Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Set My Course Upon the Stars

I have often commented to those in my peer/social group how as a child there were days that couldn’t seem to go by fast enough (typically the days before a holiday, Christmas, and/or a birthday), but as an adult the days -- the years -- just seem to go whizzing by.

Take today, for instance. I spent four hours at work before having a nice lunch out with my husband, after which we ran some errands and then headed home. Amazingly, two hours have gone by since then in which I’ve done some good things and some things that were, just, well, a real waste of time to be honest.


And I am a bit boggled to think another year is drawing to a close! It seems with each wedding anniversary, each birthday, each year, I marvel at the amount of time behind me. I look at where I am with things in life compared to my parents, my siblings, my friends and acquaintances. Sometimes I feel like I’m in the right spot, other times I feel like I’m off the mark by miles. But through it all, time keeps moving forward. There is no time machine or magic wand to allow me a trip back in time to correct my mistakes, take a different path, to speak up or quiet down.

And in every part of every day, there is God. Unchanging. All-knowing. Unfettered by the things which we mere mortals so often desire to change. He is absolutely unsurprised by anything I do. He knows me better than I know myself, and through it all His love remains steadfast and sure. God’s blessings are conditional, His love is not.

So as we all look ahead to 2009, I hope we all look to the Maker of the stars, to the Giver of every good gift, to the One who truly loves us warts and all and who loves us too much to leave us struggling with our own particular set of knots.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Best & the Beautiful*

Another year is drawing to a close, another birthday is almost upon me and once again I find myself in a reflective mood. What has been done this past year? What was good? What was bad? What needs to be tossed and what needs to be kept?

Now the above reflections seem innocent enough, but I have a tendency to focus on the negative and miss the good when it comes to what I’ve done with what God has given me. Crazy, I know, but it’s a mindset I’m learning to lay down and leave at the foot of the Cross.

What I’m finding tricky, I guess, is having an accurate view of myself. I don’t want to get bogged down by the negatives, but I don’t want to blind to them either because then how do I change them; or, more accurately, how can God change them?

Paul, as he so often does, has some good advice:

Summing it all up, friends, I'd say you'll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

~Philippians 4: 8-9 (The Message)

I’m not much of a gardener, but I do know if I’m focused solely on getting rid of the weeds the beautiful plants and flowers will eventually die from neglect. Also, if I make sure the ‘good’ plants are healthy and strong, the weeds will not have much of a chance to flourish. And to use the driving analogy again, where I want to go is where I need to focus. So yes, I’ll deal with the weeds. My focus, however, will be on the One Who, when I trust in Him, will guide my steps (see Proverbs 3: 5-8) because that is a true win-win-win** situation.

*I’m sensing a theme with the last few entries . . . how about you? ;-)
**A win for today, tomorrow, and eternity :-)

Friday, December 26, 2008

I Couldn't Have Said It Better

There are times when I read something and think I really couldn't have said it better myself. This is one of those times.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

Looking Forward, Looking Back

So I'm pretty much done with Christmas shopping (hubby and I have to decide for sure on a possible 'joint' gift for he and I) and am thankful the only store I was in today was Wal-Mart before it got crazy-busy. Other than that, my day consisted of breakfast out with my family, coffee and (almost forgot!) a trip to Ten Thousand Villages with my hubby and his mom; then at home it was to peruse some stuff on the 'Net while my cat decided to snuggle on my lap with a break taken to try and eat the zipper on my hoodie.

But I'm also finding myself in a contemplative mood as I think back over the year so far and some of the years before that, and try to look ahead to the year yet to be. What have I done? What was worthwhile? What needs to change? What gets built upon and what gets to be either abandoned or given a new foundation?

On "Canada's Worst Driver", one of the prevalent pieces of driving advice is to look where you want to go. So where am I looking? And do I really want to go there?

God tells us in His Word to not remember the things of old because He will do a new thing (Isaiah 43:18-19); He knows the plans He has for us -- for me -- to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11). These are good things to keep in mind as I contemplate and plan and prepare, because it won't just happen as I sit here, doing nothing. That, to me, is one of the things I find to be so amazing about God. He doesn't just program us all to do this 'n' that in a mindless manner; He wants us to be actively engaged and involved in things on this side of heaven to help us prepare for whatever lies on the other side with Him for eternity.

So look where you want to go. And don't miss the sign posts God has placed along the way.


Monday, November 24, 2008

No, Spell It Out. Please!

Just imagine it: You're running a very successful business with a multitude of employees and an enviable amount of assets. You have a nice house, a lovely wife. No children yet, but the years have stretched on far enough you don't really think about it too much anymore . . . compared to other years, anyway.

Then you are told to pack it all up. Gather up the staff, pack up the furniture and figure out how to move . . . somewhere. It hasn't all been spelled out yet. As in you've been told to move but with the seemingly key detail of 'where' being left out. Oh, and you'll have lots of descendants. Even though at the age of 75, you have yet to have any children at all.

