Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Light Up the Night

We've done it all. We have abstained from all Halloween celebrations, including keeping our kids home from public school so they didn't have to be part of the "snake" or line of costumed children parading through the school, hosted alternative parties when we lived out in the country, attended church harvest parties,and now our youngest can dress up and do the church event before trick or treating in our neighborhood. We don't want to be part of celebrating evil yet Halloween is a huge event for families and children. Is there a way to redeem this night? I wish we could afford to offer some amazing treat with a spiritual message that isn't too hokey. How can we let the light of Jesus shine in our neighborhood? We have another year to think of something.

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled only to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake. For God, who said, "Let light shine out of darkness," has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:3-6 ESV

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Do Hard Things

I would be thrilled if my two teenagers and my twenty-year-old rebelled. Rebelled against rebellion that is. The Rebelution is a counter-cultural youth movement among Christian young people. The Rebelution website explains:

The word 'rebelution' is a combination of the words "rebellion" and "revolution." So it carries a sense of an uprising against social norms. But in this case, it's not a rebellion against God-established authority, but against the low expectations of our society. It's a refusal to be defined by our ungodly, rebellious culture. Actually, we like to think of it as rebelling against rebellion.

And I can adopt their battle cry for my own life.

The battle cry of The Rebelution is just three words, but it's an explosive concept: Do Hard Things. That's it. And "do hard things" is a mentality. It's a mentality that flies right in the face of our culture's low expectations. The world says, "You're young, have fun!" It tells us to "obey your thirst" and "just do it." Or it tells us, "You're great! You don't need to exert yourself." But those kinds of mindsets sabotage biblical character and competence.

"Do Hard Things" is just the opposite. It's how we build character and competence. It won't drop to meet the low expectations, it won't just do what comes easily, and it won't become complacent. It applies no matter who you are or what level you're on, because there's always something harder to do, something that will take you outside your comfort zone and cause you to grow.

I can model doing what is right, even if it is hard. With God's help, I can do that.

Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12 ESV

Monday, October 29, 2007

Living Large

My son said, "Mom, you might want to watch this." He was right. It was fascinating to see the PBS program about extreme gardeners: Lords of the Gourd: Pursuit of Excellence. I joke that my husband loves to work in the yard and I love to watch him work in the yard. I'm glad he doesn't go overboard like the extreme gardeners who devote their lives to "one obsessive goal: to raise the biggest pumpkin in the world." We're talking hundreds of pounds, upwards of 1000 pounds. One man couldn't attend his children's soccer games because he needed be home watering his pumpkins. I could relate to the woman who set hundreds of mouse traps. Pesky critters! But seriously, what do I devote my life to? What am I passionate about? I read an article about Pastor Bill Hybels in Servant magazine. He said that after he's gone, he would like his children to say he was the biggest cheerleader they ever had. I'd like that, and to also have pointed them in the right direction. In the meantime, our library has the dvd on order. I'm second in line when it comes. I don't know if my mom should see it. She might want my dad to build her a monster hoop house for her garden.

Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ. For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. Colossians 1:28-29 ESV

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Time Well Spent

My goal is to use my online time well. It's part of my "walk/live/blog in a manner worthy of the Lord" quest from Colossians 1:10. I'm glad I figured out the whole blog subscription thing. All I have to do is open up Google Reader and see what's new at my list of blogs. It saves me from needless clicking and reclicking. One of my favorite blogs is Tim Challies' blog with what he describes as "a compendium of articles, information and book reviews. If the blog has a primary focus, it would likely be commentary on the contemporary church and its interaction with the culture around us." I look forward to receiving his book, The Discipline of Spiritual Discernment, when it's hot off the press.

Yesterday he led me to The Blazing Center blog written by Mark and Stephen Altrogge. I recently found their album, In a Little While, at the Sovereign Grace Ministries site. Tim Challies says, "Mark and Stephen love the gospel and are continually drawing their readers' hearts and minds back to the cross and back to the good new of salvation through Jesus Christ. They take every day situations and use these situations as a bridge to teaching eternal truths. " He commends their blog and so do I.

