Friday, January 29, 2010

Lovin' Friday Randomness

This week has been surprisingly wonderful with lots of new things to make my life easier. I am not a creature of change, so these could be a bit unsettling to me. Instead, they are perfectly pleasant additions to my week.

I switched cell phone companies and had to get a new phone.

I am not a fan of the phone...any phone. I have never "liked" any of my cell phones, they simply are a tool for me. That is why I am thrilled that it has all gone so smoothly. I dig my new phone. I can make calls and write myself a note, so far. I am going to switch all of the numbers from 2 phones ago into this one. That tells you how committed to "her" I am. I might have to name her. I recently named my car Olivia. Do you have a name for your car?

I got bangs.

I am going to switch out my profile pic soon, so they will be up (in answer to some feedback). I am so pleased with hair that does not fall in my eyes. That is extremely frustrating to me. Maybe it is my age, but functional hair is good hair. I also had to get a new hair dryer. A good hair dryer is like getting a set of good knives. I was fine most of the time, but now I can't believe I waited for so long. It dries my hair in like a third of the time. What could I have done with that extra six minutes?!

I have actually had hair dryers catch on fire. Does this happen to everyone?

The garage door...yummy...

Garage door, garage door You go up and down Without my frowns You open with one click Or merely a flick I am thrilled you are here I smile from ear to ear

This was something that my husband's co-worker sent out. I have to laugh because I have a sister who loves WalMart. I hope that you see the humor in this. It is a newspaper clipping.

Come on, admit it, have you ever dressed up to go to WalMart?

Thanks, Andrea for making me laugh on another Friday. Visit her over at Under Grace and Over Coffee for more...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The 200th Post!

Today is my 200th post!

Let the heavens make bunches of noise (technical term) that the Lord has inspired so much to come out of one person in a year!

I am close to my one year mark...only a year, I can't believe much has happened. And, I have learned SO MUCH...all the hard way! (I am working on defining this ministry as I move into my year. If you feel led to help me in this area, shoot me an email (there is a link on the sidebar), or leave a comment. All advice is very welcome.)

This day has spurred change in my heart. I cannot even explain it but, yesterday, I went to get bangs cut. Apparently, this mile mark is creeping from my monitor to my head.

Also, today, we are having our new garage door installed. This is the garage door that no longer closes. Just a week ago, it was the garage door that no longer opened on its own. Every time I would come home, I had to put the car in park, open my door, punch the button, run to the garage door, put my hand under the door and pull/push it for assistance. Alone, it was prone to stopping about two feet off the ground. I did this for at least a month. Before that, random parts were just falling off of the door. Let's just say it is time for our 1973 special to find a new home. My neighbors will have to find a new way to make fun of us.

I may just sit in the driveway this afternoon and push the button, giggling all the while.

For this special occasion (the 200th post, not the garage door), I thought about offering all bible references for the number 200 (there are 12 numbers, and 19 written out), but that really breaks all of the readership rules of blogging. I am confident that few would survive it.

Instead, that got me thinking about what I do. I do not rifle through this text, looking for literal answers, and I do not tell others how the bible offers shortcuts. I simply write the lessons that God gives me. Sometimes they are long, sometimes hard, but I feel so blessed to learn them first hand.

Thank you for celebrating today with me. I am leaving you with my 100th post. I called it, The 100th Post Of Stink. It was written before I used pictures or colors, so a little has changed since then. I do like that lesson, though.

Thank you for supporting me. I have loved all 200 moments with you.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

God Will Seek It Out

God is omnipotent...omnipresent...omniscient...omni

He has the world in His hand and the universe in His reach.

I can only imagine that is a lot to manage. I have been listening to A Woman Inspired Conference this week. Managing even my little household is a full-time job. Do you know how to use a miter? I certainly don't. I am stunned by the organization and skill of some of the speakers...stunned. I have a long way to go.

In my daily hustle and bustle, I will admit that I don't take the time to seek out some of the little pieces of life. They are significant, but they are just little.

I can, but don't, dwell in the place where decisions start. I put out the fires where they end a great deal of the time.

