Monday, December 31, 2007

More or Less

I love fresh starts. It's new year. I'm hoping for more. And less.
More walking, less sitting.
More space, less stuff.
More journaling, less scribbling on the back of envelopes.
More strength, less side effects.
More invited guests, less mice and fleas.
More filing, less piling.
More notes and cards, less good intentions.
More streamlining, less stockpiling.
And more of Jesus, less of me.

And I pray this, that your love may abound even more and more in knowledge and every kind of insight Philippians 1:9 NET

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Thanks for Asking

It's a simple question really. "How are you?" I don't know what to say. I am not snapping out of this MS episode like I thought I would. So I'm not better. But I've been worse. Twelve years ago I was in bed full-time, and I mean full-time. I did not set foot in my kitchen for three months. Today I can be up and around my house. I don't have much stamina for leaving the house. I am unsteady on my feet. I never know when my mouth will lock up and I can't get the words out. So, how am I? Just happy to be here. And taking it one day at a time.

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

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Just One Word

I'm big on recycling. Every new year I haul out the same list of resolutions. And it could be any one's: this is the year I'm going to exercise regularly, eat more fruit and veggies, take my vitamins every day, and so on.

But I have a new minimalist strategy. I have a one word focus for the year. In 2008 I want to be fruitful, as in "bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God" (Colossians 1:10). That means pruning unnecessary distractions and clutter from my life. I want to be free to create and serve. I can make good choices about what I eat so that I am in the best health possible. With God's help, I can be renewed for His purposes.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5 ESV

Friday, December 28, 2007

Round Table

I love my husband's Christmas present. He gave me a dining room table. It's a pedestal oak table with one leaf. It looks suspiciously like the sturdy table we've had for several years. In fact, it is the same table. He organized and cleared my books, papers, games, and other items taking up precious flat surface area. The idea was to move things out of the office so they could be sorted and dealt with. But life went on. We ate our meals on the counter like we always do. And the piles sat there. Driving me crazy. Hence this gift. I also appreciate what he didn't do. He didn't toss things wholesale without looking or asking. He didn't sigh or huff or roll his eyes. That's love. The best gift of all.

Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, Ephesians 5:25 ESV

Thursday, December 27, 2007

P with J

They say don't pray for patience. Or you'll really need it. That doesn't stop me. I know I need patience and I need God's help. I am so bold to ask God for patience with joy, just like the Apostle Paul prayed in Colossians 1:11: "May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy," (ESV). I like that, P with J. Not to be confused with the sandwiches I pack in my daughter's lunch: PB and J (peanut butter and jelly). So when one family member is not ready to leave and you will be late, patience with joy. Or this week, when the printer eats your mailing labels, patience with joy. May God richly bless me with P with J.

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, James 1:2 ESV

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Truck Stop

I was ready for the truck. Or the kick in the gut. I cleared the calendar and stayed home. Every other week my MS medication has knocked me flat. It starts with a headache an hour after my inter-muscular shot. A couple hours later, bam, I'm slammed! I do what they told me: pump fluids and take ibuprofen before and after the shot. Last week a heating pad on my back and a heated rice bag on my neck helped with the aches. This time I took a different pain reliever--Alleve. But then the truck never came. I had a headache but nothing else. I don't know if I am getting used to the medication or if God answered the prayers of the faithful who are praying for me. Either way, I am grateful.

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 12:9 ESV

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Like Being There

For the first time in our married life, we are spending Christmas apart. We always travel to Oregon to see my husband's family. This year we had transportation issues--how do you fit six people in a five-passenger car? I still don't have energy for going places. Plus Christmas falls on a Tuesday, which is now "shot day" in my week. I get a headache an hour after the shot and then aches and pains for the next 12 to 24 hours. I didn't want my children to miss spending time with their cousins and aunts and uncles. My husband reluctantly agreed to go without me. We never would have considered this if my parents weren't nearby.

I spent Christmas Day with my mom's family and now my parents are spending the night at my house. I am thankful for time with my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins. We sang Christmas hymns with beautiful harmonizing, just like when Great Grammy D. was with us. Even at 106 she could sing the hymns, first and last verses please. Tonight my son coached me how to use Skype to have an online live conversation, complete with video. Me in my PJs at home and them playing games in my brother-in-law's living room. I miss my family and they miss me. But we are celebrating Christmas together in spirit.