Now the LORD said to Abram:
"Get out of your country,
From your family
and from your father's house,
To a land that I will show you.
I will make you a great nation . . ."
So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him . . .
Genesis 12: 1, 2a, 4a (NKJ)

Did you catch verse 4a? Did you, as I have at times, wondered if perhaps Abram had argued a little bit with God first? Maybe tried to wheedle the location out of Him beforehand?

But read it again: "So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him . . " No "What?" or "Are you sure?" or "Really?! Sure you don't mean Abe down the road?"; no, Abram packed everything up and eventually ended up in the land of Canaan and with a son whose name, Isaac, means 'laughter'. And he became a great nation.

So if Abram (later known as Abraham) can have such a trust in and a close walk with God that he could just pick up and go without it all being spelled out, why don't I basically do the same? I'm not without direction from God in my life if I really look at many of the things around me. Everything isn't all laid out in a clear, concise step-by-step plan is all.

I also have not been asked to pack up my work, my house and husband and leave all that is family and familiar and friendly for parts unknown. Not in the same sense as Abraham, anyway. But to stop the tangent before it gets out of control, why don't I go where God leads? Even when I can't see very far up the path?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Insert Insult of Choice [Here]

"Oh, but human beings
We all need to quit being inhumane."
-- Relient K's I Just Want You to Know


Sometimes as people we do some pretty crappy (Sorry -- no good words due to a lack of Pathwords playing! heehee) things to each other. Like taking credit for things we didn't do. Excluding people to make ourselves feel 'bigger' or 'better'. Name calling. Insults.




Oh, it's quite a long litany if one takes any sort of a look at the sad state of the human race! Even when it's not an election year! (I may be the only one who finds that funny.)

Thankfully, though, we don't have to rely on ourselves to see, listen to, and speak about the good things around us. We all have the choice as to whether or not we'll accept the amazingly free gift God has given to us through Jesus Christ -- eternal life spent with Him when we confess Jesus is our resurrected Saviour and Lord. And when we become Christians, Christ-followers, we are then given the gift of the Holy Spirit. He then enables us to live the Christian life. He is our Helper who speaks to us the things He hears from the Father. And that is pretty great when one thinks about it. God, giving us life and giving us all we need to live it for Him.

Will we lay hold of His provision? Or insist on muddling through it on our own?

Just a few things to ponder, along with why I watch what I do on TV.

But it's time to shut the thinker down and get some sleep. I don't need my furry alarm clock to poke me awake tomorrow morning. ^..^

Monday, October 20, 2008

Invisible Majority

Go into any place which sells magazines and you’ll be hit by a myriad of covers either proclaiming the latest celebrity news or featuring the newest/most popular celebrity’s face. It’s sort of crazy the amount of attention paid to and the interest in these people who are, basically, strangers to those outside their circle of friends, family and co-workers. And when you think about it, they really are the minority population-wise.

The majority of us, I’d wager, feel rather invisible in comparison. I know I do . . . and I don’t just mean compared to a celebrity. I mean in my circle of friends, family and co-workers. Yet the dichotomy I find in myself is I also don’t like to draw attention to myself or toot my own horn, if you prefer. I worry I’m being prideful or wrong or something . . . and I’m just not comfortable with it while at the same time I also want to hear I’m doing a good job or that I’m being a good person or that what I’m doing is seen and maybe even also appreciated.

It’s particularly hard when one feels that way within the body of Christ. And even as I type this, I know I’m bad for acknowledging those people around me who do the things I don’t see or see without really noticing it unless it’s not done. :P Then there’s the whole “But why am I doing this in the first place” musings which make us think we shouldn’t even be seeking any sort of recognition for what we’re doing. If we’re not careful, we’re soon stuck in a revolving door of recriminations and longing for acknowledgement.

As with many things in life, there is a balance, I think. I don’t think it’s wrong to want to hear you’re doing a good job or that you’re appreciated and what-not. But we can’t get so caught up in seeking or desiring the approval of others that we forget the One who we’re to be doing it all for in the first place -- God. We’re to do all things as unto the Lord and not man (Colossians 3:23, 24).

Sometimes I actually do remember this (though many times it’s easier said than done!). Now what do I do about the days when I don’t?

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Less Than I Was Meant to Be

And if I had to tell you the truth
I'm afraid I'd have to say
That after all I've done and failed to do
I feel like less than I was meant to be
-- “What Life Would be Like” by Big Daddy Weave

I don’t always handle criticism or stress or correction well, which is too bad as it seems to have been a year full of those things. From sickness to seemingly unanswered prayers (until one looks back, even a bit, and sees God’s provision) to questions about faith to job changes to just, well, life I find myself longing at times for something ordinary. Something right in the middle of my comfort zone, if you will.

