Friday, December 31, 2010

What if to What is

Happy New Year (well almost)  I don't really do resolutions so much.  I just get frustrated when I don't live up to them.  I have heard numerous times though that things are more likely to be followed through if they are in writing.  So, I'll consider this my in writing. 

This is not a goal necessarily.  More a way of reminding myself to change where I place my focus.  So often I get caught up in "what if" this or that happens.  You know what?  Most of the what ifs I worry about?  Don't happen.  Think of the time I can gain (?!?!?) by only dealing with what is and what I would like to see happen.  If I add to that speaking out loud positive words instead of whining about the negative, I will also be better off.

Life seems to continue to go faster and faster.  Wasting time on what if isn't going to slow it down any.  Live in the moment.  Enjoy time with family and friends.  Be grateful for what is.

James 4:13-15 (NIV) Boasting About Tomorrow 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NIV) 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Contest Rules - Bible style

I just read contest rules that once again state:  Many will enter, few will win.  I always thought that was kind of humorous.  Of course, only a few will win...unless there were unlimited prizes.  I started thinking that I had heard a Bible verse that went like that.  There was something about a gate and many entering.  So I checked (WONDERFUL resource.  Type in a few key words or read through chapters and books) and found:

Matthew 7 (NIV) 13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Unfortunately, reading this?  Many enter the easier, more accessible gate.  The narrower gate leads to LIFE, but few find it.   

Praying that we can bring a light to the gateway and usher others through that narrow gate to life.  Then all who will enter.....will win.

The Way Home (a review)

The movie (rated PG only for thematic elements and some tobacco use) is based on a true story of the day a 2 year old went missing and how the family handled it.  A dad, busy providing for his family, is supposed to be leaving for vacation that day.  A mom, stressed out from getting everything ready for vacation….and finding out her husband, supposed to be helping, is still at work….providing.  When he finally makes it home, they are scheduled to pick up their other 2 boys from school.  Their 2 year old son plays in the driveway.  The difference just a few minutes and decisions can make.  The dad runs inside for a few minutes that turned into a few more minutes.  When he returns to the driveway, their son’s tricycle is in the driveway and the son is nowhere in sight. 
After briefly looking for him themselves, it becomes obvious they are going to need help.  A 911 call is made.  A great part of the movie is how the community comes together to aid in the search.  There are many scenes sharing how the word spread and churches all over were praying for them that day.  I don’t want to give too much of the story away.  Let’s leave it at the movie cover states “based on the inspirational true story”.    

The movie did a good job portraying a view of an everyday family and the stresses and joys.  As a parent, it is an excellent reminder that time with our children goes by faster than we realize and we need to be in the moment with them as much as we can. 

The movie dad is played by Dean Cain from, among other things, Louis and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.  Cain proves that dads ARE Superman to their kids.  However, if a dad isn’t careful, their child gets used to their dad not paying attention or spending time with them.  Overall, this was an underlying theme of the movie.   I was unfamiliar with many of the other actors, but the performances were well done.  The music during the movie and the credits is definitely worth a listen. 

I applaud the family for sharing their story and the moviemakers for making it.  It takes a lot of courage to share our struggles as families.  Even though it would be easy to place blame, the message comes across of love, forgiveness and the fact that sometimes things just happen.  Even then God can turn them into life lessons.  The special features are also worth a watch the real family tells their story.  Note: Don’t watch until AFTER you’ve watched the movie!

I received a copy of this DVD to review and the opinions are my own.  I was not told I had to like it, just share my opinion.  Honestly, I put off watching this movie because of the content and the guilt I feel for the times that I have made the same mistake the father in the movie made.   There were times as our kids were growing up that I did not pay attention enough or got busy doing something else. 

The only downside of this movie I can see is that people will make the same mistake I made.  I urge you to support filmmakers that are making films with an actual message worth watching and learning from.  This movie would also be a good discussion starter for a small group. 

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Gift.......Unopened?