The problem enters when I notice the result of my negligence. I did not gain twenty pounds as the result of swallowing a twenty pound bowling ball. I did it one Sweet Potato Chip at a time (that is what I am eating right now).

I do not seek "it" out...the little place.

I think that I want God to be like me. I want Him to not bother seeking out the little nuggets of eventual consequence. I want to make decisions on the fly, and apologize later. If asked, I would tell you that I am prayerful and I desire His will, but I know things that you don't. There are times that I go on autopilot. When I traveled this month, there were things that took a back seat. I squeezed in quiet times and prayed as I went. Forgiveness was an afterthought and confession came slowly. The truth is, when I am negligent, I always suffer.

God is not like me. God is never negligent. God resides where the fires rage, at the end of decisions, as well as the quiet inception of every journey. Not only that, but He seeks "it" out.

God seeks out every emotion...every thought...every heart...omni

In the pride of their countenance the wicked say, "God will not seek it out". - Psalm 10:4a, NRSV

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Sky Reflects His Mystery

First in my thoughts has been coming back to the blog world, after my trip. I waited to write until after I had listened to the last session of the A Woman Inspired – Nurturing Creativity & Efficient Living conference, today. It was so informative and Spirit filled. This online conference is going on the rest of the week, so if you have time you can sign up, too. It is going to be refreshing.

And, off of that wonderful topic…

I talked a little about my trip home last week. I desperately tried to take a picture of the sky for you, but my camera is too dinky. I guess this picture will have to do. When you walk out the door at my childhood home, you are just surrounded by the sky. It is so dark and the stars are so bright. They live as far as I can see in all directions. I can even see the cloudy looking, beyond distinguishable stars, dusty heavenly realms (my masters is in theology, not stars). Oh, it just makes my jaw drop.

I remember walking from my dad’s house to my sister’s house one night. It was so bright and welcoming, I thought that Christ had returned. I believed that if I just kept walking, I would be lifted up into that sky and taken home. I kept waiting for noise. I was just missing the trumpets, and apparently my mouth trumpet was not a satisfactory instrument to prompt His return. I tried.

My nephew and I used to lie on the trampoline and stare at that sky. So when he came to visit last summer, I took him to the planetarium. The “tour guide” was a wonderfully knowledgeable, and friendly man. It was such a pleasure to hear of the wonders of God’s hand from a secular perspective. It is still just as marvelous. Of course, I might have been the only person thinking that in the crowd. Maybe.

I am rusty on the details, now, so forgive me for my less than scientific approach. The topic was two little satellites destined for greatness as they mapped the solar system. This was so fascinating because they were never meant to get that far. They had a destination in mind and everything looked ok, until one of them took a wrong turn.

Why? Because scientists did not understand the universal nature of gravity.

We are so small. The inventor of gravity is so gracious to give me a sky to stand under, dumbfounded. He is so gracious to place me inside of the mystery of His universe. As He lets these little satellites travel His big creation, could it be showing us the magnitude of Him? Could it be showing the minuscule nature of me?

I believe that He revels in placing us inside the mysteries that no one can (look at marriage!). I need only to stand outside my dad’s house, looking up, to see the joy of His mystery.

I made the earth, and created humankind upon it; it was my hands that stretched out the heavens, and I commanded all their host. – Isaiah 45:12, NRSV

I am thrilled to be back in your company my friends. I will be catching up with you in the next few days.

P.S. I am posting from my new computer. It is a Mac, so I am working out kinks. I am seeing a lot of strange things, so just ignore them for now. Thanks.

Is there anything that I missed and just have to see? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Down The Home Stretch

I am on the second half of my trip to see my family, which explains my lack of blog time. I have managed to hit two deadlines while traveling, by the grace of God and tethering.

It seems like something is missing out of my days when I do not blog; so, I will be eager to get home and back to my normal schedule. I have not been able to check in on my bloggy friends, and I miss all of you so much.

My mother and I toured around visiting family. I drove to a different town for 5 days. So, it was so nice to get to my dad’s house where I grew up. I have done very little since I got here, and that is the way we like it.