I honestly thought I was praying with real, working faith for my husband during the ‘please get this checked out’ in October ’07 all the way through to the doctor’s blunt ‘it’s cancer’ in early March ‘08. Really, I thought I was. I thought I was thinking right, believing right, confessing right . . . doing what I needed to do so the hand of God would move, so His healing provision would be seen and manifested in my husband’s body. As I later called my family to tell them the news, I can still remember tearfully telling my mom as she encouraged me to pray and have faith “But I thought I did have faith.” Right then I wasn’t so sure. And there have been times since then where I wonder if I do or did or ever will. I don’t want to doubt. I don’t want to be faithless. But I struggle with knowing if I’m truly praying with a faith that is going to do something. How can I tell? How do I know before something ‘big’ happens?

My husband did share with me shortly after the report we did not want to hear a word from God our pastor shared with him. The situation we were in was not because of something we had done. And my husband, knowing how I can be, encouraged me to be encouraged as well by that word. So I clung to it. At times, I think my grasp slipped. Then I would find myself reaching for it again like a life preserver in the stormy sea we found ourselves in and holding on all the more.

We were done with the chemotherapy in June. My husband returned to work part-time and then full-time. And just before we were set to go on summer holidays, just when I thought the rest of the year would be smoother, I found out the place I work at was being shut down at the end of September.

Time to look for a new job. And there, God provided again. But there is still the stress of trying to finish up a job that is going on longer than planned so I can start a new one. And I know I have not been faithful or the most diligent in my prayer life, Bible study, ministry, housework, writing and many other things I could list if there was the space and the time. Even as I try to be and to do what God has made me to be and to do, I still feel as if I’m missing the mark. And it’s hard. I’m trying to see the positive, to see where there’s fruit and not get bogged down by dead branches and weeds.

In short, I need to get my focus off of me and more firmly onto Jesus so He can work in me. So I can be what He meant for me to be. It’s a life-long process if I understand it correctly.

I pray for the strength to make it through to the end.

P.S. I just skimmed my last entry. I realize I may be whining and contradicting myself or something . . . but this is where I find myself at this moment. >_<

Friday, October 3, 2008

Up, Down, and Around

At some point, I think, I would like to not have any upheavals in my life. Or maybe just my week.

I think my husband had just returned to work on a part-time basis after finishing chemotherapy when I ran into a woman whose house I used to clean. I caught her up a bit on the last few years, saying I was working at a great place, hubby had finished chemo, so on and so forth. "Finally," I remember thinking that June day, "things are getting back to normal."

Fast-forward two weeks (or so) and I, along with my boss and the rest of my co-workers, found out the plant we all worked at is being shut down (and even that deadline has been moved . . . again). So much for things getting back to normal.

And I'm still waiting.

I know God can and does use times like this to work things out of us and work things into us; I know with a certainty I don't always possess that God provided for my husband and I both during the first 6 months of '08 in an amazing way and I know He still provides. But I'm ready to have things settled at my 'old' job so I can settle into the 'new' one (same company, different location). I'm just ready for some sense of normalcy to come round again. Not that I want complacency . . . just not so much upheaval, please and thanks.

So often we all, as people, have plans of where we should be when what we really need to do is get a hold of God's plans of where we should be. I think through all this I need to remember to do that, and then go where He leads.

I don't think Douglas Adams was a Christian, but this quote seems apt:

"I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be."

A number of things have not gone as I planned or dreamed at one point or another, but I know where I have obediently followed Jesus, I have ended up where I have needed to be.

Monday, September 29, 2008

(Still Trying to Think of a Title >_<)

(Unbeknownst to you all, this originally was typed up in my word processing program using a font called “Marker Felt" in orange. Ah, iWork’08! I appreciate your free trial offer greatly and will probably be buying an actual copy for my very own once the trial is over . . .

I am also listening to Relient K’s “The Bird and the Bee Side” for, oh, the numerous-eth time. ^_^)

“Cast your vote on which master you will serve with your time, with your talents, and with your treasure.” -- Jason Germaine of downhere
(from “Ending is Beginning: Devo. #7” posted on Sept. 29/08)

There are major elections coming up on both sides of the 49th parallel and important decisions to be made. Does one vote along party lines or for an individual candidate? Who will actually carry out at least some of their campaign promises? Are there any people who are swayed by political ads? And do the politicians watch any of the ads they supposedly approve?

It’s enough to drive one kind of batty, honestly.

I was almost going to type “At least it’s clear who one should serve as a Christian!” but then I was quickly checked because, well, honestly I don’t always make the right choice in every area of my life. I feel as of late I have adopted too much of a “Do as I say, not as I do” policy which isn’t exactly being salt and light now, is it?

(Erwin McManus says it quite well: “In some sense, we are all hypocrites in transition.”)

But tying into my last entry, what is the simplicity to be found in Christ in such a situation? Do I memorize the Ten Commandments? Do I do an in-depth study on what God’s grace actually entails (oh, that would be a big undertaking!)? Do I pray and fast about it? Is the answer in the New Testament or the Old Testament? Or both? Or is all this making the situation more complicated?