Merry Christmas!  I hope and pray that your day has been blessed with times spent with family and friends....and rejoicing in the real reason we need to celebrate.  Christmas serves as a reminder that the world does not revolve around "me" or "us", but about sharing joy and love to others.

I started thinking of all the gifts that were bought for today.  Some with a lot of thought....some just to say it was done or the "perfect" gift could not be found.  Tomorrow the lines will start with the return of the gifts that might not be the right size.....or right color.....or just not what we wanted.

We were given a gift for Christmas, but it may not always look like what we wanted....or needed.  Sometimes we get so busy thinking about what we want we forget about sharing what we have already received.  A gift unopened is a gift not enjoyed by the receiver.......or the giver.   

The Unopened Gift by KL

Amongst all the wrappings and tossed off bows
Shining brightly in the Christmas light glow

Sits an unopened gift with a tag marked “To: You”
We all start to question, this gift is for who?

The gift has obviously been there awhile
We overlooked it while we all talked and smiled

The wrapping is beat up and covered with dust
The bow askew and slightly mussed

Upon looking closer I notice the “From:”
I start to cry softly as the others come

It was a gift to be shared
To show that Someone cared

I show the rest of the card
To:  You ……  From, God

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” - Isaiah 9:6

 Romans 6 (NIV) 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. 

2 Corinthians 9 (NIV) 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift! 

Revelation 22:17 (NIV) The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.

Praying for us that when we are aware of someone that has not opened the gift of eternal life that we will not be afraid to let them know what happened when we unwrapped that gift.  Go tell it on the mountain and everywhere!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Do you have room?

A week before Christmas. The tree is up.  The lights are on.  A gentle snow is falling.  The presents are wrapped.  The sound of Christmas music lingers in the air.  Family traditions.  Cookie making.

Everything is right with the world.  Or is it? 

The tree was knocked over by the pets.  Some lights are out.  More snow.  Another gift to buy? The hustle and bustle of overfilled parking lots and long lines at stores.  Hark the Herald Angels....AGAIN?  Who's coming over?  Burned batches of Christmas cookies.  Stomach ache from eating too many cookies.  Who cares if they're slightly crispy?

Try and make it to church to hear the Christmas story and be reminded of why we really celebrate.

I heard a song on the radio today:  While You Were Sleeping by Casting Crowns.  Maybe I've heard it before, but today it sunk in.  The song talks about Bethlehem and the city not realizing who they did not make room for.  The city of Jerusalem not realizing the fact that they killed the Savior.  The United States of America - will we be ready when we get another chance to make room for Jesus when He returns? 

Luke 2:6-7 (NIV)   6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7 and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

It was not only the innkeeper or the town of Bethlehem that did not make room.  It was not only the city of Jerusalem that crucified their Savior.  It is not only the nation of the USA that is not making room or spreading the news of His coming again.  It is me.....and  maybe you....getting to caught up in the season and all its busy-ness that we have forgotten.....Jesus needs room.....still.

Will you be sleeping?  Will you recognize Him?  Will you make room?

John 1: 9-13 (NIV)  
 9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What kind of loving God?

Occasionally, we have on Family Guy for a few minutes.....that's about how long it takes for something said to make me say, "Ugh! Change the channel!"  One of the most recent occasions appeared to be for  Christmas.  I should say "holiday" (which I am normally against), but in this case would fit better.  "Santa" took somebody through the workshop filled with deformed elves....and eventually said, "What kind of loving God would allow this to happen?"

That was my UGH moment.  Channel changed.  The thought and question lingered...and still does.  I know it does for a lot of people - and not about elves.  When things go badly in our own lives or the world, we are quick to question God...even if He was not a consideration before.  It becomes a convenient way of dodging the possibility of God.  A loving God would be more in control.  He would not let these things happen.  People get caught up in "religion" and the actions of people that may not be the best example of a believer.

