Friday, November 30, 2007

Weather Forecast

I predicted winds of change by now. Sustained gusts of energy. Instead there are only occasional flurries of activity. Go to church one day. Rest the next. Throw dinner in the crock pot, bake some muffins, and call it a day. Experienced lows today. Patches of dizziness. Better hunker down. It might be a long winter. I can focus on the second part of Colossians 1:10. I will minor on bearing fruit in good works and major in increasing in the knowledge of God. Time for more Mary, less Martha.

And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:39-42 ESV

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Sugar and Spice

My friend came to clean my kitchen today. Am I blessed or what? I woke up from my nap to a sparkling and spotless kitchen. But good thing she left one pot untouched. She didn't clean out the sugar and spice syrup sitting on the stove. It was for my spicy Sailor Jack muffins. So after I baked and glazed them, my daughter drove me to deliver a plate to my friend. It's the least I can do. And I discovered that it is not as easy to be a food photographer as the websites and blogs would make it seem.
Sailor Jacks recipe (Adapted from TheRecipeWorks.com)
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons plus 2 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon cloves
(I add 2 teaspoons ground coriander)
2 1/2 cups water, divided
3/4 to 1 cup raisins (I skip this)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups cake flour (I use whole wheat flour)
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 2/3 cups vegetable oil
3 tablespoons honey

Mix together in a large saucepan, sugar, cinnamon, salt nutmeg, allspice and
cloves. Add 2 cups of the water and raisins. Bring mixture to a slow boil over
low heat. Remove from heat and let stand overnight. (In the morning, it will
look like thick slime.)

The second day, mix together flours, baking soda and baking powder. Add oil,
remaining 1/2 cup water and honey to the sugar syrup and mix well. Combine this mixture with the flour mixture and mix well. (Do not be afraid to overbeat this.)

Grease muffin tins with shortening and dust with flour. (I only use spray oil.) Fill cups no more than 3/4 full with batter. Bake in 375 degree F oven until muffins test done, 20 to
25 minutes.

Remove from pans while still hot; place on cooling rack. Dip tops in a thin glaze of sifted powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Cool. Enjoy! And don't forget to share with your friends.

Makes 2 1/2 dozen muffins.
http://www.therecipeworks.com/archives/s/sailor-jacks/

You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God. For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God. 2 Corinthians 9:11-12 ESV

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Unsolved Mystery

I'm not on the roads enough to add to my virtual collection of interesting custom license plates. By interesting, I mean more than the owner's name or make/model of car. My family is glad I haven't had the opportunity or nerve to ask owners what their license plates mean. For example, what are the 9HABITS? And is YESDEAR sarcastic or genuine affability? And could someone please help me dicipher this one? Some time ago I spotted a white car in our town bearing the plate: XMASKIW. (I don't know if that is a one or letter I.) Is it Christmas something, a former something (ex) or none of the above? In case anyone wonders, if I could pick a custom plate, it would say: GOWITH. And that means, "Go with God."

The purpose in a man's heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. Proverbs 20:5 ESV

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Help My Unbelief

I wonder what the disciples are saying in Heaven. "I can't believe we didn't get it back then." And, "Oh man, why does it have to be in print for everyone to read about for centuries?" Last week I faced something I couldn't overcome by sheer willpower alone. I went to the gospels to find where the disciples failed to heal the demon-possessed boy. The boy's father had his doubts. He told Jesus "if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us out" (Mark 9:22). "And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" And he said to them, "This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer."" (Mark 9:28-29).

I do not doubt that God can help me overcome my fear of needles and give myself a shot. But I don't know how long it will take. I let my friend give me a shot today. I will try again next week.

Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, "I believe; help my unbelief!" Mark 9:24 ESV

Monday, November 26, 2007

Group Therapy

It was just what the doctor ordered. The Great Physician, that is (Luke 5:31). It was healing to rejoin our Sunday school class yesterday. It wasn't my intent to neglect meeting together for three months (Hebrews 10:25). I haven't had the energy to leave the house and be out in public. I've missed the Bible teaching and fellowship. I was encouraged by the prayers of my friends. Hugs and hand-shakes too. And I have some nurse-friends ready to help me learn how to give myself shots. Tomorrow.