One Scripture I’ve been thinking on again lately offers some good direction in the matter:

But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don't take yourself too seriously—
take God seriously.
-- Micah 6:8 (The Message)

I could say more, but I think this is a case of where it’s best for you (and for me!) to think on it and talk with God about it. He knows what we all need to glean from it.

As mentioned earlier, currently listening to "The Bird and the Bee Side" by Relient K.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Get a Vertical View

Many fine things can be done in a day if you don't always make that day tomorrow.

Call it what you will -- blah, indifferent, flat, or apathetic, but I was not up to much this past weekend and it was not something I care to repeat oh, ever again. I think I've had enough such moments over the course of the past 30+ years to last me for a long time.

The struggle was more acute for me, I think, this time as I was also thinking of how I have a lot to be excited about and involved in as a Christian, a wife, an administrative assistant, a writer, a volunteer, a sister, a daughter, a friend. I have wonderful news to share about Jesus, a great husband to journey through this life with, a good job, a novel in progress (with an actual outline, people!), a great church I'm a part of, great kids to teach, a really good family and some very fine friends. So why was I languishing about so during an otherwise very nice weekend?

Maybe this will shed some light on things:

18 If people can't see what God is doing,
they stumble all over themselves;
But when they attend to what he reveals,
they are most blessed.

--Proverbs 29:18 (Message)

You see, I had got my focus off of God and what He was doing (and wanting to do) in my life and looking just at me. My faults. My foibles. My plans. My wants. I wasn't making sure things were lining up with His plans and His word. I was just running willy-nilly trying to figure out what I wanted to do and needed to do and was supposed to do, all the while forgetting the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3) and that if I seek to hold onto my life, I'll lose it if I'm not giving it to Christ (Matthew 10: 38-40, Matthew 16: 24-26).

Sometimes I get so frustrated with myself for still stumbling, it seems, over the same basic principles again and again. On the other hand, I could just start, oh, learning and living them.

Hmmmm . . .

Currently Listening To:

A mix 'o' stuff courtesy of 'shuffle' on my iPod

Friday, September 12, 2008

Who Are You Going to Be?

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."
-- e.e. cummings

My husband and I watched the last four weeks worth of Canadian Idol's sixth season (where local boy Theo Tams was declared the winner, but where I also thought it would've been neat if Mitch MacDonald from Port Hood, NS had won), and I was struck by -- particularly during the results show -- how neat it is to see people doing something they genuinely love to do. And this is a thought I've had at various points in my adult years whether it's hearing the stories from two friends who teach kindergarten, listening to my husband talk about a song he's working on or other examples which escape me at present. >_<

I was thinking about such things again today while working on mustard receipts (I work at a processing plant where lentils, chickpeas, peas, mustard and canary seed are cleaned and shipped to various areas). I enjoy my job, I really do, but as I was thinking various what-nots I wondered "Do I want to be doing this years from now?". There is a somewhat-neglected novel in the beginning-to-middle stages on my computer; a guitar gathering dust that I'd like to truly learn how to play and many other goals, I guess, I'd like to accomplish before my time here is done (hopefully, anyway!).

Yes, God has a plan for my life. He has good thoughts He's thinking about me to give me a future and hope (Jeremiah 29:11).

The question is am I walking in that plan? Am I passionately pursuing Him, accomplishing what He has for me to do? Am I being who He has made me to be, or am I trying to be what I think I should be or what the world around me thinks I should be at this point in my life?

Or, to divvy things into four areas my pastor talked about a little while ago during my church's weekly Bible study, I need to know:

1. Where I am.
2. Who I am.
3. Where I'm going.
4. Where to start from for #3.

Who (or whose) am I going to be?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

See You In the Funny Pages

A well-loved comic strip ends a 29-year run, only to begin again next month:

(Image is clickable -- at least for me! Let me know if it's not for you!)

I'm looking forward to a new adventure, Lynn! Thanks for the memories. :-)

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Aw, Man . . . The Brakes Don't Work . . .

I don't seem to recall praying for this much change this year.


At times I wonder where in the world this year has gone, but then I remember doctors' appointments, surgery, hospital visits, test results, chemotherapy, one usually crappy week followed by an okay week followed by a good week only to have the same ol' cycle repeat. So that was February, March, April, May and part of June.

Then there was the easing back into a regular, pre-February routine which was familiar but foreign as some good changes had been made and some things which were neglected were at least being looked at again, if not actually actively pursued just yet. God had provided and was providing. Holidays were coming. Good things were happening.

Then another change was announced which has led to periods of optimism and moments of "???" and musings of how far back to go with a varied work history. And squished in was the wondering of when *I* would really change as a person, when I would see evidence of mine having grown as a Christian, a wife, a daughter/sister/friend/etc. It seems like many things have changed while many other things have stayed the same.