Relationship is what God wants with us....not religion.  Often, God is referred to as a heavenly father.  This is hard for someone to picture if their earthly father is not a great example of love and kindness.  They let this taint their relationship with God.  The teenager/parents relationship remind me of this.  We want to do our own thing, but we want mom and dad there to clean up the messes we get in along the way.  We don't always want to be responsible for the choices we make.

We don't always consider seeking Him BEFORE we make a decision that could end up badly, but we are quick to place blame when it doesn't turn out as we'd hoped.

I think the "loving God" comments come from things we feel like we can't control and we feel that SOMEBODY should.  However, is that really true?  Did God decide to "genetically enhance" our foods and products?  Did God decide that women really don't need to be inconvenienced with a monthly we'll just take some meds and skip it?  Did God decide to put up huge cell towers and create technology that can pull us further away or push us closer (depending on how it is used)? 

I could argue myself right into a corner.  I guess my point is that sometimes as humans, WE have DECIDED to "improve" upon God's plan.  Some of the improvements can prove hazardous to our health.  Is that God's fault or ours?  Does that mean He is not loving?

When you need to fight a battle, do you need Mr. Nice Guy OR do you need a knight in shining armor willing to lay down His life for yours?  When you screw up, do you need somebody that constantly reminds you of your mistake OR somebody that forgives you and loves you anyway?

We can be LOVED through anything that this life throws at us.  God promises us everlasting love.  Love that we don't have to earn.  We just have to be.  What kind of loving God does that?

Jeremiah 31:3 (Message)
God told them, "I've never quit loving you and never will.
   Expect love, love, and more love!

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
   neither are your ways my ways,”
            declares the LORD.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
   so are my ways higher than your ways
   and my thoughts than your thoughts

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sticks and Stones....Watch Your Mouth

Ahhh, the mouth.  Such a small part of our body, but oh the damage it can do when we let it get out of control.

As the old saying goes:  Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. That is SO far from the truth.  Anybody who has been attacked by words will tell you differently.  Even those who try to be careful of what is said may occasionally suffer from word vomit.  Word vomit is when what you think comes out of your mouth so fast, there is no stopping it and if anybody is in your way, they better move!

One of the bad things about words is that they can't be taken back.  Once you've said something, it's out there, probably gets repeated to others and then all that's left is damage control and hopefully asking for forgiveness.

It only takes a few seconds if our guard is down.  I think I usually keep my words to others pretty positive.  However, a few days ago I was stopped at a red light.  I could turn left if it was clear.  I was busy talking to our daughter and didn't turn when I possibly had a chance too.  The person behind me honked once and maybe even twice.  I am embarrassed to admit this, but I flew a bird and dropped a bomb quicker than I thought possible.  I apologized to my daughter, but I couldn't take back what I did and said.

I used an example in youth group one time with blocks.  It took awhile to build a good sized tower.  I gave the kids other blocks and told them to let some mean words fly when they threw their block at the tower.  The tower was quickly destroyed.  We talked about how much longer it takes to build it up then tear it down.

The same is true with people.  When we don't pay close attention to what we say to others, we can tear them down.  This can cause negative thoughts to flow through their mind and they may get stuck in a loop of repeating it to themselves.  This can cause them to say hurtful things to someone else....and it ripples outward from there.

Words may not cause visible bruises, but they can easily cause as much, if not more pain than a physical blow.  Physical blows (sticks and stones) heal, emotional verbal blows take longer to recover from.

Try and remember the power of words.  Sometimes silence really is golden.

Matthew 12:33-35 (The Message) 

33"If you grow a healthy tree, you'll pick healthy fruit. If you grow a diseased tree, you'll pick worm-eaten fruit. The fruit tells you about the tree.

 34-37"You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It's your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation."