And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!" Luke 2:10-14 ESV

Monday, December 24, 2007

More Blessed

And to think I almost squelched that giving spirit. I told the family I didn't need to put my name in the hat for drawing names. I wasn't playing the martyr-I-don't-need-anything card. I wanted the children, ages 7 to 20 to focus on gifts for each other. But they wouldn't hear of it. We opened gifts tonight. How did my seven-year-old select the perfect gifts for me without spilling the beans? She was more excited about me opening my gifts than her own. I love the Pyrex glass one-cup pitcher. It's adorable and practical for cooking and baking. My 16-year-old daughter helped type up a recipe for banana bread to include with the "We bought it new, Mom" glass baking pan. And new purple socks? I love socks and never buy new ones for myself. Thanks! I'm so glad I let my daughter have the joy of giving. We were both blessed.

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

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Go Ahead

Feel free to jump in and complete my sentence. I'm still having trouble with my speech, three and a half months into this MS episode. I can be talking when suddenly there's a short between my brain and my mouth. I can't quite get the words out. If you know what I'm trying to say, go ahead. I am not offended. Really. And if you guess wrong, I'll let you know. But most of the time, friends are spot on.

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

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Cup of Heaven

I saw that coffee cup too. I didn't know what to think of that quote. But I never would have thought of sending the author a book about Heaven. But five people did. What happened next is interesting. You can find out on Randy Alcorn's blog. Follow his link to the LA Times article part-way through his story. I need to reread Randy Alcorn's book about Heaven. In the meantime, I want to get to know the One I will be spending eternity with. I pray my friends will join me.

http://randyalcorn.blogspot.com/2007/12/joel-stein-starbucks-and-heaven.html

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-stein21dec21,0,7680698.column?track=rss

"Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. John 14:1-3 ESV

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thanks, I Needed That

I never know how or when. But God always provides just what we need. I used up the last egg the other day. And I like to keep them on hand. You never know when you need to fix a quick breakfast or lunch and scrambled eggs on toasted English muffins are good to go. Add some cheese and ham if you can. A friend stopped by with some food they didn't need. How about a dozen eggs? Perfect. Our supplies have been a little low because I haven't had the time or energy to make a list and do the grocery shopping. We've all been busy but we're getting by. My son complained that we had plenty of salsa but no chips. But then my parents stopped by and what did they bring? A five-pound (!) bag of tortilla chips. My mom told me she had been watching for turkeys on sale without success. No problem, my friend just blessed us with a 20-pound turkey. That should be perfect for our Christmas Eve dinner.

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

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Family Christmas

At first we were annoyed. Then year after year it became a family joke. It didn't matter when we tried to have our own family Christmas time to open gifts, someone would show up. And we were flexible! We were willing to open gifts Christmas Eve, Christmas morning, or even two days early. But what I remember about my childhood in Taiwan as a missionary kid, was that sharing the good news of Jesus' birth trumped our honored family traditions. First things first. And my parents did make Christmas special for my two sisters and me, even when we were busy with guests, church programs, and big Christmas rallies. Too bad I missed the rally where my dad dressed up as Santa and joined other churches for the big city-wide rally in Taipei. I don't know when my mom found time to shop and wrap all those gifts for our stockings. I appreciate her getting up early or staying up late to make cinnamon rolls, year after year. We'll be celebrating Christmas together this year. If I give her some M and M candies, maybe she can make a Christmas tree of cinnamon rolls, for old times' sake.

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!" Romans 10:14-15 ESV

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Good and Plenty

Now which one should I choose? I feel like a kid in the candy store. I'll take some chewy pink and white black licorice Good and Plenty, thank you. Or do I feel like chocolate today? I've been sampling the music at the website, forevergratefulmusic.com with scripture memory songs by Mark Altrogge. I read his blog, The Blazing Center, that he writes with his son Stephen. He shares 16 reasons to memorize scripture. I know how much the Seeds children's cds have encouraged and challenged me. I'm ready for some new music with scripture to hide in my heart. I jumped in and ordered The Word of the Cross because it had some longer passages in the ESV version. But the more I sample, the more I wish I could buy. I'll have to put them on my wish list as money allows.

http://www.forevergratefulmusic.com/index.htm

Thus says the LORD: "Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD." Jeremiah 9:23-24 ESV

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

She Would if She Could

My second grader gave me permission to share her wish list for a class assignment . She said she would give me a wheelchair because I "can't walk very good." I actually have a wheelchair but it is heavy so we don't haul it out of the shed. I use store wheelchairs when I need to. My daughter pushed me around a store this weekend and it was a big help. She wishes she could give her 18-year-old brother a car because he wants one of his own. And an iPod. He will have to settle for being the family chauffeur for now. She would like to give her 16-year-old sister some earrings because "she doesn't have that many." Sounds like a realistic Christmas gift idea. And she would like to give her grandpa a hot tub because he's wanted one for a long time. He's on his own for that one. My daughter is only seven years old, but she is very perceptive and tender-hearted.