I don't want to be wishy-washy in my faith. I don't want a botched attempt at putting myself 'out there' to cause me to never try again. I don't want to be mired down in the past, immobile in the present or fearful of the future. I mean, c'mon! Look at the God I serve! He is just . . . well, He's God!

So why do I limit Him so at times? Why do I fight against and complain about the changes He knows are 100% in my best interest?

It's time to allow some Abraham-faith to grow in me. He didn't know where God was leading him. God said "Go!" and Abraham packed up his stuff and said "Okay!" and off they went. It wasn't without its ups and downs, but I don't think Abraham regretted it when he looked back from point B to point A.

And neither should I.

So how do we fit what we know of Abraham, our first father in the faith, into this new way of looking at things? If Abraham, by what he did for God, got God to approve him, he could certainly have taken credit for it. But the story we're given is a God-story, not an Abraham-story. What we read in Scripture is, "Abraham entered into what God was doing for him, and that was the turning point. He trusted God to set him right instead of trying to be right on his own."

If you're a hard worker and do a good job, you deserve your pay; we don't call your wages a gift. But if you see that the job is too big for you, that it's something only God can do, and you trust him to do it—you could never do it for yourself no matter how hard and long you worked—well, that trusting-him-to-do-it is what gets you set right with God, by God. Sheer gift.

*~ Romans 4: 1-5 (The Message)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Don't Be Blue

The blessing of the LORD makes one rich,
and He adds no sorrow with it.
~Proverbs 10:22 (NKJV)

In the past two days, I've learned about two families who may to (or have already had to by now) give up the homes built for them by the popular ABC show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. You can read about these two situations via the following links:

A friend of mine (who found the second article) brought up some pointed observations, which I hope she does not mind my sharing here (if you do, let me know!):

Perhaps EM ought to modify its approach and build more modest homes which are still capable of accommodating the special needs of family members with disabilities. A large, trophy-like home is obviously going to consume more energy, not to mention the tax burden. It's easy to understand that a number of EM families might be deeply in debt for other reasons. Giving a large, elaborate home to deserving persons is a lovely gesture, but what exactly is the advantage if old debt and new financial burdens render the gift untenable? The problem is - who cares when the show is over?

I find myself wishing I had a 'wave a wand' sort of solution for these families and others in similar situations. And there are many, giving the mortgage crisis north of the Canadian border. Though as we all probably know at this point, there is no magic wand or speedy cure. It's often the search for such things that land us in trouble in the first place, unless we go about things God's way.

See the verse at the top? God doesn't add troubles and grief and sorrow and burdens to the riches He gives His kids. Granted, there are times when we think (or maybe not -- I can't speak for everyone!) He doesn't give us enough or that He waits to long or He doesn't give things in the way we would like Him too . . . but look back on what you know to be the blessings and riches of God in your life. Are you sadder for having had them? Properly looked after, did you find yourself in more trouble than you were at first? Do you ever wish you didn't have them?

Oh, please note the 'properly looked after' portion. Again, I can only speak from my experience, but there have been times when God has given me something and I've squandered it. But like the prodigal son, we can come before God, confess our misdeeds and be restored into right standing with Him. And (hallelujah!) we can ask for the ability, the wisdom to steward what we do have and will have in the future. God is faithful, people, and He won't mock you or look down on you for asking for help.

Another thing -- we so often think of the referred-to blessings in Proverbs 10:22 as equalling money to spend on big houses, cars, toys and such because they're making us 'rich'. But a closer look at the original Hebrew* meanings of the following words:

blessing: a blessing, benediction, benefit, favour, peace, invocation of good, a happy, or blessed man. It is used in the sense of a gift or present to gain goodwill. Also, it had the sense of shālōm welfare.

rich**: to accumulate, to grow, to become rich

So we can accumulate and grow in things beyond money. We can grow in peace, in goodwill, in favour, in benefits beyond the monetary. And again, when we do it God's way we can avoid this (also from the original Hebrew):

sorrow : it is a thing formed or shaped . . . labour, toil, gain; trouble, grievance; the kind of pain which women experience when they are about to give birth

What sort of riches do you want? Do I want? Can shows such as Extreme Makeover: Home Edition really give?

*As found in The Complete Word Study of the Old Testament, 1994 AMG Int'l Inc.; pp. 1594, 2307, 2351

**As found in Strong's Concise Dictionary of the Hebrew Bible (located in the back of The Complete Word Study of the Old Testament), p. 92

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Time Keeps Ticking Away

Wowza -- time is definitely ticking away! It's already July 2nd and I'm wondering where the first half of the year went. Oh, no, wait . . . I remember. It was mainly dealing with a whole lot of 'unexpecteds' for hubby and I. :-P Not all of it was bad, though, because God truly can use all things to work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

A friend of mine is currently volunteering with CERV - Philippines. This young lady is quite the go-getter and you can follow along on her adventures on her blog -- Volunteer Philippines 2008 -- under the 'Links' section.