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Fate of Baby "Wiggles"

“For the first time, your vote on the topic of abortion can make a difference.” This is the statement at the top of a website: . It seemed a horrifying joke that parents-to-be would put the fate of their baby in the hands of the internet public. However it appears to be for real. A couple from Minnesota put up the site for their fourth pregnancy. It appears that there were two prior miscarriages recently and three pregnancies total. The website allowed a vote on whether to abort or give birth to the baby the couple named “Wiggles”. The vote was to stay open until December 7, two days before the December 9th deadline when an abortion could still be legally obtained in that state.

Over 2 million “votes” were cast. The poll closed as of November 28. This seems largely due to a website inundating the birthornot site with an abortion vote. As of the close of the vote, approximately 78% of the vote was for abortion with a mere 22% for birth. It seems many did not take it seriously or thought that a couple that would willingly ask the public to decide should not have a child. The results are supposedly being sent to a third party to verify and remove double and suspected fake votes. The site still promises that the results will be public.

Originally, there was an “out” clause listed on the site. However, since many people are questioning the legitimacy of the poll, it seems to have been removed. The husband’s mother was quoted as saying they would have the right to veto it, just like the president. There has been much web discussion on the real intention of the site. Many refer to the fact that the father has been on other websites appearing to be conservative and right-wing.

The site follows a “He Said”/”She Said” format in a sort of online journal describing the pregnancy. If read from the beginning (oldest posts), the fear of continuing the pregnancy is evident. The last miscarriage was fairly recent. The miscarriages showed genetic issues. Some of the posts sound selfish and probably should have been considered before getting pregnant. Many of the posts contain facts about Baby Wiggles size or ultrasound pictures.

The couple has received numerous comments on each post. Several seem very negative and hateful. The couple refers to receiving personal e-mail through the site that has been more positive. They have had several offers to adopt if the poll ends up abortion. There has been lots of media regarding the site. It appears the wife lost her job, mainly due to the controversy of the site. This is probably an unexpected casualty in a war already appearing winless.

While the method may be completely unorthodox, it does seem to get people conversing about pro-life/pro-choice. A pro-choice person who would not think of purposely looking at an ultrasound has received exposure to the fact that Baby Wiggles LOOKS like a baby. This is a poll that if this child is brought to term, will eventually recognize the uproar regarding his/her life. While the fate of Baby Wiggles is being decided somewhere in a statistical formula, we can pray for that little life and the thousands of other little lives that are not even being polled.

Psalm 139:13-16 (NIV) 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Give Thanks...His love endures forever

“Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.” - Psalm 136:1,26

I have put off writing.  I don't really even know why.  Well, I guess I kind of do.  When I write, I need to come down from my little mountaintop of believing everything is good and I'm handling life just fine.  If I help everybody else, I can ignore my own "issues" or whatever the new buzzword is.

Then I looked at my blog because I wanted to put something on it (coupon database from Consumer Queen - scroll WAAAAYYY down).  I realized how long it has been since I wrote on here.  Sometimes the "Verse of the Day" gives me a good starting point.  It WAS something about telling people what God has done for you.  Good thought and I don't do near enough....or I don't give credit where credit is due.  By the time I finished what I wanted to do, the verse changed to the one above.  Also timely, especially with Thanksgiving this past week.

Sometimes I give "thanks" too much.  I have a habit of saying thanks for everything even before I fully complete what I'm doing or another person is doing for me.  So I GIVE thanks, but am I really thankful?    Have I taken time to be thankful FOR His love that endures forever?  The verse was a good reminder to me that God's love will help me no matter what....even on my way down from the mountaintop.  Mainly because I don't have to do it myself.  God is at the top, He's at the bottom...and He's in the struggles and battles in the middle.

Because these verses mentioned 1 and 26, I went and read the whole Psalm.  It really is beautiful.  It tells the story of creation, the struggles that He helped the Israelites through, and at the end talks about us.  Each line ends with "His love endures forever".  If you would like to look it up: 

The Message version refers to that line as "His love never quits".  Both are good....and true.  His love doesn't give up....even when I feel like it.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Finding Your Strong Tower

Today, I was physically reminded of the protection provided by buildings. It has been extremely windy in our area the past few days. The last couple were windy, but warm. When I headed out the door today, I didn't grab my coat...figuring the day would be similar to the last couple. WRONG! Today was windy, cold AND blowing rain.