I took a few pictures on my walk this morning that I thought I would share with you.

This is part of the driveway between the house and the highway. When I was in high school, I could taste the freedom at the end of this road. I was so sure that as long as I kept going in that direction, life would be fair and wonderful. It took many years for life to be wonderful but it had nothing to do with this road. Now this road looks like a great place to take a walk.

Lots of things happened on this road, though. I have walked, ridden, run and managed many miles on this road . Once, I flipped myself over the handlebars of a four wheeler on this road. I ended up doing a full flip while holding on, landing in a back bend. It turns out that I broke too fast. I didn't tell anyone about that. I guess that I have lost my ability to be embarrassed over many things.

On one side of this road my whole family were riding horses and one got spooked. My sister's horse bucked her off and drug her. My horse bolted to the barn. I can't remember what everyone else did. What a crazy memory!

I found a friend on this road, today. I thought that he was handsome.

This is what I found at the end. Going home is an adventure.

Howdy from home!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

They Found No Exemplify

The nurses told me how to get on the MRI table. This is one of those times that I wish I was good with directions. They were kind enough to help me through the process. I ended up face down with my right breast secured, surprisingly like a mammogram, by the clamp that had appeared through the hole in the table.

As awkward as all of it might seem, it had become a norm to me. I just wanted this day to be over. I would have stood on my head to get the answer to this question that had already consumed two months of our life…is it cancer?

To read more, click here, and join me at Exemplify's Devotional Channel...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Moments On The Sidelines

I am about to take a road trip with my mom. It should be a really fun time. The older we get, the harder it is to make those dates together. They are so valuable, but seem to wiggle off the pages of our calendars. These dates create the moments that bring smiles to us when we clean the house, or buy groceries. I know that this trip will fill the storehouse of smiles for a long time to come.

Before we get together for holidays or vacations, our phone time increase exponentially. This is a phenomenon that I cannot explain. I went over my minutes in December because I was arranging plans with people that I would see in the next few days. One might just wait and do everything face-to-face, but we are a people who talk about everything in stages. So, more phone time.

In this tradition, I was talking to my mom on the phone this morning. We were talking about the times in your life when your job is to do little.

Most of the time, I pray for God to do much with me, to work much through me, in me, around me, and use me mightily. When I pray, I think big. God is big. I think that I want to be prepared in case I need to learn how to fly, or I am called to be one of a handful running around my city as it falls. I am all about being prepared.

That was not what we were talking about. We talked about God is calling us to the small jobs. We (my mom and I) are prone to take over a situation when we see better solutions to really easy problems. So, should I just walk in the door with my computer and planner while the theme from Mighty Mouse blares in the background? No, probably not…she says reluctantly.

When we have our big vision, when we know what is best, how do we just sit on the sidelines and leave it to the ones who are clearly under qualified? (My mentor and I have already determined that I am a controller of people…thank you CTO!) WE JUST DO! If God wanted me to work out the plan, he would give me the power of attorney for all the people I need to fix. To date, this has not happened.

My mom and I were talking about how to pray for this. I need to pray for God to show me what my job is, and be open to cameos. I need to ask Him to prepare me for my job. If I do this, I will be able to encourage from the sidelines, to keep my communication from becoming a stumbling block to others, and to support the plan that God has ordained.

Without prayer, I know exactly what would happen. I would appoint myself in leadership of this project. I would assume authority that was not divinely given to me and I would move away from God’s covering and into enemy territory. That is where I find the fear and frustration. That is where the strife will not leave me alone and my Spirit will not rest. This is a tough place to pitch my tent.

Today, my mom and I are praying for our sideline positions. We are praying that we can know, and be prepared for our jobs. In fact, we are planning to be the best stinkin’ sideliners that this world has ever seen. Right mom?

Do you ever “know best”? How do you deal with that?

Monday, January 11, 2010

It Was All In A Pause

Sometimes, I lose it in the pauses.

This is important because some of the better things in life happen in pauses.

I remember the pause right before my husband kissed me for the first time on the edge of the Grand Canyon.

Pauses in music are good. They allow us to catch our breath for the next line.

