tiles in the entry way. I smell the brownie baking in the oven that gets people out of their rooms. And Children, I’m listening when you talk to me. I’m awake!

Oh taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Psalm 34:8 ESV

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sacred Music

You can read the Bible cover to cover in one year if you read three chapters a day. I’ve also heard it suggested you read until God stops you by striking a chord. I’ve played it both ways. This year I plunked and prayed through Colossians 1:3-14 almost every day. I want to do more glissando (rapid ascending or descending of the scale) next year. I am highlighting passages that reveal how God works with an emphasis on peacemaking.

The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes; Psalm 19:7-8 ESV

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Serve with Love

Our time with Oregon relatives came to an end today. We reluctantly piled in the truck and drove home. We stopped at a Burgerville restaurant to stretch our legs and have milkshakes. Gabby learned that a juke box dispenses tunes, not juice boxes. I will take one of the restaurant chain's slogans home with me: "Serve with Love." As I sort laundry tomorrow I will ask God to show me how to serve my family with love--from the heart.

...For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 ESV

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Un-Smart Park

Today Scot's family gathered in downtown Portland like we do every December 26th. We tried something different--we met for dinner instead of lunch and skipped the photo op with the umbrella man in Pioneer Square. Scot and I never shop enough to get our parking garage ticket validated. We just go for the food, fellowship, and discussion about things like validation. Some validation would have come in handy when we discovered we parked in the $4 an hour lot instead of the $1.25 one. Thankfully our identity comes from who we are in Christ, not the labels on our clothes.

I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of salvation... Isaiah 61:10a ESV

Monday, December 25, 2006

Need I Say More?

Christmas 2006 has included:
hanging out with Mary's sister Janet, Clark, and darling girls
a meal with Mary's relatives (Congrats newlyweds Mike and Rachel!)
cinnamon rolls from Mary's mom
filling a pew at the Christmas eve candlelight service
gifts from friends
We will congregate with Scot's family later today.

Scot asked 6 year-old Gabby, "How would you rate this Christmas?" Her response: "How could it be any better? I have all that I need, all that I want, and all that I love."

For in him [Jesus] all the fulness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:19-20 ESV

Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

At our gift opening tonight Scot reminisced about Christmas memories of our three older children. Who can forget our son's face when he opened the pizza-shaped box and found a new toilet seat? He had bathroom detail and I thought he would appreciate a fresh start. One year our second son went on record as saying, "Just what I almost wanted!" after every gift. And then there was the year our baby daughter was sick. The video tape shows one of us running out of the room with her at regular intervals.
I wonder how Mary and Joseph remember the first Christmas. Does the honor of being part of God's plan outweigh the stress of that day? What did they tell young Jesus about that day? And what did he tell them about that day when he was older? When Gabby is older I will remind her of how much she liked her new Cabbage Patch Doll, but quickly added, "But Jesus is the best gift of all!"

And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger...But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. Luke 2:16, 19 ESV

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Welcome to Our World

by Guest Blogger: Scot Lofthus

I love Christmas carols and would sing them all year long if they let me. I enjoy the new carol, Welcome to our World by Michael W. Smith. The first verse reads:

Tears are falling, hearts are breaking, How we need to hear from God
You've been promised, we've been waiting, Welcome holy child! Welcome holy child!

An old favorite of mine is, Joy to the World by Isaac Watts. The first verse reads:

Joy to the world, the Lord is come, Let earth receive her King!
Let every heart prepare him room and Heaven and nature sing...
and Heaven, and Heaven and nature sing.