I'm discovering while changes in life may not always be pleasant, in many ways they are necessary. Changes to one's diet, for example, are often necessary to improve one's health. Changes in Bible study habits and in prayer time can lead to drawing closer to God. Changes to how one does an 'every day' task can lead to saved time which can be used elsewhere. Yet so often (myself included) we resist change.

I don't know about you, but often I have to first decide what to do with whatever negative thoughts come my way (speaking of changes . . .). Do I listen to those thoughts? Do I believe them? Or do I jump right in with God's promises and God's Word and get on with the business of moving forward? Do I stay where I am or look to where He is leading?

And a lot of times, I'm just overwhelmed by the big picture. I see A, then B, but not all the steps that will get me there in-between. This has often led to me deciding to go do something else. Like watch something (anything, sometimes!) on TLC while searching for some sort of comfort food. Or something. :-P Not a good rut to get into!

But yet God can (and oh so wants to!) help us get out of our self-made ruts. He wants us to put our worries and our fretting and our fears aside. The following verses from the Bible have been bubbling up over the past little bit in my mind (and heart):

". . . Come to Me, all of you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for you souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." ~Matthew 11:28, 29 (NKJ)

"Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? . . . Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." ~Matthew 6:27, 34 (NKJ)

"Give us this day, our daily bread." ~Matthew 6:11 (NKJ)

So God knew I'd have all these things to face. He knew (and knows) every choice I'll make before I make it. And yet, when I know I've screwed things up, if I look, if I wait, I'll find His provision to get out of the rut or whatever else I've gotten myself into. It won't always be easy, it will frankly suck at times. But He will be there, His light shining through the darkness of my worries and fears and blunders.

And that gives me hope to carry on, to change, even as time keeps moving along.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I'm Over Here!!


We all want it and we all need it, I think, in some form or another. And it's a tricky thing to deal with when we a) realize that and b) don't get it.

And I'd pontificate (did I use that word correctly?) on it some more, but it's late, my bed is looking pretty dang comfy, and the cat could be gearing up to stalk me again or the computer mouse. (I'm hoping for the latter, but it's probably the former . . .)

Oh, hey -- something to talk about amongst yourselves: What do you do when you realize those in church leadership are human? That they will (and do!) make mistakes? And if you're in church leadership in some capacity or another and make a mistake, what do you do?

And why is Word Twist (thanks, Facebook . . . maybe) so *hard* for some and so easy for others?

Okay -- bed! Sleep!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This 'n' That

For the first time in a few weeks, I think, I'm at home while my husband is out doing something!! This is exciting news, as due to this, that, and the other we've been spending more time together than usual. Now I don't mean that is a bad thing (spending more time together), but I came to the realization we do need time to refresh and recharge and such individually. Plus I can hover like all get-out when he's not feeling well so he gets some breathing space too. ;-)

Isn't it a good thing that we can never have too much 'together time' with God? Man, wouldn't that just suck if there was such a thing?

Person: "God, I've really been enjoying spending more time with You lately."

God: "Meh, I think I need some time to Myself - I'm feeling a little crowded."

Hello! So not God! (But so much us, eh? And usually when we want to go be schmucks or something.)

I bought an iMac this past weekend and I'm ridiculously excited to have found out how to expand the browser window. Amazing what a tutorial will do for a person. (Again, then why don't I read/study my Bible more??)

I'm also getting the itch to get going on my long-languishing novel again and work on 'the other blog' which has also been languishing for awhile.

Speaking of which . . .

Sunday, April 6, 2008

What About Grace?

So I was on-line yesterday afternoon, trying to get some stuff together for a project I still don't have done when I discovered the lead singer of a group I like had married a solo artist I have enjoyed in the past. I knew the one person had been married and divorced a few years ago and had made some questionable career choices. And I discovered this person had apparently made some recently, as there was a blog which felt it was its duty to keep a continual reminder up of this person's faux pas.

As I talked with my husband about it later, I said I had the urge to post on this person's web site that he or she is really acting like a Pharisee. I wanted to point out there is only one sin Jesus said was unforgivable (blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12: 31-32)), that God forgives and forgets our sins when we genuinely repent, that grace covers a multitude of sins and hey, how big is that plank your eye? But hubby said such a thing would be pointless -- it wouldn't change their minds. Plus it is the goodness of God which brings men to repentance (Romans 2:4), not my sarcastic replies and jabs.

It's sad, really, how so many of us in the Christian community can judge each other (I'm as guilty as anyone else), finding Scriptures to back up our wrong stances and misconceptions. Sure, look at the person's fruit and see where they're at. Be careful who you associate with and all of that. But then remember what many a person has been taught, Christian and non-Christian, as the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. (Mark 12:31, Galatians 6:7).

