Friday, October 22, 2010


When you are young, death is so hard to fathom. The inevitable ending that is as much a part of living as birth visited our home recently. Our remaining gerbil died. I am not sure if she died from old age or loneliness. My precious girls cried upon the realization that Jewels was no longer with us. Grief is necessary. The process of saying goodbye is so important. They wept hard and grieved loudly. My heart broke. Not really for the gerbils we have lost, though I will miss them. My heart broke for my daughters. They have experienced so little loss. Part of parenting is putting your heart out there to be broken. Part of parenting is teaching your precious ones that death is part of life. Saying goodbye is hard. But living without is worse. Living without pets, friends, or loved ones is sterile and lonely. I firmly believe that it is better to love and have to let go than to miss out altogether.

So we had a lesson in Goodbyes. Pray for little ones and hurting hearts.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


Every life, like every year, is made up of seasons. Fall is a contemplative time for me. I watch the vibrant colors erupt as the leaves change with the season shift. I marvel at the creativity of God.  As the physical world undergoes change I look at myself.

I am in such a different place this year. It is the same house, the same town, the same state, yet I am different. I am calm. I am planning my days. I am actively seeking the Lord and His teaching in a deeper way. I want to know Him. I want Him to be enough. If all of the abundance were gone tomorrow - Would God be enough for me? I pray so, Lord!

I am turning my thinking inward a bit this year. There are so many things I think I need to change or improve on... But what does the Lord of heaven say of me? Ephesians chapter 2 verse 10 states "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." Whoa. I am God's masterpiece? I am God's masterpiece created in Christ for goodness! So who am I to decide what I should change or improve? Am I an artist greater than the Master who designed creation?  Umm No, I am not. This passage defining who I am in Christ rocked my brain. What I put my hand and mind to do should not be about me, should not be based on my wants. What I choose to do each day should be for Him, His kingdom, and His children!

I am amazed to find that I keep setting goals and asking God to bless my goals. Asking for Him to motivate me. Then I realize this may not be His plan. Conviction settles gently onto my shoulders. I do not feel guilty per se. Challenged would be a better term. Challenged to reach toward Him FIRST. Challenged to wait upon Him rather than jumping into the deep end and then asking for the stamina to be able to survive the pool.

In this season of change, take a glance inward and begin a new discipline. Seek the Father first that your endeavors would be God inspired and directed.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

God used flour bugs?

I had a plan. I had my day laid out. The first load of laundry was gurgling away. The task list for the week was developed. I had answered emails. It was time to bake. The plan called for 3 types of cookies to be made. Great yumminess!!!

The ingredients began to accumulate on the counter. I was excited to be in the kitchen. The flour canister was depleted, but I knew I had another bag of flour in the pantry. I grabbed the bag and disaster! Bugs! UGH! Tons of the little annoying beetles. Ack! I have had the flour bugs before. I am sick of them. I looked it up on the computer and found out my bugs are called "confused" or "red flour beetles." Confused? OK. Apparently there are two varieties so similar they don't bother distinguishing between them without a microscope. Their eggs are likely in the flour, corn meal, cereal, or whatever when it comes home from the store. Nice. How do I get rid of them? The overwhelming answer across many many web pages was clean, clean and clean some more. There went my plan.  So I pitched the flour and proceeded to pull absolutely everything out of my pantry. I vacuumed and soaped the shelves. I sorted stuff, relegating things to the basement or the goodwill box. I reorganized the shelves. The process took all day.

I was frustrated. I wanted to bake cookies. I didn't want to clean. I really didn't want deal with all the stuff I had crammed into this space. But I did deal with it. I didn't bake. The plan was totally scrapped. I pouted as I went to pick up my girls from school.  I muttered my way through making dinner and finishing dealing with the junk from the pantry. My attitude about the whole thing was ugly. Who wants to clean bugs instead of making cookies?  A very slight satisfaction at the clean and organized pantry helped to mollify my irritation.

Later the girls went to bed and the Admiral & I sat down to watch television. Soon I began feeling queasy. The Admiral had mentioned he didn't feel well. The night wore on and I decided to go to bed. Fast forward a few hours - We are both throwing up repeatedly. There are other horrid symptoms as well. The flu has struck us both full force. We are miserable, wretched people. I am exhausted. I get up with the alarm to get the kids ready for school and must keep running to the bathroom. Finally I call my neighbor and ask her to run the kids to school. I cuddle up to the Admiral on the couch and try to sleep.

Early Wednesday, 36 hours after it hit, the flu seems to be gone. It leaves me weak and very sore. I sit down for my quiet time. While studying the realization hits me like a freight train. If I had baked cookies Monday, I would have had to throw them away. All of them. Since I don't know where I got the flu from or when I was contagious I would have had to pitch everything just to be safe. But wait that means that God used... Bugs.  God used those aggravating little confused beetles to keep my unhealthy  germs out of the kitchen. I wish He has used another tactic. On the other hand I have a very organized, CLEAN pantry. Woot!

Isn't interesting how God works all things together for good? (Romans 8:28) So Monday God used confused flour bugs to keep me out of the kitchen so I wouldn't have to throw out hours of work. Therefore I must be thankful for the confused flour bugs. Scripture says "...rejoice in all things the Lord your God has given to you and your household." (Deuteronomy 26:11)

Lord Jesus - give me a thankful heart. Help me to be thankful in each situation. Guide my attitude every day as you know what is going on and I don't.

Friday, October 8, 2010

#*?%&*%*# Catalogs

I love Christmas.

I love the family time. I love the traditions. Every year, I am amazed by the bigness of what God chose to do at Christmas.