Christmas is about Jesus, our Emmanuel, being found in appearance as a man and humbling himself to the point of death on a cross for us! (Philippians 2:8-9). Of Jesus, Revelation 1:8 reads, "I am the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end," says the Lord, "who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty." This old story has fresh meaning for us as we invite King Jesus to rule and reign in our hearts and wait for His glorious return!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Come Clean

Usually I refrain from comparisons and encourage others to do likewise. You either set yourself up as better than others or worse. I have done a little comparing lately without regrets. One friend's home is the kind of home I want to have. She has splashes of color arranged tastefully without overdoing it. It is comfy but not cluttered. There is hope for me! Another friend and I discussed the states of our homes while in line at the store. We are prepared to walk through each other's homes room by room, and gasp, closet by closet, to get the full "before" effect. Then we can celebrate the "after." It feels good to know I am not alone and it is possible to make home improvements.

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! Ecclesiastes 4:9,10 ESV

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thanks, Mom!

Bless her heart, my mom tried to teach me how to cook before I graduated from high school. I didn’t have much interest until I got married. As part of her overseas ministry career, Mom taught western cooking classes all over Asia. Today I followed in her footsteps and taught my Chinese neighbors how to bake banana bread. I showed them how to measure flour with a measuring cup and a knife to make it level. I explained how the dry ingredients are mixed together and added to the wet mixture, except that the sugar goes with the oil and eggs. Unlike many of my mom’s classes, this setting included an oven. We didn’t have to make a cake in a frying pan or rice cooker. The banana bread was a hit and they can make their own next time.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Proverbs 31:26-28 ESV

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Time of Day

I saw a car bearing this license plate: NOTNOW. I have said that before. I have thought, “I don’t have time for this.” And I have communicated, “I don’t have time for you.” I want to tune out distractions and tune in to the people around me.

Do not say to your neighbor, ‘Go, and come again, tomorrow I will give it’—when you have it with you. Proverbs 3:28 ESV

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Play On

There are days I am jostled, pushed, and knocked down. I get up, shake it off, and get back in the game. Then I get tired and take my eye off the ball. When a teammate runs into me and doesn’t say sorry, I want to walk off the field and retreat to my room. Sometimes I don’t care if I get a red card. I will listen to the Coach’s encouragement. “You can do all things with My strength.” “I will never leave you or forsake you.”

May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, Colossians 1:11 ESV

Monday, December 18, 2006

Rally

My forecast for tomorrow calls for freezing temps with 95% chance of ping pong. Appointments and errands will keep me bouncing around town all day. So much for getting projects done at home. My game plan is to dress warmly, grab a latte, and use snatches of time to take deep breaths and be ready for the next day.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 ESV

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Getting Left Right

I am directionally challenged. I feel sorry for my driver’s ed teacher: “I said, ‘Turn LEFT!’” Since I’m right-handed, it’s been suggested I think about what hand I write with. I have to imagine a pen, pick it up, and by then I’ve missed the turn. A wise friend showed me how to make an L with my left thumb and pointer finger. It works! (Good thing I’m not dyslexic!) Now I drive with L showing on my left hand. Tonight I met my cousin’s wife and found out we share the same struggle—and the same remedy. I’m going to try her method of parallel parking and see if it works for me. (Something about looking in the side mirror and turning the wheel when you see the curb…)

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. 2 Corinthians 9:8

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Mary, Mary, how does your garden grow?

Our job was hands-on when our children were little. Their dad and I changed diapers, gave baths, strapped them in car seats, and more. Now we have three teenagers plus one bookend and our role is different. It is our joy to watch them interact with each other. We see how they are blossoming into distinct individuals with strong connections. It’s great to have our first-born home from college for Christmas break.

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Psalm 128:3 ESV

Friday, December 15, 2006

Stirred but Not Shaken

Last night’s strong winds blew down trees and power lines. We had one Little House on the Prairie day without modern conveniences. We are thankful for the electricity we use every day without thinking about it. We are thankful for a house to protect us from the elements as we remember the Kim family that was lost in the Oregon wilderness. Our hearts go out to the courageous mom and two daughters who survived and share their loss of a dad who gave his all for his family. We pray for the safe return of three climbers lost on Mt. Hood.

For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken.