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. James 5:14-15 ESV

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Parting Shot

Every year it gets harder. And I thought it was difficult when they were little and squirmy. Our oldest was home for the weekend so this was the time for the family photo op. We should have done it on Thanksgiving but who wants to stop eating and say cheese? Today I made it to church for the first time in three months so all six of us were in one place. I had the camera but who can take the picture? How about just the four kids? Our worship pastor walked by and offered to take a picture of the whole family. We arranged ourselves and were ready. Click. And then the batteries died so we couldn't see what we had taken. And it's not half bad. Now we can work on our annual Christmas letter.

with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:2-3 ESV

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Out of the Fray

I am going to sit this one out. I do not want to get swept along with the crowds and enter the buying frenzy. And it's not just the, "so-and-so would love this for Christmas" temptation. As I watched a television ad I found myself thinking I wouldn't mind a pair of diamond earrings. Huh? Where did that come from? What's the alternative to shop 'til you drop and spend money you don't have? I don't think I can muster up enough energy to make gifts for family and friends. Maybe I can shop at home. I can start with my book collection. I have some other ideas that I'll keep under my hat for now.

Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God. Hebrews 13:16 ESV

Friday, November 23, 2007

Good Dog

She was probably the runt of the litter. One rainy day my husband and I followed a newspaper ad to a Christmas tree farm in our small town. Thirteen years ago my husband picked up a black furry ball and that was that. She wasn't big on playing catch, but loved swimming after ducks. We still laugh about my brother-in-law's shock when our dog came out of the lake. He discovered that our dog had the body of a black lab but the short legs of a border collie. Cinder adjusted to life in the city. Housebuilders down the street shared donuts with her and our neighbors saved barbecue ribs for her. She put up with the various dogs we have dog-sat or adopted. Who can forget the sight of Toby dragging her around by her tail? Cinder didn't ask for much but gave a lot. She liked to "talk" to us. She was a faithful companion and watch dog until she got sick this week. And then last night she died in her sleep. We will miss her.

And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds--livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so. And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. Genesis 1:24-25 ESV

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Great is the Lord

My son and I chatted while I peeled apples for pie. He asked, "Mom, what makes you happy?" Good question. Relationships, like family, are at the top of the list. It makes me happy to have all four children under one roof for the weekend. And it's great to have my parents, in-laws, and two of my husband's siblings and children here to eat turkey with us today. But my happiness doesn't depend on others. I put my faith in "God who richly provides us with everything to enjoy" (1 Timothy 6:17). I am blessed, and happy to boot.

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, "Great is the LORD!" Psalm 40:16 ESV

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Come Clean

Our son is home from college for the weekend. On the way home I warned him that our house doesn't always look like this. Our house is tidy AND clean! Some moms from the Christian School where my husband teaches are taking turns cleaning our house. They bless my socks off--and sort them too.

Son, while you were gone your dad has been busy. The dining room is a new color. No more dated stripey wallpaper. What do you think of burnt yellow? Take your time, you might need to get used to it. We're going for a clean modern look. The main bathroom is a work in progress. The wallpaper (same stripes) is gone. Enjoy the eggplant walls this weekend because they will be painted over soon. Did you notice something different about the living room? It is more open because we moved the big desk and computer out. You'll find the desk in your sisters' room and the computer in the office. Your room is looking good. Your brother worked hard to organize and display his sculptures and leave yours on the other side of the room. Your bed is cleaned off with fresh sheets. Welcome home!

Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Romans 12:13 ESV

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stuck

I told myself that it was for my own good. I took some deep breaths. I practiced my technique on an orange. I counted to three to no avail. I prayed that God would help me do what I couldn't. And in the end my mother-in-law had to give me a shot in the thigh. So much for my training on how to give myself weekly injections. The nurse was great. She was calm and patient, even when I bumped into the three hour deadline. The good news is that I've made progress with my fear of needles. I stared at that needle and didn't come close to passing out. I just couldn't stick it to myself. I only had 1/4 of a dose today. Next week I take half. I haven't felt any flu-like side effects other than being tired and worn out. Next week I better do it in the first 5 minutes or it's not going to happen. I will get some prayer support because I'm going to need it.