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Musical Cars

I need one of those coach's white boards to illustrate each player's, or in this case, family member's moves. It would show who goes where in what vehicle. This week I watched my daughter's soccer game from our car parked by the field. My husband came after work and parked his truck in the parking lot. He sat in the car with me for a while and then joined his parents and my two other children in the bleachers. After the game my in-laws drove my husband and youngest daughter to where I was. I traded places with my husband so my in-laws could give me a ride home. My husband drove our car to the parking lot and got back in his truck. My son was free to drive our car home with my older daughter after the next soccer game. Whatever it takes. And special thanks to Coach Grandpa for coming up with the exit strategy

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:6 ESV

Friday, October 26, 2007

In His Arms

My friend's 12-year-old daughter is not suffering with a brain tumor any more. Labri Dirkse passed into the arms of Jesus at 4:08 p.m. today, Friday, October 26th. Since her diagnosis in May, she has been busy enjoying every day with family and friends, making memories, and writing poems. I haven't seen her Mom, Heidi, much since we moved away from Portland, Oregon 16 years ago. But I have followed this brave young woman's journey through an online journal at Caring Bridge. My heart goes out to the family and the many lives she has touched. God healed her by taking her home. And He can provide comfort in a time of grief.

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 ESV

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hope Flows

Today is my favorite day of the month. Every day I pray one of the 31 Biblical Virtues to Pray for Your Kids by Bob Hostetler. On the 25th I pray for hope. "May the God of hope grant that my children may overflow with hope and hopefulness by the power of the Holy Spirit" (Romans 15:13). We all need hope. Hope that our lives have meaning and purpose. Hope that God is in control and can work all things to His glory. Hope that this life is not all there is. We have hope laid up for us in heaven (Colossians 1:5). And that hope is overflowing today.

For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O LORD, from my youth. Psalm 71:5 ESV

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Love is

Waking up with a smile and a song
Laughing with, never at
Giving honest feedback

Painting the living room one day
Painting the living room a different color the next day

Gracious to the passenger-seat driver
Figuring out when her left means right, or vice versa

Hauling her books to sell at the used book store
Hauling most of the books back to the car
Laughing about the parking ticket that wiped out any profit

Hauling old appliances out and new(er) appliances in as many times as it takes

Letting her read in bed when he’s asleep
Letting her read to him in bed when he was asleep

Only having eyes for her
Making her feel like the most beautiful woman at the ball

Holding hands at the grocery store

Being her biggest cheerleader

Making a cup of tea when asked
Making a cup of tea when it seems like the thing to do

Answering questions that have been asked and answered, such as, “Did you feed the dogs?”

Never asking, “what did you do all day?
Always listening to what all happened today

Defending her even when she isn’t at her best

Always being willing to “start over”
Being quick to forgive or ask forgiveness
Not bringing up the past

Sending her to Singapore to see her parents for Mother’s Day
Sending her to California for warm weather therapy (and good food) at her sister’s house
Doing a Design on a Penny on their bedroom when she is out of town
Buying her a laptop so she can blog in peace

Taking her to garage sales when she should be having one

Making the yard look beautiful

Seizing moments to get things done
Creating order out of chaos without being overwhelmed

Stepping in when she’s had it up to here

Praying for and with her
Searching God’s Word together
Saying “in sickness and in health” and meaning it

And love is being married to your best friend.
Happy Birthday, Scot!

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Now We Know

It could have gone either way. My latest brain MRI could have shown no change, or new lesions and progression of Multiple Sclerosis. Today I found out that there are new lesions and the injected dye revealed an area that is "enhanced," or active. I am not shocked by the news or disheartened. It is what it is. And now we know that going on one of the medications is a good plan to slow the progression. After we sort out the insurance and drug coverage I will need to get over my aversion to needles so I can learn how to give myself weekly shots. It will take months to see any benefits from the medication. In the meantime, I hope to bounce back like I have in the past. No matter what, my life is in God's hands. He has sustained me this far.