Psalm 62:1-2 ESV

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Balloon Art

I have a rhyming dictionary and I’m not afraid to use it. But I’m not a poet and I know it. I can’t get words to sing and dance. I huff and puff and blow up word balloons. If it’s not the right shape, I let the air out and begin again. My friend had a beautiful Christmas poem float by while listening to a concert. She snatched the trailing ribbon and wrote it down before it disappeared. I will keep doing what I do for God’s glory and enjoy the talents of others.

If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 1 Corinthians 12:17-18 ESV

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Big Brother

Only two days until Big Brother comes home from college!
My to-do list includes:

Clear his bed
Make his bed
Organize collected items (a new shirt, pants, scratch that, they fit his dad, a new comic strip in the paper and article about the creator, a Wall Street Journal article about “unboxing”, etc.)
Gather food supplies like Snickers bars, chips and salsa, Spanish peanuts for chicken and peanuts, and pepperoni for homemade calzone
Clear the dining room table of filing interspersed with Christmas d├ęcor
Brace for adjustments of family life versus dorm life
Broach the subject of resuming kitchen detail like he used to do so well and without complaint
Be thankful he is bringing his own laptop and won’t need to take a number for computer time
Thank God for family!

A Song of Ascents. Of David. Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! Psalm 133:1 ESV

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Saying Grace

Small talk is the equivalent of a grocery store food sample handed to anyone walking by. It doesn’t fill you up. I’m thankful for friends who offer full meal deals of questions, listening, and sharing from the heart. I had a progressive dinner at the office, grocery store, a friend’s home, and over the phone. My friends shared prayer requests, new goals, disappointments, memories, and more. I ate well today.

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Ephesians 4:29 ESV

Monday, December 11, 2006

Wait for Joseph

The Nativity Story movie is more than icing on the cake of Christmas festivities. The filmmakers took a familiar story and added color, texture, and humanity. I gained fresh appreciation for the Chosen People’s longing for a Messiah. I was moved by the simple faith of young Mary. And I have renewed passion for teaching my daughters to “Wait for Joseph.” Hold out for a man of faith, character, and a gentle spirit. Don’t settle for crumbs.

Love is patient and kind;
love does not envy or boast;
it is not arrogant or rude.
It does not insist on its own way;
it is not irritable or resentful;
it does not rejoice at wrongdoing,
but rejoices with the truth.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 ESV

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Dem Bones

It sounds like a line from a movie. “Bring the tape and I’ll call with directions.” Today's surveillance tape of the Olympia Denny’s parking lot will show a red SUV pulling up next to a blue sedan. A woman got out of the blue car and handed a package to the other driver and then they both drove away.

It all started with a post on craigslist about last week’s episode of Bones: “I was supposed to record it for my Mom but I fell asleep. BAD, BAD DAUGHTER!!” I just happened to tape it, so I emailed, and we arranged the hand-off. Mission accomplished. I’m glad I could help out. Now you know why my husband is calling me Bones.

They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, 1 Timothy 6:18 ESV

Saturday, December 09, 2006

God Bless Us, Everyone

Love ‘em or hate ‘em; ‘tis the season. Former neighbors are first with a how-the-kids-have-grown photo. Camp Tadmor’s card takes Scot back to summer camp counselor days. Scot’s parents’ letter shared a tender story from Christmas past. In the spirit of the Prophet Samuel’s Ebenezer stone, we write a family newsletter because our lives are an open book. Every year is another chapter of God’s faithfulness. So bring on the Christmas letters. We want to “rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn” (Romans 12:15).

Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen and called its name Ebenezer; for he said, "Till now the LORD has helped us." 1 Samuel 7:12 ESV

Friday, December 08, 2006

On the Road Again

I saw a license plate saying: 4MYKIDZ. I drive all over for my kids: to school and back, to practice and back, to the store and back, and then start over. I count it a privilege to participate in their lives. When my children were younger I had times in bed full-time with M.S. and couldn’t drive. I hope I never tire of making my daily rounds.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, Psalm 103:2 ESV

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Real Men

Today I read in the Bible where Ruth meets Boaz. Boaz’s words were an encouragement to the young widow gleaning the fields. I am thankful for the napkin notes from “Daddio” in my school lunches. My grandfather writes birthday poems for the family. I have a 21-year and counting collection of love notes from my husband. When I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis eleven years ago, my father-in-law blessed me by writing his own note to include with my mother-in-law’s. Write on!