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, November 19, 2007

Go Figure

Read any Berenstain Bear books lately? There are some good lessons in the children's books if you overlook the dad-doesn't-have-a-clue theme. I am on my second go-around with Stan and Jan's (hey, maybe that's why they like rhyme so much!) books. That's what happens when you have nine years between your third child and your fourth child. In "The Trouble with Money" we find out that Papa Bear only uses figures of speech when he is upset. "You must think money grows on trees!"

The Bible is a treasure chest of figures of speech. They help paint pictures. For example, "Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings," (Psalm 17:8). What is white as snow? "Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool" (Isaiah 1:18). And I'm thankful for the sweet honey of God's word that is "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 3:17).

How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103 ESV

Sunday, November 18, 2007

That's Better

I can sleep better. I don't have to worry about an earthquake toppling a mountain of books on my head. I finally cleaned off the bookshelf by my bed. Sometimes you need to pull everything out and see what's what. Where did all these books and papers come from? A library book sale here, a thrift store there, and a couple books purchased online. How many journals have I scribbled in over the years? I am pruning my save and file categories for loose papers. Finally. Do I really need this? Will I refer to this again? Will I miss it if I don't keep it? Today was one small step in the right direction. It's a start.

My son, beware of anything beyond these. Of making many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Ecclesiastes 12:12 ESV

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Come Back

Where did she go? And more importantly, is she coming back? I know a mom who did projects with her kids at Christmas time. There was the year they made chocolate-covered pretzels, don't forget the sprinkles. They put them in glass jars with spray painted lids and gave them to friends and family. One year it was painted wooden ornaments. I think they were hearts with words like love, joy, and peace on them. Then the kids had fun painting the puffy heart ornaments made out of paper mache. The mom must have had a thing for hearts. Once the mom sewed fabric gift bags for her children and their cousins. I don't remember what she put in them. She enjoyed making Christmas special for her kids and the neighborhood children. They hand-delivered invitations to all the families in their neighborhood and hosted a "Happy Birthday Jesus" party several years in a row. I know this because I am that mom. At least I used to be. I think it's time for a family meeting to find out what the children, who are older now, want to do. What can we do to make Christmas meaningful with my low-energy and our limited budget?

She opens her hand to the poor and reaches out her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet. Proverbs 31:20-21 ESV

Friday, November 16, 2007

Sign Me Up

Occasionally I sign up for drawings and door prizes, not expecting to win. But you never know! I'm still waiting to cash in at Grocery Outlet. I could win the amount saved on my receipt, a $100 gift certificate to the restaurant of my choice, baseball tickets, or whatever. My parents and my husband tell me I'm a winner, but I don't win much. Maybe I should have my youngest try--she won a beautiful bicycle at a Christmas event one year. But she's not 18 yet. Today I got the email about results from one of my favorite blog's monthly giveaways. I wasn't holding my breath because I didn't put the word out and get extra entries for referring people. I endorse Tim Challies' blog wholeheartedly, by the way. But at the bottom of email, who's that in first place? That's my name! That's me! I won! I am excited about the ESV Bible on CD as narrated by Max McLean with his rich, melodious voice. Today he read Proverbs 16 to me, and anyone else who wants to listen to the Proverbs chapter of the day. And I get a 9 CD set of narrated Christian classics, such as Edwards’ “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” Martin Luther’s “Here I Stand,” and Bunyan’s “The Pilgrims Progress.” I wonder what December's giveaway is. Sign me up!

so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 ESV

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Good and Then Some

Sometimes things don't come out quite right. I ran into a friend at the library and was talking about my driver--that would be my 16-year-old daughter. I said that I never thought I would be the one teaching my children to drive. When my oldest was learning to drive, my husband was going to school for his Master's degree. That was a busy time. Then I did a fair share of the driving with my second son. Now it's my daughter's turn. It works out well since I am not driving much. She has good car handling skills and gets an A plus for receiving input. Anyway, I said that I have survived two children learning to drive and am on my third. I followed that with, "God is good." Yes, God is good. But He is not good because things work out okay. God is always good, no matter what. What I mean to say is that I am thankful for God's good hand on my life.