When I run, I like pauses. In fact, I prefer them to running on the less fantastic days.

There is nothing like the first pause in a crazy week. The one where you sit in a chair or on the bed and think, “Oh, just give me this moment”, as you breath out slowly.

We pause life when we sit with the Lord.

There is always a pause before someone blurts out that they are pregnant (no I am not).

Pauses are the temporary hold of the present in anticipation of a relentless future. They are brief. They are intentional.

When Jesus had come down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; and there was a leper who came to him and knelt before him, saying, “Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean.” (Matthew 8:1 & 2, NRSV)

Lord if you choose, you can make me clean.


I hear this pause. This man aches from his disease, and his hands and feet are weak. His skin is inflamed. His is alone, but he wouldn’t be able to feel the soft touches of his family, anyway. His eyesight is failing him, and he is in danger of losing his fingers and toes.

And he says, Lord, if you choose, you can make me clean…and then he waits. This pause seems to last forever in my mind.

Sometimes, I lose it in the pauses. I fail to make it though that eternal second, waiting for the answers that I crave. I can’t imagine the other side of that second when a voice will complete all my needs, spoken and unspoken. The interior of a pause can bring the ache of a lifetime.

He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed (Matthew 8:3, NRSV).

Unlike my friend, I do not always hear God say, “I do choose”. I do not immediately see that I am free or clean. The landscape and the people sometimes look and act the same.

But, like my friend, I always have a moment. It is my pause. This moment hangs in time while Jesus stretches out His hand to me. He touches His daughter, His beloved. I know that whether He chooses or not isn’t important. It is the pause in His presence that matters.

I think this is on my mind because I still do not feel that the rush of the holidays is over. Are you still going at holiday speed? Do you need a pause?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Caffeinated Randomness and Over The Top!

I actually posted my Caffeinated Randomness, yesterday. So I will link to that from here. I am so glad that Andrea, at Under Grace and Over Coffee, is doing this again. It makes my Fridays so enjoyable to indulge in what feels like a natural mindset. Did I mention that I stopped drinking coffee? It was so much easier than I thought it would be. I have more energy late in the day, which was when I basically capsized.

Believe me, though, my CR is random and worth peaking at if you have ever hated filling out a form. It is titled, Oh, I'm More Than Just A Housewife.

I switched my Randomness because I was given this lovely prize, and I needed just a little more time to pull it together.

My dear little friend, Christy, at Critty Joy, has honored me with a blog award. It goes without saying that I adore her and her beautiful blog that she changes for each season. I have got to become more like her this year. If you want to see real writing and a real heart, go see Christy. It is no wonder that she got this award, she is definitely over the top.

I just saw the my friend Lauren at Living by Faith, also gave me this award, which is funny because I gave it to her (see below). Since I am about to post, she will just have to get it right back. I love that girl and she is over the top.

Here are the Rules:

Use only one word answer the questions, pass along to six favorite bloggers, and tell 'em you did so.

1. Where is your cell phone? somewhere

2. Your hair?

3. Your mother?

4. Your father?

5. Your favorite food?
mac n’ cheese

6. Your dream last night? none

7. Your favorite drink?

8. Your dream/goal? home

9. What room are you in?

10. Your hobby?

11. Your fear?

12. Where do you want to be in six years? here

13. Where were you last night? home

14. Something that you aren't?

15. Muffins? bran

16. Wish list item? towels

17. Where did you grow up? California/Texas

18. Last thing you did? treadmill

19. What are you wearing? exercise

20. Your TV? off

21. Your pets? napping

22. Friends? loved

23. Your life? precious

24. Your mood? content

25. Missing someone? hubby

26. Vehicle? vroom…

27. Something you're not wearing? makeup

28. Your favorite store? none

29. Your favorite color? orange

30. When was the last time you laughed? last night

31. Last time you cried? thinking…

32. Your best friend?(s) handsome

33. One place that I could go over and over? Chicago

34. One person who emails you regularly? Bobbie Brown

35. Favorite place to eat? home

There are just people who I love in the bloggy world, and I really could go on and on…

Lauren, your heart is precious. I love to hear her faith and her quest for Tucker. I know she already got this, but those are not the rules. I think that she gives and gives. Lauren’s heart is over the top.