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O LORD, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands. Psalm 138:8 ESV

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bedtime Questions

“Mommy, did you learn how to cross the monkey bars when you were a little girl?” Yes, but I wasn’t very good at it.

“Mommy, do you think you will get all better and not have MS any more?” I don’t know, Honey.

“Mommy, how old do you think you will be when you die?” I don’t know that, either. Only God knows. I want to make every day count. Do you know what that means? I want to live each day to the fullest. I want to live a life pleasing to God with no regrets.

We can do that.

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 2 Timothy 4:7-8 ESV

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I Wonder

Will we remember our questions when we get to heaven? If I write them in my Bible will that help? Just a thought. I know who I want to talk to. I don't think there will be huge crowds gathered around some of the lesser known figures. I want to know more about Epaphras who is mentioned three times in Paul's letters: "Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God" (Colossians 4:12 ESV). I pray that God will bring modern day Epaphrases into my children's lives. And what about the Archippus Paul spoke of? "And say to Archippus, 'See that you fulfill the ministry that you have received in the Lord'" (Colossians 4:17). He probably has some interesting stories about his ministry and the challenges that threatened to keep him from completing it. I pray that God will work in and through me too. He can do that.

And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 ESV

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Time Out

This is how my life is. I’m not on the sidelines. I’m not even in the bleachers. I’m sitting in the car trying to watch my daughter's soccer game from the parking lot. I wonder how long I will be here. At least I’m keeping warm.

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. Psalm 103:2-5 ESV

Friday, October 19, 2007


I confess. Last night I succumbed to flipping. Channel flipping that is. Do I get a free pass to watch anything I want on TV if I don't feel like doing anything else? I watched some news and then paused at a celebrity gossip show. There was a story about a dog and a girl and a talk show host. I came to my senses and turned it off before I found out more or got hooked on the programs coming up.

What is it that I pray for my husband, children, and myself every day? I pray that we may "walk in a manner worthy of the Lord" (Colossians 1:10). Even if I'm not walking very well, I can live in a manner worthy of the Lord. I can stay in bed in a manner worthy of the Lord. I can spend my time worthy of the Lord. I can email in a manner worthy of the Lord. I can talk to my children and spouse in a manner worthy of the Lord. I can blog in a manner worthy of the Lord. And yes, I can watch TV in a manner worthy of the Lord. And that probably means turning it off. I can do that.

so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10 ESV

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Oh, Charles!

They don't make them like that anymore. I never tire of watching reruns of Little House on the Prairie. I don't know of any other program that acknowledges the role of faith in everyday lives. When Pa doesn't know what to do, he prays for God's guidance. Today I saw the pilot movie that first aired in 1974. When faced with empty stockings for Christmas, Caroline reminds Charles, "It's Christ's birthday, not ours." There's an episode for just about every issue: bullies, gossip, courtship, marriage, losing a child, disability, injustice, prejudice, overcoming hardship, alcoholism, drug addiction, and so on. I'm glad there's something on television I can watch with my children.

What is your favorite episode or moment from the show? I remember Almanzo and Laura's first kiss.

We will not hide them from their children, but tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the LORD, and his might, and the wonders that he has done. Psalm 78:4 ESV

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

My Bible

Here are some of my favorite Scriptures.

Book for all seasons: Psalms

Chapter to live by: Romans 12

Favorite picture of Jesus: Good Shepherd John 10:11

Verse that sums it up: Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 ESV

Favorite character: Can’t choose between Nehemiah and Joseph

Favorite parable: Parable of the Seed Mark 4:3-20

Favorite proverb: Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox. Proverbs 14:4

Favorite prayer for my family: Colossians 1:9-14

Favorite description of God:
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:28-31 ESV

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Say What?