and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king's forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy." And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me. Nehemiah 2:8 ESV

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

One Year

They say take it one day at a time. Yep. I jumped in and learned how to dog paddle. Reflect on your life, interact with Scripture, write, rewrite, pare it down to something pithy, post online, and eventually you have one year under your blog. I'm still working on technique and there's plenty of room for improvement. I'm going to streamline my labels and use them consistently. Add more photos. I dream of working ahead so it's not a mad dash to beat the stroke of midnight. And keep praying for God to work in and through me. I can do that.

Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. Philippians 4:14 ESV

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Get Glad

My middle name is Pollyanna. Not really, but I do like the Disney film starring Hayley Mills. I often play the Glad Game and try to find something to be thankful for even when things don't go as planned. I am thankful that today is the first sick day my husband has taken since he started student teaching, subbing, and teaching over three years ago. That's an amazing record. His fever has subsided and now he has to regain his strength. We trust that one more day at home will be all he needs. I am thankful that I was able to drive today for the second time in two months and take my youngest to the doctor for her persistant cough. Her lungs are fine and she can return to school tomorrow. And I'm glad I don't have to find a reason to be glad I can't find my son's test scores. The state's office of public instruction unearthed a copy of his scores so my son can graduate from high school without retaking the test.

give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV

Monday, November 12, 2007

Surrounded by Heroes

My grandfather is a good sport. I don't know how many times he visited my classes when I was a school girl to talk about his experiences as a World War 2 vet. I am proud of him and his service to our country. And I'm glad he came back safely. Today I'm thinking about veterans, past and present. I appreciate what my husband's classmate, Leslie Gould, writes on her blog about her veteran dad and husband. Follow the links for some interesting newspaper articles and practical ways to support our military personnel and families. It's not just the veterans who make sacrifices. It's the spouses, children, and parents. I am inspired by my grandmother's strength and my aunt and uncle's faithful prayers for my cousins in Afghanistan and Iraq. May God bless our veterans and the families of those who serve!

http://lesliegould.typepad.com/leslie_gould/2007/11/veterans-day-1.html
http://lesliegould.typepad.com/leslie_gould/2007/11/veterans-day-2.html
http://lesliegould.typepad.com/leslie_gould/2007/11/veterans-day-3.html

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 ESV

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Strength and Dignity

I don't understand God's economy. Some women don't have mothers. I have been blessed with a godly mother, grandmothers, and a great-grandmother who have been involved in my life. I have a mother-in-law that is one of my best friends. And that's not all. In college I boarded with a family. The mom adopted an awkward 18-year-old and helped her adjust to life in the United States. Who took me to get my wisdom teeth out and made me peach jello? Who helped with my wedding? Who welcomed me and my family when we needed a place to stay? Later I stayed with them while undergoing plasma infusions for my MS. I have seen how a woman blesses her own husband and family, takes care of aging parents, provides respite care for children with special needs, serves at church, and opens her home to young people and missionaries who need a place to stay. Today Ruth Perkins turns 70 years old. Happy Birthday, Ruth!

Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. 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: "Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all." Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Proverbs 31:25-30 ESV

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Enough Already

I am an organized person trapped in the body of an disorganized person. It would help if I didn't love books and useful information (also known as pieces of paper with words on them) so much. I can't blame my piles on four children or even my health challenges. I brought stacks of papers into our marriage when I was young and energetic.

No more "I'll do it later." Dive in to the decision-making process. Seize what is worth keeping. File so we can access it again. Learn how to sort, toss, file, and maintain. Trim, okay, slash my collection of books. Take my filing system past being faithful in a few categories. I can find my organized self. And maybe in the process I'll find that elusive piece of paper my son needs. He needs proof that he passed our state's assessment of student learning so he can graduate from high school. I didn't know that we had the only copy of his scores. And second, I don't know how it missed going in the active file with his name on it. With God's help, I can get it together.