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" Luke 11:13 ESV

Monday, December 17, 2007

Wish List

No one said world peace. But one girl said she would give all her stuff to the people who lost everything in the recent floods. Today my husband's second graders wrote what gifts they wish they could give for Christmas. My husband thought about his dream list. At first he wished there was a cure for my Multiple Sclerosis. Then he thought about all the good things that have happened over the years as a result of my illness. During one of my down times, my parents returned to the United States. My dad ended up in the hospital needing quaduple bypass surgery--and wasn't out on a ship in the middle of the ocean as they had planned. When I was in bed full-time, my husband reduced his work hours so he could take care of me and our (then) three young children. That led to him being available to build our home as part of a self-help building program. I have learned to depend on God as my solid rock when everything around me is spinning, and so has my husband. And recently we have felt the outpouring of love and support of friends and family that we wouldn't experience in the same way if I was well. So what my husband wrote was: "I would give Mary the clean and organized house she wants because it would make her happy!" He knows me well. And I know he'll do everything he can to make that happen.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. Psalm 40:2 ESV

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Best Gift

We made a big deal of my oldest's first birthday. My grandparents made the drive to Oregon, my sister and her husband came straight from their honeymoon, and I made hundreds of frosting stars on the Winnie the Pooh cake. But what were my son's favorite gifts? The boxes that the presents came in. Empty boxes. I wonder if we are in danger of doing the same thing with Christmas. The family gets together, we have good food, and there are presents. But are we finding our joy in the wrappings, not in the real gift of Christmas? I don't want to lose sight of the most precious gift of all. Jesus.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ--by grace you have been saved-- and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, Ephesians 2:4-8 ESV

Saturday, December 15, 2007

About ALL

I like the speedy checkout line at our favorite grocery store. It says "About 12 items." Works for me. But what about a thrift store that has a sign outside reading, "ALL children's clothes $1.50" with the ALL in caps and underlined? I found a beautiful Christmas dress for my niece but the manager rang it up as $5.00. "That's too nice to sell for $1.50." I didn't purchase it and refrained from asking what the "all" on the sign meant. And I didn't bring up the 50% off Christmas items sale. How about we all say what we mean, mean what we say, and don't be mean? In fairness, I should add that the store includes sizes baby through 16 for children's clothes.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Colossians 4:6 ESV

Friday, December 14, 2007

Breakfast Date

I didn't remember until he reminded me. My dad reminisced with me about our breakfast date years ago. Oh, that father-daughter chat. I'm so glad my dad loved me enough to tell me the truth. He could not give his blessing or approval for my relationship with the man I was dating. It was hard to swallow, but I never doubted my dad's unconditional love for me. And of course he was right. I thank God for my earthly father's love and my Heavenly Father's protection.

Come, O children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Psalm 34:11 ESV

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Good Call

Sometimes the thing is not the thing. In other words, sometimes the reason I call someone ends up being not as important as the resulting conversation. Tonight I made some calls to see if I could improve upon my son's arrangements for getting home from college tomorrow. That didn't work out but I had some conversations with people I don't see very often. Several years ago I called a friend about going somewhere with me. She started crying and told me her husband had left her for someone else. She never would have called to tell me, but I'm thankful I called her and opened that door. Today I renewed some old friendships. I'm so glad I called.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways! Romans 11:33 ESV

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dear Son

Our oldest returns from college in a few days. I need to warn him about a few things.
Son,
The house might smell a little funny. The night that the county and surrounding counties flooded, we woke up to our own flood. The hall bathroom malfunctioned during the night and soaked the hall carpet. We cleaned up as best we could with towels and fans. If it smells like we own a cat, we don't. The odor should be better now that your dad ripped out the hall carpet in preparation for new flooring. You might want to wear slippers or shoes in the meantime. And then there was the mouse that invaded the kitchen and living room heating vent. Maybe we should get a cat. But your dad caught the varmit and we haven't heard any more scratching noises. The odor is dissipating. We thought our range (commonly referred to as the stove) was toast. We were going to scrape together some money and buy a used range (yes, another one!). But today I cranked up the stove, I mean range, and it's not too bad. Even your sister and brother, and you know what a sensitive nose he has, thought it was okay. The mousey smell is going away. We still have some traps set in the kitchen. That's why we barricade it at night. Just watch your step and you'll be fine. And don't tell him I told you, but your dad loves to pretend a trap got him. Makes me jump every time.
Welcome home, it's good to have you back.