You might wonder how my mind functions when my speech is impaired. It depends. Sometimes I know what I’m trying to say but my tongue gets in the way or my mouth can’t form the words. Sometimes I repeat a syllable until I can spit out the whole word. Fatigue makes it worse. I do have periods of brain fog. Huh? What were you saying? Let me rest, have a cup of tea, and get back to you. But don’t worry if I’m not sure what day it is. That’s nothing new.

My husband can tell you that my brain is still whirring along. Meanwhile, I’ll keep resting, speaking when I can, and trusting God to help me say what needs to be said.

So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 ESV

Monday, October 15, 2007

Tale of Two Siblings

They can be the best of friends, they can be the worst of friends. So how is it going to work for my 18-year-old son and 16-year-old daughter to do Running Start together? As a high school senior and junior they can take classes at the community college to meet high school requirements--and if they plan it right, obtain an AA degree in the process. This quarter they are taking two classes together, Spanish and US History.

So far so good. They ride the bus together or carpool. They study together every night. My son fared better on the first pop quiz in history but then my daughter scored a little higher on the first Spanish quiz. My daughter was happy with her score on the first history test: 92. Way to go! How did my son do? How will he handle the competition? When the professor listed the scores on the board, my son wondered what nerd had wrecked the curve with a 102%. All eyes turned to a student who always speaks up in class. “Answer Boy, did you get 102%?" “No, wasn’t me.” Then my son saw his paper. He was that nerd!

It does a mother’s heart good to see her children bring out the best in each other.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 1 Peter 3:8 ESV

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Why Me?

I held out my little cup and asked God to fill it with grace. I asked with faith. But I didn’t expect to need pitcher after pitcher to catch the steady stream. Why has God given me so much? My cousin has other things to worry about on the frontlines in Afghanistan . Yet today he used precious online time to send an e-card. He is praying for me and my family and that God will heal me. I am humbled to be prayed for by friends and family around the world. I don’t know what God has planned for me, but He is at work.

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! Psalm 8:3-4,9 ESV

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Longest Hour

I was a little overconfident with my “I’m not claustrophobic” claim. And like childbirth, you forget the details until you go through it again. This was my 4th time being secured on a pallet and rolled into a cylindrical tube for Magnetic Resonance Imaging of my brain. I felt dizzy with some of my MS symptoms before it started. Lord, I can handle the “magic carpet ride.” But please let me get through this without the “rotisserie” sensation, or worse, the dreaded “sling” (round and round). I closed my eyes and vowed to not open them and see how trapped I was.

And so began one hour of “this segment will last about 30 seconds” and “this will last about three minutes.” I’m surprised I had any hearing left after the machine gun fire, alarm clock buzzers to wake the dead, and mallets striking chisels.

When the technician told me to try to not swallow for one segment, I needed to focus on something else. As I lay in darkness, I prayed for people I know who are trapped in darkness--whether they know it or not. I wanted to open my eyes but I was afraid I would panic. Focus, focus, focus. What are some scriptures? How does Philippians 4:8 go? Whatever is true, of good repute, lovely. What is the order? I know “true” comes first but then what?

How about planning a menu? I read that Gracia Burnham, the missionary who endured a year of captivity in the Philippines, wrote out menus to pass the time and keep her sanity. We haven’t had lentils in while. Maybe I should try my sister’s lentil chili recipe.

Now I remember how I survived this test before. Say to self: “I am feeling no pain. I am feeling no pain.” This is easier than childbirth. I can do this, with God’s help.

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Philippians 4:6-8 ESV

Friday, October 12, 2007

What are you in for?

“What are you in for?” I try to not ask personal questions when I encounter people I know at the doctor’s office. But this wasn’t a doctor’s office. It was the radiology clinic where I was having my brain MRI. Anyway, she asked me first.