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

Friday, November 09, 2007

Confusion Say

You'll have to forgive me if my brain is a little fried. I've been on the phone all morning. I regularly help my Chinese neighbor sort out insurance, medical bills, and anything else that comes up. I don't blame her for needing help. I am a college-educated native English speaker and even I have trouble decoding paperwork and navigating automated phone recordings. I had a few calls of my own to make. I am coordinating insurance coverage, delivery of my new MS medication, and the training of how to give myself shots. Good thing my speech is clearing up. I had to read a lot of account numbers and recite my birthdate and address multiple times. One of the calls was regarding my hunt for my son's test scores from when he was a sophomore in high school. He needs proof he passed so he can graduate next spring. He went off the grid when he attended a private school that year but took the test at our local high school. No one has a copy of the scores, including his mother who usually files such things. Meanwhile, the lady today was very helpful. Here's the part where my brain fried. I got his birthdate right, even though I have three children with September birthdays. But I couldn't think of my son's middle name. Sorry, Son. But I recovered. And she helped me figure out what year he took the test if he is a senior this year and took it as a sophomore. I'm so confused! Her gentle spirit and kind words made my day. And then I was online reading a newspaper article and the site wanted my zip code and year of birth. Okay, I don't care if they know. But at the last minute I said I was male. Oops.

Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. Proverbs 12:25 ESV

Thursday, November 08, 2007

No News is No News

I have a few catch phrases in my bag. Some are more helpful than others. What benefit comes from saying, "When it rains, it pours"? Operating on "No news is good news" works most of the time. I don't believe in borrowing trouble. But today I read a woman's blog that begs to differ. Debi, (Deborah Taylor-Hough), editor of Simple Times Newsletter and author of the 'Frozen Asset' series and more, says:

And on a side note, I hear a lot of people say when they haven’t heard from someone who’s going through a crisis, “No news is good news.”

But I don’t believe that’s necessarily true. Sometimes the situation is so bad and so overwhelming that people can’t even put into words what they’re experiencing. I know there have been days when just taking a few minutes to pick up the phone to call a friend or drop an email to someone who cares was way too much work for me to handle.

So please don’t assume “no news is good news” in the lives of your friends, family, church members, neighbors, etc. Rather, assume your Loved One needs you to be the one to make the first move to check on them. Whether they’re in desperate need or not, they’ll still appreciate hearing from you, either way.

Granted, she's talking about people in crisis. And she should know. You can read her story at: http://dsimple.wordpress.com/where-things-stand-today/. But I hear what she's saying. People don't always want to ask for help. I know I don't. I never would have asked for help with the housework. Some friends from the Christian school where my husband teaches organized a clean team to take turns coming once a week. They have blessed me and my family with their labors of love. And I have appreciated the cards and the "thinking of you" emails. I can do a better job of reaching out when God puts someone on my heart. I can do that.

Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2 ESV

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Now What?

I am on the up-swing. I have a bounce in my baby steps towards being up and around. I felt perky today so I let my daughter park across the parking lot from my husband's classroom and went in to fetch my 2nd grader. Uh-oh, I'm not as nimble on my feet as I thought. And if I can't walk a straight line, maybe it's just as well I'm not driving yet. But it's time to start thinking about "Now what?" If I regain my strength and can resume a so-called normal life, what does that mean? For my life is not my own. God has a plan for me. Why else would I have the love and prayers of so many friends and family? I am listening, Lord.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14 ESV

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Hold Up

I don't want to over-analyze, but I believe things happen for a reason. We don't always know the reason. In fact we usually don't. We will never know what didn't happen last weekend. We were supposed to travel to Oregon for family weekend at our son's college. I was going to stay home but the rest of the family was all set. Two people got sick in the night before they left. That was a clear signal they were meant to stay home and off the roads. And so they did. My dad was supposed to have routine surgery today. He arrived early in the morning and was good to go. But not so fast. One doctor was concerned about his heart medications and called off the surgery. After some consultations my dad is going to have a laser procedure tomorrow instead. It doesn't help to wonder why. I just thank God for His good hand on our lives.