And remember the great grace and love and mercy which have been bestowed upon you. Unearned. Undeserved. But available to all who will receive it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Don't Mind Me While I Prattle

From the Merriem-Webster dictionary:

Main Entry: 1 prat·tle
Pronunciation: \ˈpra-təl\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): prat·tled; prat·tling \ˈprat-liŋ, ˈpra-təl-iŋ\
Etymology: Low German pratelen; akin to Middle Dutch praten to prate
Date: 1532
intransitive verb
1 : prate
2 : to utter or make meaningless sounds suggestive of the chatter of children : babble
transitive verb
: to say in an unaffected or childish manner

So consider yourself forewarned. ;-)

Any which way, there is, it seems, a lot of things going on in my life and around my life at the moment and sometimes it's all just plain overwhelming. How do I prioritize? What is the correct way to deal with some things? How much space do you allow for people to talk to the person you know who is *really* going through something serious while still seeking out the words of comfort and stuff you need? How do you ask for help when everyone else around you is as busy, if not busier, than you are at the moment?

What about when you're thinking you're just totally missing the boat with God? That all you come to Him with is a list of requests and complaints and uncertainties? When your faith feels more like the bottom of the Red Sea as the children of Israel crossed over it all those years ago than anything that will actually touch God and His provisions? What do you do when it feels like you have a thousand questions, but are scared to hear what the answers could be?

I know I often don't handle stressful situations well. I can get testy, crabby, overly-emotional, or (as when my husband and I moved into a new house) get sick. I try to push things down to deal with at a more appropriate time but that doesn't always work either. But, in retrospect, I can see signs of improvement in that so there is hope for more positive changes to be made.

Maybe I'm just tired and need some more sleep . . .

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Late Night Musings

At the time it frustrates me and later on it sort of amuses me that when I'm upset about something (no matter how serious or trivial) and I am told to just relax how hard it can be to do just that. Then I try to get away so I can collect myself and people just want to keep talking while I'm thinking "Let me take my moment alone, please!! I feel like enough of a tool at the moment, so yeah . . . I'd like to hide now!"

As a friend of mine said, "We're wired how we're wired", so I guess we will all butt heads on ocassion as we each try to deal with things or help a situation along in the way we feel is best. But still . . .

And why is it we can so easily give advice but not receive the very same advice when it's given back to us? Or is that just me?

Then we ask God to "change me" so "I'm more like Jesus". Then when He uses various situations and people to point out the things that need changing, we act like a petulant child or think we're under enemy attack or something so as to avoid (fruitlessly, really) to allow the master Carpenter to smooth out the rough spots and soften jagged edges.

We humans are a crazy bunch if you think about, so full are we of contradictions and conflicting desires and the like. Yet knowing how all over the map we can be, God still sent His Son to die for each and every one of us and *then* raise Him from the dead so we could come into a real relationship with Him both now and for eternity.

Pretty awesome, no?

Now I really am going to go to bed. ;-)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

I Wonder as I Ponder

I know it says in the Bible not to envy others, and when I think about it, I don't think I'm doing that. But there is something about listening to people talk who know what their purpose in life is and who are doing it which I admire. And it leaves me wondering what am I supposed to be doing?

Chances are I have it figured out on some level, but as some people I know will probably attest to, I'm pretty good at second-guessing my motives and such until I'm not sure which way is up. Sometimes I wonder if it's just a good excuse to not do anything -- you know, if I don't go anywhere or try anything then I can't fail/mess it up/get it wrong.

Then, as it so often happens, a song lyric pops into my head, popping me out of a potential funk:

". . . then laugh at my mistakes
‘cause they're only lessons I’ve learned."
*~ Paul Brandt, "Risk"

Great. Way to change my perspective on things again.

I'm only kidding -- it really is a good thing to have one's perspective changed.

I guess part of my problem is I do get so caught up in my own things, the things I want to do and like to do that I don't take the time to get caught up God and His things and the things He wants me to do. The fleshly part of me fears giving up something I like (which is incredibly selfish, I know); but the non-fleshly parts chafe at this, I think, and I wonder when will I be able to say with certainty "Here is what my purpose is, and here I am doing it."

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."
*~ Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJ)

Sunday, February 10, 2008


There are moments/days/many times when I can *so* identify with the Apostle Paul and his lament of doing the things he knew he shouldn't be doing while not doing the things he knew he should be doing.


And that is really all I can muster on that right now as I really do need to get to bed.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008

No Forwarding Address

Sometimes I wish life had a rewind button so you could go back and do things like delete unkind words or make a better choice when faced with going out for lunch or getting some extra work done at the office.

Then I have to go and listen to a song which contains the following lyrics:

It's time for letting go
All of our 'if onlys'
'Cause we don't have a time machine
And even if we did
Would we really want to use it?
Would we really want to go change everything?
'Cause we are who and where and what we are for now
And this is the only moment we can do anything about

*~ "Miracle of the Moment", Steven Curtis Chapman

Yeah, I know -- way to all be encouraged when I felt a really good pout or, at the very least, a good hissy fit coming on.