I know the woman from church and we’ve already had the, “I have MS,” “So do I!” chat. She was diagnosed years ago, but she hasn’t forgotten the prayerful decision about treatment options. She was the first person in the county to win the lottery for the MS drugs. And the medication has helped her. She was at the clinic for an injury unrelated to her MS.

I have no idea what my scan will reveal. Are there new lesions? And if so, am I ready to jump on the medication bandwagon? What does the future hold? My husband and I can look back and see how God has led us safely through the fog, dark, and sometimes bumpy roads. He won’t quit now.

He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young. Isaiah 40:11 ESV

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Bedtime Stories, Part Two

The two boys grew taller and the little sister became a big sister. The boys slept on a loft bed and a twin bed set. Rumor has it the twin frame was never the same after the boys watched a Karate Kid movie and imitated the crane move. Hi-yah!

A friend gave the family an antique double bed frame for the daughter. The older daughter slept on a squishy old mattress until they could find something better. An ad in the paper led the couple to a mobile home park in the outskirts of a nearby town. The woman had a double mattress set available, but wait, her 17-year-old son was still sleeping in it. He got up and the husband and wife paid fifty bucks for the firm yet comfortable bed.

The baby had a beautiful borrowed crib. And hardly slept in it--not for lack of effort to get her used to it. When she was bigger she had a toddler bed, and hardly slept all night in it. The big sister generously offered to share the double bed with her little sister. Gradually the little sister slept in there most of the time for most of the night. But the bed was crowded with both of them in it.

One day the mom saw a beautiful bunk bed set at the local thrift store on a half-price Saturday. The youngest liked it. What would the older sister think about the wooden set? She approved so they bought it for twenty-five dollars. Now to find two great twin mattresses. The dad set up the first bunk with the older son’s mattress. He was away at college and wouldn’t miss it. The mom scoured the online ads and newspaper ads. One sold before she could get there to see it. She scoped out the thrift store selection every chance she had.

The little sister slept on the new bed but wasn’t happy with the borrowed mattress. Could they find something more comfortable? One night the mom prayed with her daughter about the mattresses. God could provide just what they needed for the right price. The next day the mom went to coffee with a friend. She told the friend about looking for a mattress. The friend had an extra mattress at home. Her brother moved out and bought a new bed. That was a quick answer to prayer.

Another half-price Saturday at the thrift store rolled around. The husband, wife, and younger daughter looked for a mattress. There was a set, including a Hollywood frame. They all tried it out and deemed it just right. Sold. They would have to buy the whole set and dispose of the box springs themselves. When the husband returned with the truck, the set was gone. The clerks didn’t think they had resold it. Someone must have walked out the front door with the mattresses. It was frustrating but they got their money back. The daughter was philosophical: There must be a reason. Maybe they’d find a better one. The mom resumed scanning the online ads: too far away, too old, and too expensive.

Meanwhile they picked up the mattress from their friend’s home. It was a comfy mattress in great shape. One down. One to go.

One day the youngest came home from second grade with news that her classmate had a new bed. Better yet, his mom said they were selling his old bed. She was willing to sell the mattress from the trundle bed separately. It was purchased at Costco three years ago and never used. How about thirty bucks? Done.

The family thanked God for His bountiful provision and slept happily ever after, last we heard.

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17 ESV

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bedtime Stories, Part One

Once upon a time there was a young couple with two little boys, a baby on the way, and no bed. They had no bed because they gave away most of their possessions when they went overseas for two years. They found a bed for sale but didn’t have a way to get it. An older gentleman from church loaded the bed in his pickup and they were very grateful, especially the very pregnant wife. (God bless you, Eldon Fix!)