Your way was through the sea, your path through the great waters; yet your footprints were unseen. Psalm 77:19 ESV

Monday, November 05, 2007

Good Sign

I think I am regaining some energy and strength. My daughter took me to the grocery store today. I let another woman take the last motorized cart. I am still using my cane. It feels good to select my own groceries and dream of what I might cook and bake. I bought some apples and hope to bake pie soon. If I run out of steam I can make apple crisp. I bought some cabbage for stir fry. It's been a while since I was up to slicing, dicing, and doing the stand by your pan thing. The stir fry chicken with cabbage and carrots (and half an onion finely chopped) was well-received. One reason I think I am feeling better is because I can walk AND talk. I might even try driving one of these days. It's been over two months since I drove. I haven't missed it except for the day that my teens rode the inter-city transit bus from the community college and I couldn't come pick them up. They had to walk over two miles uphill with heavy backpacks. At least it wasn't snowing. And now I can think about cashing in some rain checks. A couple friends have invited me to coffee when I feel up to it. Maybe soon.

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

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Nailed

Sometimes I find nails or screws in my husband's work pants. And then when I check the laundry before it goes in the wash, it might be my pockets that contain all the loose coins, nails, screws, rocks, and bobby pins confiscated from other pockets. On his blog, The Blazing Center, Stephen Altrogge talks about carrying nails around in his pocket. He says:

I say the phrase "Jesus died for my sins," all the time. This is true, Christ died for all my sins. But I often forget that Christ died for very specific sins. Christ died for the arrogance and disrespect I showed my parents while growing up. He died for the fear of man that kept me from sharing the gospel with a friend. He died for the pride that kept me from listening to the wisdom of the other men on staff at the church. Jesus was crushed for the ungodly things I watched on television during my teenage years. Each of these sins was a nail in the hand of Christ, pinning Him to the cross. I carry the very nails of Christ in my pocket.

Isaiah 53:5 puts it this way, "But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed." Aren't you grateful that Christ was wounded for your transgressions? Aren't you thankful that each one of your many sins has been forgiven? Ponder your past for a moment and remember some of the specific sins that you committed. Christ died for each one of those sins. Can you hear the nails rattling around in your pockets?

I don't want to forget what Jesus did for me. I can confess and clean out my pockets every day.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 ESV

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Maiden Voyage

My daughter was scared. And I'm glad. Relieved actually. You should be scared to drive on the roads for the first time. My daughter has her permit and it falls to me to be the designated adult licensed over five years. She's been going in circles successully but was it was time to leave the confines of our loop. And so we did. She did great. She stopped at stop signs, waited her turn, and stayed in her lane at all times. I did great too. I only hollered a couple times. I've lived through two children learning to drive. I can do it again.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 ESV

Friday, November 02, 2007

Mix it Up

You win some, lose some, and some are a toss up. I'm trying to find some new recipes to please this crowd. The turkey meatloaf would have gone over better if the onion was more finely chopped. Then there was the tamale pie with ground turkey, tomato sauce, corn, and corn bread topping. It might have stood a chance with the under 40 crowd if I hadn't thrown those olives in at the last minute. But who could have predicted the lentil chili would be a hit with almost everyone? Even the leftovers were popular. Meanwhile everyone loves my old standby--creamed tuna on rice like my mom used to make. And they're even eating healthy brown rice without complaint. That's progress.

So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Stop Preaching

I need some fresh material. My children tell me I say the same things over and over. For example, I often point out that it only takes a minute to sort the laundry at the end of the hall before hauling it to the garage. When a commercial comes on for payday loans I warn about the high interest and how you can never catch up. Or as I wash up some dishes I mention how much easier it is when you deal with things right away. They've heard it all before. Many times. What hot new tips can I share? Or even better, how can I breathe life into some old advice? I can introduce a theme, like living out Psalm 1, and we can read the newspaper for examples of "walking in the counsel of the wicked, standing in the way of sinners, and sitting in the seat of scoffers." Stories stick better than sermons. I can work on that.

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. Psalm 1:1-2 ESV