But seriously -- I have had friends leave my life either by mutual agreement (spoken or not) or by a unilateral one by myself or them (again, spoken or not) or it was a case of us simply drifting apart as time or 'things' or changes in direction occured. Some I have been okay with. Other times I have fought to keep the friendship going (even pleading for the relationship to remain). Sadly, there are even time where I have been indifferent.

And I could go and change all those things if I successfully built a time machine. If I could, though, would it be the right thing to do?

In Paul's letter to the Roman church, he wrote ". . . all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose."

All things, eh?


So God can use all my missteps and blunders and use them to work together for good? (Don't forget, though, this only happens when we allow Him to do so. God won't override our free wills.)

It sort of boggles the mind, quite frankly. (Though God is quite good at that, isn't He? I mean, a bumblebee shouldn't be able to fly, yet it does!)

So to all the friends I've loved and lost: I'm sorry for where I have done things (intentional or not) to hurt you. I forgive you for the things you've done (intentionally or not) that have hurt me. And if our friendship was only meant to be for a season, then I hope we both received the good God intended for us both to have (even if it looked to be anything but good at the time).

And to my two bestest friends:

Jesus -- You have given me so much and anything I can give You seems so paltry in comparison. And often times, is is paltry and 'meh' and sad. Yet Your love for me doesn't change and it is this love, this goodness, which works in me to change for the better.

My husband -- I'm so glad we started out as friends before we became a couple. I think it was a God-given opportunity for us to build a good foundation. I hope I'm half the support and blessing you are to me. I love you!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The More I Know You, The More I . . . Hate You?

Idioms -- you gotta love them.

Take "Familiarity breeds contempt".

What is basically being said here is "The more I get to know you, the more I find to dislike about you." Or to go by the handy little explanation I found via Google:

This means that the more you know something or someone, the more you start to find faults and dislike things about it or them.

It's sort of sad when you think about it . . . especially when you think about how often *you* find more faults with people the longer you know them.

Though it is easy, isn't it, to find faults in or with others?

"I would enjoy the song service at church so much more if Person X didn't sing so loudly or off-key . . ."

"I would have an easier time of things if my spouse were more helpful . . ."

"Well, if Person B wasn't such a meanie-head, bitter and negative to boot, then I would still . . ."

Yes, we're a sorry bunch, aren't we? Which is why Jesus admonished us to take the logs out of our own eyes before dealing with the specks (talk about discrepancies, eh?) in another's eye (Matthew 7:1-5).

I've heard it said many times the things which bug us the most in other people are the very things we do ourselves, which has led to a bit of an epiphany for me, I think. Lets look at the things that bug us about other people and rather than judge or write off or try to 'fix' the fault, use that person as a mirror of sorts to look at yourself -- to see the log blocking your own vision. But don't stop there (because sometimes we do, telling ourselves and others "That's just the way I am!")! Tell God you have this nasty huge log in your eye. You know it's wrong, He knows it's wrong, and no one is fooling anybody. Then give it to Him. Allow Him to get it out (He has very steady hands!) and then be prepared to see like you've never seen before.

Maybe then the person with the speck will allow you to help them get rid of it -- they'll trust you to seeing as how you're not about to whack them in the head with a log.

Something to think about, eh?

Friday, January 18, 2008

I'm Done!!!!!

There are five exclamation points up there for a very good reason.


The ironic thing is when I began blogging after a hiatus (ha, ha), the purpose was to write about my experiences with said course. Then I ended up perfecting my procrastinating skills (which I'm now trying to 'unperfect') and then I heard you're not supposed to say things such as "I'm blogging today about . . ." and that idea was out the window. So, yeah.

My diploma is on the way. Now to finish the novel!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Go Left . . . No, Right . . . Wait a Second . . .

". . . your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is the way, walk in it," . . ."

~~ Isaiah 30: 20c, 21a (NKJ)

It can be hard, figuring out which way to go. Especially if you, like myself, are directionally impaired. May I always remember the day when I was to meet my grandmother at the local mall. Wanting to be sure I met her at the right set of doors, I asked if she would be by the doors at the adjoining grocery store, to which she replied she would be at the west doors. I naively asked her if those were by the grocery store. She replied she would be at the west doors. We went back and forth for a bit before I said "I'll see you there". Through my awesome logic (see October's 'Bye, Little Snat), I correctly deduced a busload of senior citizens would be dropped off at the doors by the grocery store (and, coincidentally, the west ones).

Sometimes I feel like I'm doing the same thing with God and His Holy Spirit. There He is, telling me "Go here!" And I'm all "Over there? Is it that by that thing?" And He repeats "Go here!" becasue, really, I should be able to see it and know it. But I allow the cares of this world to drag me down or tie me up and I'm just not seeing it until I finally just let all the unnecessary stuff fall away and oh, hello! There is where I'm supposed to be.

And it may even be right by the grocery store.