The husband didn’t get the youth pastor job in Hood River, Oregon, so he made sandwiches and mowed lawns until he could find something else. When he was offered a job working for relatives, the husband loaded up the bed and everything else and moved his wife, two sons, and tiny baby daughter to Shelton, WA. They didn’t know that in the next few years the wife would spend weeks, sometimes months in bed. After many years of questions without answers, the mysterious recurring symptoms had a name: Multiple Sclerosis.

Meanwhile, the husband worked for the mail order business and part-time at their church, overseeing the small group ministry and later as children’s pastor. When the wife’s health kept her from being able to care for the children, the husband reduced his work load so he could care for the children and his wife. In time, the couple qualified for a self-help building program and the husband put in 30 hours a week building their new home, along with seven other homes. His dad traveled from Oregon every other weekend to contribute hours. After nine months of sweat equity, the family loaded up the bed and all their stuff and moved into their brand new home with wheelchair ramp and glorious gas heat.

By now the queen-size bed showed its age. The husband built a new headboard and the wife dreamed of a new mattress. They didn’t have the money but the wife kept praying. Just before Christmas a delivery truck showed up with a new mattress set purchased by an anonymous donor.

Good-bye poking springs, hello comfortable bed!

To be continued.

when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I will sing for joy.
Psalm 63:6-7 ESV

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Test Delay and Test Hooray

Today was supposed to be the big test day. MRI for Mom and driver's test for my son. My MRI is on hold for two days. I was all set to go until my seven-year-old got sick in the night. I'm glad she didn't get sick at school while I was gone. That would have been hard on her dad, who is also her teacher. What would he do with the 19 other second graders? Mental note: have back-up plan and back-up to the back-up plan. Meanwhile, my second son has been waiting for this day. Between budget and time constraints, he didn't take driver's ed as required in our state. He just turned 18 and can take his driver's test. Will he pass on the first try? And who knew he would have not one, but two evaluators in the car with him? Nice touch, cleaning out the car and vacuuming just before the test, Danny! Yes! He has his license! No more entourage to take sixteen-year-old sister to soccer practice: one to drive with permit, one adult licensed 5 years or more in the front seat (who isn't driving because of health issues), one little sister who can't stay home by herself, and the soccer player. Need milk? Send Danny. He can do that. By himself. Another mental note: call car insurance tomorrow. It's worth every penny!

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 ESV

Monday, October 08, 2007

Plea for Grace

I think I have this one down. I’ve been to church, Sunday school, vacation Bible school, Bible camp, and at least one seminary class. Grace is what we don’t deserve and mercy is not getting what we do deserve. So why are there different translations for Psalm 86:6? Is it “…listen to my plea for grace” (ESV) or “listen to my plea for mercy” (NIV)? King James (old and new) has it: “attend to the voice of my supplications.” I want to believe what the Lord told Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). I’m tired of the physical weakness. And I don’t like the emotional strain that goes with it. Bring on God’s grace.

Give ear, O LORD, to my prayer; listen to my plea for grace. In the day of my trouble I call upon you, for you answer me. There is none like you among the gods, O Lord, nor are there any works like yours. All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God. Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name. Psalm 86:6-11 ESV

Sunday, October 07, 2007

This is Only a Test

Here we go again. I am getting ready to take off my wedding ring, nose ring, just kidding! my watch, and put on clothes without zippers or metal hooks for my 4th brain MRI in 19 years. The first two did not show brain tumors or lesions. A neurologist finally gave me a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis based on my symptoms. My current neurologist wanted to confirm the diagnosis and so I had my third MRI three years ago. And a spinal tap thrown in for good measure. I didn’t know how to feel when lesions showed up. I bounced back and my health was steady for the last three years. Now I am having trouble walking, talking, and seeing clearly. Tuesday’s MRI of my brain and neck will show if I have new lesions. And if so, will I consider going on MS drugs to reduce the number of attacks, known as exacerbations? One step at a time. I pray for God’s leading and direction. I’m glad I’m not claustrophobic. I’m not looking forward to another MRI, but it's better than a spinal tap and a three week spinal headache.

