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Showing posts from April, 2007

Sailing to Tarshish

I wanted to write light yesterday. I wanted to type with a smile on my face. I wanted to hear Stuart chuckle as he read. I kept an eye out for a one-act comedy taking place within the interactions of the day. There was none. There were tears...tears from fighting children...but mostly they were mine. The manna for this post didn't come until after I had gone to bed. It isn't light.Stuart and I sensed God calling us to the church that we are a part of almost as soon as we arrived. We joined, eyes wide open to its health. Months passed. We began to question. Is this really where God wants us? What difference can we make? We have been praying but His Spirit has been silent. We knew we had been called to work here but yesterday, like Jonah, we set sail in search of a healthier church. We didn't go to Tarshish. We went across the street.As soon as we had made the decision to wander God's spirit began to move. A feeling of oppression and unease settled over the car. We sat i…

Behind a Locked Door

The library door is locked. For months I peeked through the window at the treasure within. I wondered, "How can I get in there? What books are on the shelves?" I made friends with the janitor of the church that we are attending. He showed me where the key is kept. It sits on top of the electric box in a storage closet. I can get the key and take what I want from the library. Books by Beth Moore, Max Lucado, and Adrian Rogers sit on the shelves. The covers are new. The pages uncreased. There is a sign out sheet on the desk. My name is the only one on the sheet. I have checked out and returned And the Angels Were Silent, Six Hours One Friday, Walking Through the Fire, Signs of Spring. Last Sunday I pulled out and put back books, looking for an interesting read. I came home with Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Church. The binding crackled when I opened the book. Am I the first person to read this copy? How long has it been sitting on the shelves? Rick Warren writes about c…

Confessions of a Couch Shouter

I confess. I have become a couch shouter. My brother-in-law, Rob, created this term after he spent a deafening week with his extended family.

Couch Shouter
noun
1. One who parents from the sitting position. A parent who sends her voice to do a job that she is too lazy do herself.

Lately, too much of my parenting has been done from the sitting position.

I sit with a child for school. "Claire, you read this paragraph. I'll read the next one... Charlie, don't take Faith's Polly Pocket... Try that word again, Claire. Remember what does ou say?... Charlie, give Faith's Polly back to her. " I listen as Claire finishes her paragraph... "Charlie, do you need a spank? Give the Polly back!" And on it goes.

I am amazed at how the lack of discipline has crept in and taken over. The scales tipped toward justice at the beginning of this parenting journey. These days, grace and mercy are the tools I reach for. Justice has been stuffed in the back of the closet. To paren…

Betze-Post

Stuart returned recently from a business trip that took him to Betze-Post, an open pit goldmine outside of Elko, Nevada. He came home spilling over with bits and pieces of information. This is unusual for him. Work is work and home is home and never the two shall meet.

Stuart followed a tractor-trailer carrying an oversized load onto the mine site. Four tires lay on the trailer bed...replacements for an earth-moving machine. Since 1986 when the mine opened, these machines have eaten away an entire mountain and have dug an additional sixteen hundred feet below the water table. The resulting hole looks like an inverted ziggurat and is deeper than the Sears Tower is tall. Stuart stood on the precipice and peered over. Mechanical ants scurried around below with bits of dirt between their jaws.

The gold is microscopic and all of it is mapped out. This means that the miners can gobble and dump many truckloads of earth without sifting through for treasure. When they are digging in the valuable…

24 Hours

It has been quiet here this morning. Stuart gingerly carries Charlie into the house. Home from the hospital after surgery to repair an inguinal hernia. He lays Charlie on our bed. Charlie rolls on his side and curls into a tiny ball. Stuart and I discuss whether or not we should take him to the bathroom. He is on our bed and not wearing a pull up. Wanting to save the mattress wins out over not wanting to disturb our little guy.

The deed done, we tuck him back into our bed where he sleeps soundly for four hours. The house is still. We make great progress with schoolwork.

When he stirs, I bring him orange juice and "ball cheerios" (Kix cereal) He asks for more juice. More juice means another trip to the bathroom. I hate this part. Charlie tells me, "Somebody cutted me, Mom. Somebody glued me."

The rest of the day passes with Charlie lying on our big bed watching PBS Kids and Veggie Tale videos. The big kids crowd around to see the incision. Charlie stacks blocks on the …

Gifts

I do not usually like presents. I don't like to give them and I rarely like to get them. I am a practical girl. I know what I need. I like to do my own shopping. I don't like to guess at what family and friends want or need. My kids are rarely surprised on their birthdays because we go shopping together.

I received an unexpected check a few weeks ago. When I first opened it I thought, "God sent us money to cover bills that I don't yet know about." Then I thought, "Nah!" and prepared to spend the money on Stuart's birthday...all of it...on a great camera. I made him tell me exactly which model he wanted. Then, last week he was driving home from work and a rear window fell down...clunk... right down into the door. He couldn't coax it out. The mechanics at the car dealership could... and did...for six hundred fifty dollars. Next, Charlie needed to take a trip to the emergency room. Happy Birthday, Stuart.

My husband buys me funky artistic jewelry. I …

Firsts

It is 4:30 Saturday afternoon. We are going birthday shopping for Lauren and Faith. We drive a half hour to the "local" Walmart. We have six bikes but none are sized right for Faith. Stuart has been running alongside her for the past few weeks because she can neither start nor stop by herself on the behemoth she has been riding. Stuart and most of the crew head for the bike department to find an eighteen inch bike.