Then she said, “I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, for you have comforted me and spoken kindly to your servant, though I am not one of your servants. Ruth 2:13 ESV

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

In Deed

I am easily distracted. I make memos to self in the middle of conversations. I repeat questions without registering replies. “No, I don’t have any homework, Mom!” I want to remember what martyred missionary, Jim Elliot said: “Wherever you are, be all there.” I will stop reading the paper when people are talking to me. I make the choice to focus and tune in. I’m here. I’m with you.

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18 ESV

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My Baby Blue

I am not afraid of cold weather because I have a cozy down jacket. My heart stays warm because God gave me a soul mate 21 years ago. And like this jacket, Scot is the perfect fit for me. Baby blue brings out the best in me. I am protected from cold and wind and storms that come. I never know what I will find in the pocket—a tissue to wipe my tears or something funny to make me laugh. There could be a verse of scripture, a poem, or a spot of cash for whatever little splurge makes me happy. I am free to grab a cup of coffee with a friend or buy a book at the thrift store. You warm me up, Scotty! Happy 21st anniversary on December 7th!

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7 ESV

Monday, December 04, 2006

Goal!

Our 15 year-old played in a soccer tournament this weekend in Aberdeen, WA (an hour away). They won one and lost one and advanced to the finals. On Sunday our team was tied zip-zip and went to a shoot out. After 8 rounds, our Star used her left foot and booted it in. The other team missed the next shot and we were on to the finals! In the championship game Sarah had a goal but the ref called it off saying someone pushed the goalkeeper. We lost 3 to 2 but our girls fought hard, played clean, and were our winners of the day. Way to go, Sarah! Way to go, Dad and Danny for braving the freezing temps to cheer her on!

Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts! Psalm 125:4 ESV

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Pad the Ropes

I am inspired by the Old Testament story of a guy who not only pleaded for the life of a prophet, but planned ahead to take old clothes to pad the ropes used to pull the dehydrated, starving man out of a pit. I appreciate it when others add that extra thoughtful touch. Twenty-one years ago, friends sent us on our honeymoon with a basket filled with fruit, snacks, and cash. Scot painted a house for a friend this summer. She tucked in a gift certificate for Taco Del Mar, a family favorite, along with the check. Yesterday friends took the initiative to track down a Christmas tree for us, available after a women’s dinner at church. Lord, open my eyes to see ways to pad the ropes for others.

So Ebed-melech took the men with him and went to the house of the king, to a wardrobe in the storehouse, and took from there old rags and worn-out clothes, which he let down to Jeremiah in the cistern by ropes. Then Ebed-melech the Ethiopian said to Jeremiah, "Put the rags and clothes between your armpits and the ropes." Jeremiah did so. Jeremiah 38:11,12 ESV

Saturday, December 02, 2006

“Altogether it was a good day.” p. 79

Today I bought a first edition Caddie Woodlawn (1935) at the library book sale for 25 cents. I love the inscription written to Becca from Grandma in September, 1979:

Even a used book is new to the one who reads it for the first time.

This grandma is a kindred spirit. I love finding good books and passing them on. In the spirit of wide margins, it’s time to inventory my library and make room for future finds.

One gives freely, yet grows all the richer; another withholds what he should give, and only suffers want. Proverbs 11:24 ESV

Friday, December 01, 2006

Because I can

I saw a vanity license plate that read: BCZICAN. I take that to mean, “Because I can.” I don’t operate by that motto. My goal is to live a life pleasing to God (2 Corinthians 5:9). Last night I turned on the tv to watch a show after the kids went to bed. It wasn’t appropriate so I turned it off. I can do that.

Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1 Peter 2:16 ESV

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Book of Lies


My Bible study ladies and I each bought a steno notebook (the kind with lines down the middle of the pages). The plan was to record lies we hear or tell ourselves on one side and corresponding truth from God’s Word on the other. I haven’t written much, but I keep thinking about that notebook. I catch myself saying inwardly, “I can never do enough” or “This is hopeless…” And then I remember a verse like, “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV.

Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart. Psalm 51:6 ESV

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Highway to Heaven

I saw this sign on the tip jar at an espresso stand: Tippers go to Heaven. Yes, God cares how we treat others here on earth. Yet ultimately we cannot do enough good deeds to gain entrance into God’s presence. I am reading a book about Heaven by Randy Alcorn. He says, “God loves us enough to tell the truth—there are two eternal destinations, not one, and we must choose the right path if we are to go to Heaven. All roads do not lead to Heaven. Only one does: Jesus Christ. He said, ‘No one comes to the Father except through me’ (John 14:6).”

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:8 ESV

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Our Daily Bread


I have two favorite plates on the dining room wall. One is a thrift store find and the other is a family heirloom from my mother-in-law. They both bear flowers and the scripture: Give us this day our daily bread. They are a visual reminder that God provides what we need when we need it. When Scot was in seminary we were given food baskets. My mom came and canned peaches while waiting for our first son’s birth. Today we are given garden surplus, bread, rice, apples, and other goodies. It’s my joy to make apple pies and applesauce cake to share with others.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work. He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 2 Corinthians 9:8, 10 ESV

Monday, November 27, 2006

A Clean Cut

I don’t want to work harder. I want to work smarter. I need to take time to “sharpen the ax,” as Ecclesiastes 10:10 says. The sharpener is around here somewhere. My current project is sorting layers of paper in the archaeological dig on our desk.

She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27 ESV

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Good Riddance

I don’t want a spotless house. I want a home that is inviting, comfortable, easy to maintain, and inspires hospitality and creativity. I need to face my fears about getting rid of stuff:

1. I might need it.
2. Someone might need it.
3. It costs money to replace it.
4. I won’t be able to replace it.
5. I don’t want to feel guilty about spending money on it in the first place.

It’s time to let go.

For everything there is a season,…a time to keep, and a time to cast away. Ecclesiastes 3:1, 6 ESV

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Open Season

It’s open season for Christmas shopping. Sure I scoped out the "Black Friday" ads. A flat screen monitor would be nice but my big boy works just fine. I want to keep my sights on NEEDS versus WANTS. My game plan is, “What can I do with what I have?” And my secret weapon is trusting God to provide in creative ways.

And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19 ESV

Friday, November 24, 2006

Keep on Keeping On

It’s the day after Thanksgiving. My friend is on a shopping jaunt with her sister to Portland for the 25th year in a row. My sister-in-law is stocking up on socks at Freddies (Fred Meyer). The Cousins are bowling. What other traditions do we have? Sue and I have kept the Hello Summer block party going for 8 years. We couldn’t pull off a bbq this year but the ice cream social was a hit with 60 men, women, and children. It’s time for our family to bring back the Happy Birthday Jesus party for neighbor kids.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. Galatians 6:9 ESV

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Going Home

I am thankful for memories of dear ones not around the table anymore. My adopted Aunt Hai warmed dinner plates and loved me through college when I was far from home. The indomitable Dorothy came to fold laundry and tell stories when I was in bed full-time with Multiple Sclerosis. My paternal grandparents lived a life of service to God and gave freely of themselves to family. My husband’s maternal grandparents added love and laughter to the family. I miss tea with my great-grandma Mary who showed how to age gracefully and retain a sweet spirit and love for Jesus all 106 years.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:1,2