It is eleven weeks until Christmas. Eleven. Not three. Not seven. Eleven weeks away. We have not yet celebrated the Harvest Moon, Halloween or even Columbus day! We are still settling in to the whole school routine. So can someone please tell me why I must endure the flood of catalogs? Why I must look at skinny snow bunnies and pages and pages of cute gadgetry that, if I order it, will only guarantee the arrival of MORE catalogs?

There is something in my genetic code that will not allow me to pitch a catalog before I have looked through it. So before I have enjoyed fall a whole week, it is encroached upon by Christmas. I love Christmas. But why now? Life is rushed enough. I do not want to spend a glorious fall sifting through holiday catalogs.

It is not my intent that this blog become a place that continually grumps about all that is wrong in our society. That said, the commercialism of Christmas will have to wait this year. In fact, I may not engage in it at all. I think I might just give everyone homemade scarves or homemade jelly and forget the search for the elusive perfect gift. Christmas, for me, is rejoicing that God decided to save me. It is spending time with people I love and lavishing them with my caring. Of course this is a difficult statement to execute. I know there will be some shopping. I think I am just irritated that it has started so soon.

I love fall. So I will revel in the crisp mornings and the lovely afternoons. I will cherish the colors as they drift from green to burgundy, orange, yellow and brown. I will take life slowly and enjoy the season. I will be blessed in the fall. I will not be rushed by the world.

I am adjusting my attitude. Christmas catalogs that I might purchase from will go into the box labeled "later." The rest will find residence in the circular file. I am determined to not keep every catalog. I am determined not to be overwhelmed by the commercial holiday. It is my heart's desire to be overwhelmed by the love of the season and by loving those around me.

Lord, Help me guard my mind and heart. Help me to focus on your gift and sharing it with others.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Apple Challenge

I had an apple for my breakfast. A huge Honeycrisp. So sweet, very crunchy - in short delicious. I was thinking about what an amazing creation the apple is. Our God is extremely imaginative. The apple is an extraordinary example of engineering. As I enjoyed this gift from my creator, I reveled in the bounty of His goodness.

The Challenge this weeks is to post what reminds you of God's amazingness. Why does that thing speak the greatness of God to you?

Friday, October 1, 2010


You’re in line at your favorite coffee place. You look at the mass of menu options, and your brain immediately turns to mush. There are so many decisions to make. Plain coffee or espresso? Whole or skim milk? (For the record, I am not sure skim actually counts as milk.) Do you order a flavor? Which one of the dozens of options? Maybe you should have tea. You are next in line and you still haven't decided. Green tea, black tea, white tea, herbal tea? It occurs to you that tea may present even more choices. The pressure builds; what should you do? AAAHHH!

 Do you ever get tired of choices? The society we live in gives us an overwhelming scope of choices. We are drowning in decisions. Tea or coffee? Blue or red? Steak or chicken? Go out or stay in? Get up and study or sleep away the day? A large percentage of these choices are amoral. They have no impact on eternal things. What we decide in these cases has little bearing on others. Other choices have incredible bearing on us and on others. They impact relationships, our witness and our beliefs. When the Holy Spirit nudges, do we respond or ignore it?

Have you intentionally laid your foundational assumptions? (The basis by which we make our decisions in life.)  In essence, it is why you believe what you believe, your worldview. Most people make these assumptions subconsciously and therefore make choices re-actively. If you do not understand your foundations, then your choices/decisions are scattered and inconsistent. Life is full of hard choices and decisions. Be intentional about digging deep to discover what you believe and why you believe that way. This is a difficult process; you may not like what you find in this “dig”. I am struggling with this. Foundations are laid just by the process of growing up. Yet you can change them when you are intentional about establishing the reasons behind the beliefs. Define your core beliefs. They will serve as a guide when tough decisions arise.

After coming full circle, (your foundations are set, you’ve done your “digging” and you’re more self-aware) there is something else to contemplate. We are so inundated with casual choices that we tend to be very flippant about them and then miss the important ones. I think this goes hand in hand with our commitment to “busy.” We live "busy" always moving, with a million plates spinning at one time. This "busy" makes hearing the still small voice of God and the nudge of the Holy Spirit difficult. Are we choosing to listen, to hear what God is asking us to do? Are His instructions lost in the "busy"?

My girls have set sail in a new school year and I am missing them. For the past few weeks, I have been “moseying” through my days, getting a bit done here and there and ultimately accomplishing very little. I kept arriving at 3:00 pm (the time I leave to get the girls), and saying to myself "what did you do today?" Each day, I came up with no answer.

After a few days of this, the Lord very gently said, "What were your decisions today?" As I looked back at the day, I realized I hadn't made any real decisions. In other words, I had puttered the day away. "Drat!” I thought. "I'll do better tomorrow." Except that when I hit 3pm again…"Double Drat!" After 3.5 weeks of drifting from this to that and back again, I went back to the Lord.  He very clearly said, "Choose. Are you going to drift your way through? Or will you choose?" And I knew. Knew I could live reacting to the things in life that bumped me into action or I could choose to do.

What does this mean for me – today, tomorrow, next week, next month? It means choosing to plan and following the plan. Choosing to schedule play time that doesn't leave me feeling guilty. Choosing to schedule work and volunteer time so one doesn't overwhelm the other aspects of life. It means saying "no." I have created a list of activities, which includes projects, tasks, work, volunteer hours and playtime. I am planning my weeks in advance, so I am not wondering where they went when I get to the other side of them. I am planning our meals in advance based on the calendar activities so I do not spend hours trying to decide what I want to make for dinner each night.

Have you been drifting in the sea of choices, so overwhelmed your mind was unable to decide? Are you drifting from task to task without focus or purpose? Find your purpose. Set your foundations. Why do you believe what you believe? Use that framework to prioritize your choices. Listen for His voice. It takes practice. Practice often to hear Him guiding you. Plan your work and work your plan. Remember the impact of your choices.