I hope to see you soon, and we will talk face to face. 3 John 14

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Critique Group

Now I'm accountable to all of them. My youngest is seven and a good reader. She enjoyed reading some of our old Christmas newsletters today. "Did I really say that, Mom? That's embarrassing." I promised I would let her approve this year's letter before it goes to print. I better get back to work. I have a lot to do before it's ready for my staff of editors.

Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, "Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of his servant!" Then my tongue shall tell of your righteousness and of your praise all the day long. Psalm 35:27-28 ESV

Monday, December 10, 2007

Uninvited Guest

So, where are you going with all that insulation? We are in "not again!" despair. We replaced our gas range after the last mouse invasion. Replaced twice if you include the first used range that was weak sauce, to quote my husband. We can hear and smell the mouse under our kitchen cupboards and in the heating duct. It removed some insulation around our dishwasher. It came out to lick the peanut butter off the trap. Got a smart one, have we? My husband has just begun to fight. He is buying more traps at this very moment. I continue to pray for God's deliverance. And I am thanking God for the opportunity to demonstrate how to respond to life's frustrations.

Next morning update: Caught one in a snap trap! We don't know if there are more yet.

You are a hiding place for me; you preserve me from trouble; you surround me with shouts of deliverance. Selah Psalm 32:7 ESV

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas Past

A Visit from St. M. Sclerosis

copyright 1995 by Mary Lofthus

An Adaptation of A Visit from St. Nicholas by Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the day before diagnosis, when all through the house
Every creature was stirring, except for the spouse;
The clothes they were washed and all dried with care,
In hopes that help folding would soon be there;

The children all snuggled and crowded Mom's bed,
While visions of monkeys danced in her head;
And Mama in her nightgown
Wondered when her brain would settle down.

When neurologist number three
Couldn't say what the matter was with me;
Away to Portland, Oregon I sped
To see what a leading specialist** said.
(**Dr. Roy Swank)

This man who stays abreast and in the know
Checked my reflexes, poked my toe.
When what to my blurry eyes should appear,
But a diagnosis coming near.
With a history so plain, it's more than a guess;
I heard in a moment it must be St. MS.

More rapidly than previously the symptoms they came,
Don't whistle, don't shout. Here they are by name:
Now, Tired! now, Tingling! now, Dizzy! and Numb!
Double Vision! Weakness! and Stuttering some!
To the couch, to the bed!
Now knock it off, knock it off, knock it off head!

As dreams that before the dawn do fly,
Or when they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky,
So life can change courses, bidding adieu,
With a bag full of tricks--St. M. Sclerosis says, "How do you do?"

And then in a twinkling, I felt with a start
The darting and dancing of fears in my heart.
I kept my head and was asking around,
If help for St. M. Sclerosis could be found.

I was assailed at once from every side,
Costly drugs, magnets and bee stings, some have tried;
A bundle of tips, only some of them orthodox.
And I feel like Pandora just opening her box.

My doctor, he's researched MS four decades,
His diet and infusions deserve accolades!
This low-fat diet may hold off a disabling blow,
And when my energy gets low, I know where to go.

A snippet of light I hold tight in my heart,
While the prayers of the faithful do their part.
God gives me grace and plenty of tenacity
To keep me steady when my legs turn to jelly.

MS is hard--no jolly picnic;
Yet I can laugh, in spite of being sick.
A sense of humor and being creative
Soon gave me to know I lack nothing to LIVE.

God speaks through His Word working miracles in me.
And fills my heart with truth to set me free,
And I gladly lay down my empty dreams, Father,
And take up your gifts that are infinitely better!

I look to the day when we hear the trumpet blow,
And away fly the saints like many a sparrow;
And I hear Him exclaim, ere we cease to roam,
"Well done my good and faithful servant!
Welcome home!"

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11 ESV

Saturday, December 08, 2007

God Remembers

I can't remember the last time I felt teary reading a blog. But Mark Altrogge's post on the The Blazing Center got me. Check it out for yourself at:

http://blazingcenter.blogspot.com/2007/12/did-god-forget-my-mom.html

But God remembered Noah and all the beasts and all the livestock that were with him in the ark. And God made a wind blow over the earth, and the waters subsided. Genesis 8:1 ESV

Friday, December 07, 2007

Love Notes

I speak the love language of scissors and glue sticks. Give me some magazines, newspaper comic strips, and tattered children's books, and I can tell my husband how much I love and appreciate him. My husband is fluent in many languages. It was his faith and character that got my attention. Then he wooed me with kindness. He excels at acts of service, big and small, day in day out. He fills our home with happy songs and humor. My children are blessed. And so am I. Happy 22nd anniversary, Scot! I thank God for you every day.