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Pray by Number

How do I pray for my children? Besides the 911 “what’s your emergency?” prayers, I use a bookmark with 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Kids by Bob Hostetler. Today is the 22nd so I prayed for contentment. “Father, teach my children ‘the secret of being content in any and every situation…through Him who gives [them] strength’” (Philippians 4:12-13). As I pray, I ask God to work in and through me so I will be a good example.

we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding. Colossians 1:9

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Sound Check

One evening our baby monitor picked up a neighbor’s monitor signal. I heard a mom’s gentle voice reading a bedtime story. She asked her husband, “Did you remember to pick up stamps today, honey?” I turned it off and wondered, what would you overhear in my home? One day you would have heard, “Something has to change around here. We need to figure out a way to be on time or early!” And then, “Stop letting the dog lick your face!” Later, “Are your wet shoes in here? I smell something.” I want to fill my home with more than pronouncements. I want to instruct and inspire, exhort and encourage.

Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24 ESV

Monday, November 20, 2006

And Then Some

When I prayed for a teaching job for my husband, all I wanted was a fully employed, happy husband. He landed a job at our local Christian School and I discovered my niche. I have renewed old friendships, made new ones, and found a place to contribute. I can use my passion for writing and connecting on the new school website. And I have reprised my Bible study leader role in a moms’ weekly Bible study.

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. Ephesians 3:20, 21 ESV

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sounds of Music

My husband is our designated Music Man. He cranks the cd player almost every morning. Years ago the Veggie Tales® song Stand was our theme before the children left for school. It included the lyrics:

Oh, stand (Stand up, stand up)
For what you believe in, believe in,
Believe in God (He's the one to back you up)
We'll stand with you!
He'll stand with you, oh yeah.

We highly recommend the Seeds of Faith, Courage, and Purpose cds. They are geared for children but get scripture in my heart too. Now that Christmas is near, my husband, has his favorite, Handel’s Young Messiah, playing.

Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! Psalm 95:2 ESV

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Paper Angel

We like to read the daily newspaper. We bite on special deals and then let the subscriptions expire to save money. A friend said she gets two local papers and would be glad to share them when she’s done. She drives by our house almost every day and leaves neat bundles in the driveway or on the porch. We are blessed to have a friend who cares enough to share.

But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:17, 18 ESV

Friday, November 17, 2006

Take a Load Off

Have you seen the tv commercial with people dragging bathroom scales everywhere? For years I have said I need to lose weight. A friend told me she was part of an informal group that weighed in every week. I jumped right in. A burden was lifted when I wrote down my starting weight and faced the truth. Since then I have been able to say no to leftover Halloween sweets, cinnamon rolls in Sunday school, and seconds. I have said yes to more fruits and veggies and started walking regularly. To date I have avoided paying the weekly $1 penalty for gaining weight. A little accountability goes a long ways!

to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Domino Parenting

I said yes to movie plans for my teenage daughter after screening the reviews. But plans changed to include a different movie of questionable content. Sometimes I have to be the bad guy and say no. Later I found out my daughter’s friend was allowed to go because her parents mistakenly thought it was okay with me. I am encouraged to pray for discernment and then stay strong. Don’t cave under pressure.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain. 1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Truth be Told

My truth detector is always on. Just ask my kids how often I point out something on tv, in the newspaper, or in conversation that doesn’t ring true. I have decided to stop correcting every misbelief* that pops up. I want to wait for God’s leading for when to speak up and when to be silent. I pray that I will be sensitive to the deeper issues of the heart.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Proverbs 25:11 ESV

* from Telling Yourself the Truth by William Backus and Marie Chapian

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Not One More Thing

How do you find the balance between multi-tasking--using time and resources well--and system overload? Stop squeezing in “one more thing.” If I have a few minutes to spare and try to fit in one more errand, inevitably I will be late. When waiting to pick up children from school or practice I can listen to Christian radio, read the newspaper or a book if I brought one, take time to plan or pray, or even Sudoku a while.

Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34 NIV