But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God
will hear me. Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in
darkness, the LORD will be a light to me.
Micah 7:7-8 ESV

Saturday, October 06, 2007

One Down One to Go

You win some. You lose some. The quest for two twin mattresses for the girls continues. I talked to a woman who had one for sale but someone bought it before I could get there to see it. Today is the first Saturday of the month which means everything is 50% off at our local thrift store. We found a comfy twin mattress set and hollywood frame. Bingo. It passed the sniff and stretch out test. We'll take it. But when my husband returned with the truck, it was gone! How do you shoplift a twin mattress and box spring? We got our twenty bucks back and our seven-year-old was philosophic. "There must be a reason. Maybe we'll find a better one." My sentiments exactly. Meanwhile, friends had a twin matttress they didn't need. We picked it up and it's great. One down. One to go.

As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. 1 Timothy 6:17 ESV

Friday, October 05, 2007

Don't Hold Back

I didn’t hold back this time. I told the woman on the phone exactly what I thought. I was calling about an online ad for a twin mattress. It sounded great: “Good condition. From non-smoking clean home. We bought a full size bed for our teenage daughter.” We’re doing the reverse--my teenage daughter and her little sister are trading in their full-size bed for twin bunk beds. And this is where I shared my heart. I couldn’t commit to buying it sight unseen. But I trust that if someone else shows up with fifty bucks and buys it before I can, God will provide just what we need at the right time. He can do that.

I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation. Psalm 40:10 ESV

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Redeem the Time

I cannot live down my reputation with my in-laws. They won’t let me forget how I would go out to the car and wait for my husband when it was time to go. I haven’t done that for twenty years, have I? But I don’t mess around. When I eat, I eat. I don’t talk. So what am I supposed to do on a short leash? I am not driving until my vision is better and I can walk a straight line. I wish I had more energy to tackle home organization projects. So how can I redeem the time? I help with the household chores as I can. I am asking God to show me how to make good use of my time and energy. I can turn off the tv and listen to inspiring messages or sermons. I can read cookbooks and plan menus. I can pray for friends and family. With God's help, I can wait patiently.

waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:13-14 ESV

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Wag On, Bark Off

I don’t believe everything I read. But sometimes there is truth in offbeat bumper stickers. It took me a minute to get it, but I think I like it. “Wag more, bark less.” I need to be more like our golden retriever and less like our aging (read: cranky) border collie/lab. I can look for the good in others, overlook minor annoyances, and be more patient when my tail gets stepped on. With God’s help, I can do that.

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-15 ESV

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Pray Through

Mama said there would be days like this. Actually the Psalmist had a few, not to mention the prophets. And listen to the Apostle Paul: "I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment" (1 Corinthians 1:10 ESV). Conflict happens. I hate it. Can't we all just get along? And then I let the parties keep working it out. Meanwhile I pray and pray. At the end of the day I thank God for His grace because all is quiet on the western front.

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 ESV

Monday, October 01, 2007

Scenic Route

I’m glad that I can still find my way back to where I started. This morning I was talking to my friend over coffee about how I study the Bible. There’s the daily routine of praying the 31 Virtues for my children and reading and praying through the first half of Colossians. Then there’s the reading through the Bible in a year (or longer this time). I’ve camped in Psalms for too long, but that’s okay. I started to tell her about my word search jaunts. Right now I’m thinking about finding all the references for “prospers.” I like the site for that kind of study. And have you heard of Randy Alcorn? I love his book about heaven. He has quite a testimony too. I just listened to his message on the Desiring God website about Today's Decisions Determine Who You'll Be Tomorrow. Now where was I? Oh yes. Prospers. Randy Alcorn was talking about Psalm 1 and the man or woman who meditates on God’s word day and night. “…in all that he does, he prospers.” Phew, I almost lost my trail of thought.

but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. Psalm 1:2-3 ESV