For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might Ephesians 1:15-19 ESV

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Buried Treasure

It has to be here somewhere. Nope. We read the children's Advent story, Jotham's Journey by Arnold Ytreeide, to our three older children one Christmas. My husband might want to read it to his class of second graders. I hate to pay retail ($12.99), but I have a coupon for 25% off at the Christian bookstore. Not so fast. It's out of print. Okay, try online. What? Used copies are going for over 100 bucks? Or buy one now at ebay.com for $84.99 plus $9.05 shipping. My son can take me to the Goodwill. Nada. It's a long shot, but my friend can take me to our small local thrift store. Religious section. Zip. Christmas section. Zero. Children's section: scanning, scanning, scanning. I FOUND IT! It's mine for one dollar and fifty-nine cents. My son said I should sell it. No way. I would give it away or loan it out before I sold it. My husband probably doesn't have time to read it to his class but we should do it again as family. They tell me we never completed the book last time. Now I have all year to find the two sequels: Bartholomew's Passage and Tabitha's Travels.

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, December 05, 2007

How Many?

It sounds like a light bulb joke. How many people does it take to give a weekly shot? Start with one person who is trying to screw up the courage to give it to herself. Add one mother-in-law to give the first injection when the daughter-in-law can't do it after three hours of trying. Bring in one nurse friend to come give support and then do the second injection when the patient can't do it yet. And then on week three, that would be yesterday, one brave 16-year-old daughter does what her mother can't quite do. Don't forget the 18-year-old son who does the countdown from a respectable distance away. Plus there are many friends and family members praying for strength for all parties involved. In case you're wondering, my favorite light bulb joke is:

Q: How many jugglers does it take to change a light bulb?
A: One, but it takes at least three light bulbs.

Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 2 Corinthians 3:5 ESV

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Water, Water Everywhere

One day you're driving down the freeway, and the next you're stuck on one side or the other. My parents are in Portland, Oregon and can't return home to Washington until the water goes down, way down. Yesterday my teens couldn't attend college classes because a mudslide blocked the highway between our town and the next. Our county was hit with snow, then wind, warmer temps and record rain--a recipe for flooding and landslides. I am thankful for our home on higher ground. We only lost power for 7 hours. My heart goes out to the families who have lost homes and property--or more. Tonight I heard about a young man in our county who lost his life in a mudslide. I ask God to show us how to live each day to the fullest and bring grace and mercy to others in need.

Here's a slideshow of viewer photos on a local tv station's website:
http://www.kirotv.com/slideshow/weather/14757071/detail.html

Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit"-- yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that." James 4:13-15 ESV

Monday, December 03, 2007

Hold On

My friend thinks I have the ability to see the good in hard times. I have to work at it. In fact, I have to fight to hold on to what I know is true. And I won't let go until God blesses me.

And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob's hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, "Let me go, for the day has broken." But Jacob said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." Genesis 32:24-26 ESV

Sunday, December 02, 2007

What's Cooking

I love to play the WCIMWWIH game. That is: What Can I Make With What I Have? The other day I had a bag of Yukon gold potatoes left over from Thanksgiving and some pork chops in the freezer. I found a recipe online for crock pot pork chops. I substituted a can of low-fat cream of chicken soup for the mushroom or celery soup. It was easy and 4 out of 5 people liked it. No one noticed the thinly sliced onion, ha! It brings me great joy when my children play the game. Tonight my daughter found some frozen spaghetti sauce with ground turkey in the freezer in the garage. Cook noodles, use up frozen veggies in the freezer, toast up some English muffins from the bread drawer, and dinner is served. I had a jar of a friend's home-canned apples in the pantry. How about apple crisp for dessert? I found out my husband isn't crazy about the organic Raisin Bran cereal I bought on sale. And no, it was NOT from our local bargain store, family. Sounds like some bran muffins are in order this week. I'll have to call my mother-in-law for her recipe.

Remove far from me falsehood and lying; give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with the food that is needful for me, Proverbs 30:8 ESV

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Choose Better

I have a choice. If I'm low on energy and frustrated about that, I can make things better or worse. I can wallow in self pity, go off my diet, and get cranky. And what good is that? As Will Rogers is quoted as saying, "When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging." Enough of that. I apologized to my family and ask God for new resolve. Tomorrow is a new day.

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. Psalm 40:1-3 ESV.