Andrea is caffeinated and graceful. Her journey is so real and wonderful…and most importantly faithful. I am still not sure why she lives in the arctic circle, but Canada needs good bloggers, too. I learn a lot about their holidays from her. Andrea’s genuineness is over the top.

Victoria, my wonderful prayerful friend. All you have to do is look at her blog to see that she grows daily in Him. It is a privilege to call this girl my friend. She is one of a kind, and I appreciate her. Victoria’s growth is over the top.

Jenn grew up with my husband. She is the real deal. Jenn lives a life led by the Father and passes it to her children. She is inspiring and writes beautiful pieces. She is just as sweet as she appears to be. Jenn always gives her heart to her readers. Jenn’s compassion is over the top.

Amy, and I can’t help it that Christy already picked her; I adore her too! So, Amy tells of the faithful family. She is so close to her new baby, I bet she can just taste it. I just saw today that they are number 22. Amy is a go getter and refuses to sit this life out. I get so pumped up when I read her. Amy’s enthusiasm is over the top.

Alisa…for pity’s sake, that girl can write. I just love to sit with a big glass of water and recharge over her latest thought. She is phenomenal and I am uncertain if there is anything she says no to. Alisa’s writing is over the top.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Oh, I'm More Than Just A Housewife

There is something about filling out a form that leaves me bothered.

I am not unemployed. I am not unfulfilled. I am not unchallenged. I am a housewife, technically, but in the much larger sense I have an extremely layered existence. My life is rich with relationships and activities. I teach, I volunteer, I write and, yes, I make a great home for my husband and I. My man knows that he can count on me when he is not here to get things done. I have a job, here in my home.

Even better than that, my life is used in so many ways everyday because I don’t clock in. I have the privilege of God unraveling my schedule on most days so that I can see Him do amazing things with my time. I get up in the morning, refreshed, and I am busy until I get in bed at night…and I don’t even have kids (that is why I am refreshed)!

But on a form, I am just a nothing.

I am tired of it, and you can help me.

I want a new title.

Someone was laughing the other day about domestic engineer, but to be honest, I am not really sure what that means. So, I put together a few of my own.

When people ask me what I do, I can say,

I run a multi-species cohabitational experiment.

I manage the small scale evolution of a specific people group.

I am the director of a community living program.

I am the director of hospitality at a local estate.

I am part of the managerial team of W.E.D.

Let’s get on this, ladies! Help me out and give us a new title. Leave all of your thoughts in the comments below. I know I can count on you.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Some Fudge, Some Fruit, and Some Agreement

Things that I know from this New Year 2010 thing:

Any song by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons makes it a party.

There are still no good shows on TV this week.

I am going to have to work hard to switch over to the Mac that my husband bought me for Christmas, but it is SO COOL!

I need to look at the food pyramid again because I am pretty sure that fudge is not a food group represented therein.

I have not seen, “I want to be more intentional about repentance”, on anyone’s New Year’s resolutions.

Not that I blame anyone, of course. It is not on mine, but let me tell you what I do see. The Christian women who are making goals and resolutions are largely acclaiming the furtherance of the Spirit’s work in their lives. Losing weight, that is self-control. Increasing the intensity of devotional times is faithfulness.

(Here is a thought, what if we set one goal for each fruit of the Spirit? I just thought of that. Interesting method?)

I have found that when we intentionally seek fruit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) and allow it to be sown, ripened and picked through our lives, we feel more content and intentional about our lives.

So, this arbitrary mark, once a year, makes us stop and feel uncomfortable about the areas where fruity growth is lacking. I have no idea where this discomfort is the rest of the year. I must save it up.

The other source of discomfort is comparison. It is easy to compare ourselves to others and want what they have. This is not fruitful growth, though. It stems from fear, whether it is not feeling adequate or having a poor body image, etc. Donna Otto says, “Faithfulness and fear do not coexist”. That has proven true in my life.