Lauren and I stop at the jewelry department. It's a big day for her. She just turned ten and because she has consistently shown true beauty this year she will be getting her ears pierced. Before we can proceed, we must purchase the earrings. I reach in my pocket...no wallet. We locate Stuart in the bike department. He reaches in his pocket...no wallet. We have gotten the children into such high excitement we must complete this mission today. We return home.

It is 7:30 Saturday afternoon. Dinner and baths are out of the way. We are going birthday shopping for Lau…

Hobbits in Heaven?

It is too cold to eat in the sunroom this morning so we crowd around the table in the kitchen. Between bites of french toast the conversation turns to heaven.

We start with the practical.

"In heaven I won't have to take medicine." John lines up all his vitamins and prepares to gulp them down with a large glass of orange juice.

I pull my hands into my sweatshirt, "I won't be cold in heaven."

"I won't be hot!" says Lauren. She has on her pajama bottoms and a spaghetti strap top.

John announces, "I'll be very good at the math that I won't have to do!"

Lauren, who is currently struggling with percents, runs with this idea, "There will be no percents!"

"...and no spanks!" The two little ones solemnly nod their heads at Faith's pronouncement.

She continues, "I'll be able to fast forward the sermons." Much laughter ensues. Sermons have left a little to be desired recently.

We hover around the fanciful. T…

Backyard Theater

Our house is tucked into an alcove of trees. We are surrounded by a living stage. Birds step from the shadows and give impromptu performances from dawn to dusk.

There is a aviary card game at the bird feeder outside my kitchen window. House sparrows trump song sparrows. Cardinals trump downy woodpeckers. Bluejays and red headed woodpeckers trump cardinals. Insatiable Squirrel trumps bluejays. Allegra, the cat hidden in the hosta plants, trumps Insatiable. I watch. Watching trumps my attempt to wash the dishes.

Robins and thrashers hop about in the grass. They pluck an insect dinner from the ground. Cardinals "chip" and chickadees "buzz." Bluejays chatter and scream...a wildlife alarm system. The right cry can send clouds of birds winging for cover in the canopy above. A red bellied woodpecker chuckles to himself as he backs down the tree leading to the feeder. A red winged blackbird whistles a lonely whistle.

We eat lunch in the sunroom and see an unusual sight in a v…

Liars and Thieves

I recently received a genuine facsimile of a linen handkerchief. Its proportions match the 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper found in my printer. Three or four sheets of instructions accompanied this “handkerchief.” I read them. I learned that it was a prayer handkerchief. Great blessing was guaranteed. In order to pluck this good fruit from God’s Bounty, I was to write wishes on the handkerchief, tuck this slip of paper into my Bible and sleep with my Bible under my bed. The remaining instructions told me to fold the handkerchief and place it in an envelope addressed to St. Matthew’s Church…Tulsa, Oklahoma. And finally, sit back and wait for the shower of prosperity, healing, and relationship mending to begin.

I did not write out my prayer requests. I whispered them in the dark to the One who hears for He is compassionate. I did not place the Bible under my bed. I fell asleep reading its promises and woke up the next morning with it open beside me. I did not slip the handkerchief into the envelop…

Prison

Fear. Its chains bind us. Imprison us. We may be able to do great things beyond the bars of fear. Do we dare muscle our way out of the cell that confines us?

Lauren is ten. Smart, artistic, driven, gifted…fearful. Her voice shakes when she answers the phone. A stern mask shades her face in a crowd. Tears spill at anything less than perfection.

“Lauren, God has not given us a spirit of fear but one of power and of love. You have so much to offer. Satan knows that and he wraps fear around you to keep you from achieving the great things that God has planned for you.”

Through tears, “I know, Mama. I know. I try. I just get nervous when there are so many people around me. I can’t think!” More tears and snuffling into a soggy tissue.

The issue at hand. Bible Drill. Twenty-four Bible verses. References must be noted. Each verse must be word perfect. Sixty-six books. “Attention. Present Bible. Mark…Thessalonians…Malachi. Start!” 10 seconds of frantic page turning in a quest to find the few pages …

Perspective

You wouldn't know we are related. We neither look nor act alike. I love soft garments in muted colors. Faith calls to mind Joseph in his coat of many colors. She wears trendy, flowing clothes...each piece a kaliedescope of brightness. The pants on her bottom half do not necessarily have to match the shirt on her top half. We don't sound alike either. I sing bits of Sara Groves or Nicole Nordeman while I work. She sings “I am going outside!” “Can I have some more carrots?” and “I finished my math” in her best operatic alto.

We do not see things from the same angle. “Faith put a coat and shoes on. It’s freezing out here!”

“Look Mama, do fairies live in the little hole in this tree?”

We work side by side in the garden. “Be careful, Mom, you are going to hit that toad with your trowel.”

“Where?”

“Right there, under that flower. I wonder what kind of toad it is? I wonder what kind of flower it is?”

Her wondering makes me wonder. We get out the Frogs, Toads, and Turtles (Take AlongGuide)

A Small Season

So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from his perspective. Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life—even though invisible to spectators—is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember) shows up again on this earth, you'll show up, too—the real you, the glorious you. Meanwhile, be content with obscurity, like Christ. Colossians 3:1-4 (from The Message)

I am challenged to live the Christian life by some wonderful writers with their own blogs. The idea of blogging has caught my attention as a way of sharing my thoughts with someone old enough to put their dishes in the sink and wipe the crumbs from their face without being reminded. Perhaps I too c…