Going back to the topic of repentance...Matthew 1:21 (NRSV), tells us, “She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

That is why Jesus came, to save us from our sin. He saved us from eternity apart from Him, and He saved us from lives without hope and purpose. We are driven to bear His fruit because He saved us from the alternative.

The Savior has claimed the object of His salvation.

This is where repentance becomes real. Repentance means changing one’s mind. It is a movement away from what is now understood as wrong, to right. The movement is the really the important part of it. My favorite understanding of repentance is from a wonderful friend who says, “Repentance is when you finally tell God that you agree with Him”. The object of His salvation moves into agreement with the Savior.

I read this verse last week and it has been playing out in my head ever since then.

Bear fruit worthy of repentance. (Matthew 3:8, NRSV)

Or, if you prefer…

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. (Matthew 3:8, NIV)

The fruit that we bear needs to be worthy of repentance. Our fruit needs to be sown and grown and ripened in the field of repentance. This is the field watered with blood of Christ. It needs to be esteemed alongside the act of changing our mind and moving from what is wrong to what is right for us, and our homes.

Sounds a bit like making resolutions, doesn’t it? The thing that I have not done, while making my resolutions, is repent in the areas that I lacked last year. This verse tells me that it does not start with making more plans to bear fruit in 2010. It starts by pulling my heart in line with His. It starts by agreeing that, in some areas, I was not what I could have been last year. To be honest, there were moments that I simply wasted His time. The reason that I did not accomplish some of these things is my lackadaisical will. I was just lazy. I wasn’t alert. I agree with Him. That was my fault.

Repentance brings our minds in line with the Spirit of Christ, our comforter while He is away. Is it no wonder that fruit can only come from such a humbling act?

Thank you for sharing all of your resolutions for 2010. It has been wonderful to read them and see the places that God wants to grow fruit in your lives. I have read most of them, but I would love to see more. If you are doing resolutions, leave me a comment. I would love to visit.

Monday, January 4, 2010

One More Trick to Goal Setting

This is not really what we are talking about, but everyone else is so I thought I would enter the conversation.

I ran across Donna Otto last year. She was at the Youniquely Woman conference with Kay Arthur and Emilie Barnes. I immediately got her book, Secrets to Getting More Done in Less Time. The title sounds a bit like a method of making your life busier; instead, it is a way to live out the details more efficiently so there is room for God to work through moments of life.

Many of these ideas are simply my interaction with the book. Donna really clarified goal setting to me, and as she points out it begins with priorities.

Priorities are those roles that only you can fulfill. God has given this job to you and only you. They are your core identity on paper. I fought this a little because I did not want to condense myself that far. I thought that I was too complex to widdle myself down, but it is really that simple. When you define who God has made you to be (as you can understand it right now), it can steer every decision and every goal.

So, let me give some examples,

1) I alone am responsible for my relationship with God.

2) I alone am responsible for who I am and who I become. I have to intentionally seek intellectual, physical and spiritual health and advancement.

3) I alone can be my husband’s wife. I am the only one who can minister to him, love him, respect him and care for him as a wife.

4) I alone can manage my household. I am ultimately responsible for every dust bunny and meal with or without help.

These priorities tell me that anything falling outside of God’s jobs for me is not my responsibility, unless He wants to grow my area of influence (add priority). These priorities also tell me that when I do not take care of one of these areas, it is my fault. I used to be full of excuses for the resulting discontent of neglecting priorities, whether mild or extreme. I have found in the last year that when I care for these areas, my God given jobs, I am content and peaceful.

Enter goal conversation…All of my goals stem from my priorities. Priorities help to see where life gets cluttered. There is so much that we are involved in that is not our business. When the clutter was gone, I could set goals that magnified my God jobs.

Saying this, I hold my ideas for 2010 loosely, soliciting God to move as He desires through my life because that is the exciting part. Meanwhile, I am a big advocate of preparation. I tell the high school girls, “You’re gonna’ become somebody, so you might as well have a say in it”. I just can’t get upset when plans change.

And that is all that I have to say about goal setting.

Do you have anything to say about it? Are you sick of hearing about it, yet?

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