I got out of my car and ran toward the door. There is a small stream area to run over on a bridge. NO protection from the blowing wind. I could feel the wind blowing roughly on my face and right through my sweat shirt. As I neared the door, the building juts out and offers some protection. Instantly warmer and dryer thanks to the roof overhead.

I thought about the verse regarding a strong tower. I was grateful for the protection provided by the walls of the building. I looked up some info on towers and was further reminded of the protection and advantages they serve.

Towers are tall which provides a good overview of an area. Towers offer protection from weather and enemies. Towers are strong and a good place of shelter during battles.

There are times in life when we feel unprotected and beat up by the battles that surround us. It is good to know that there is a tower waiting to provide protection, safety and a place of calm in the storm. The tower also offers the opportunity to look at the big picture and not just the little piece right in front of us.

Proverbs 18:10 (NIV) The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.

Praying that you find a strong tower in the name of the Lord. Do not be afraid to run there often....and be safe. We'll still have battles, but we will not fight alone.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Enemy: one that is antagonistic to another; especially : one seeking to injure, overthrow, or confound an opponent (Merriam-Webster)

"We have met the enemy and he is us" Walt Kelly

I'm thinking lately of all the things and excuses that I have let stand in my way of getting to where I want to be....or better yet, where God wants me to be. The dictionary definition refers to being antagonistic to another. However, I am coming to the conclusion that sometimes I become overly disappointed with myself. I am my own worst enemy...hence the eneME.

Eventually (I would like to say that it is taking less and less time, but still a work in progress), I start to realize that I am not as content. My feelings start to rule, and I start to believe that it's easier to give up then continue to fight. It takes courage to face our discouragement.

I have definitely noticed though that what I focus on can be used against me. When I get too busy to take time for devotions or I listen too much to music that doesn't lift me up, I start feeling like I'm losing the battle. The enemy starts to win and gains ground. Thankfully, God loves me (and you) too much to leave us alone to fight this battle.

Psalm 31:8 (NIV) You have not handed me over to the enemy but have set my feet in a spacious place.

The battle for our mind is ongoing.  We need to remember and keep reminding ourselves that we already have an enemy pursuing us.  Resist and stand firm.  Realize that God helps us fight ALL enemies....even the one within ourselves.  

1 Peter 5:7-9 (NIV) 7Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
 8Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 9Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Slipping of the Mask

We all wear a mask you know
it covers the feelings we don't think we should show.

We may feel sad or bad inside
or those feelings of anger we think we can hide.

But, we cover them up with the mask we wear.
Sometimes other people we're trying to spare
from the feelings of pain that don't go away.
We struggle and make it through one more day

Why does life sometimes seem so tough?
That no matter what we do it just isn't enough?

We try so hard to be what we think others want us to be
and in the process, we lose our me.

We might be an adult, but still feel like a child
inside where we hide our inside wild with our mask of mild.

The mask shows a smile when we'd rather cry.
Friends and family might try
to help us see......
it's enough "just" being me.

We hang around people with a smile on their face.
Our mask quickly slips back into place.

But what if their smile is also their mask?
We'll never know if we don't take time to ask.

When we stop being what we think people want or need us to be,
we find the mask can come off.  It's enough to be me.

Friday, October 01, 2010

Feel your pain

PAIN: localized physical suffering associated with bodily disorder (as a disease or an injury); also : a basic bodily sensation induced by a noxious stimulus, received by naked nerve endings, characterized by physical discomfort and typically leading to evasive action

Pain: physical, mental, emotional.  Pain can have a good result as in the birth of a baby.  That pain is sometimes quickly forgotten when we see that little one we have been waiting for.  Pain can keep us from further hurting ourselves as in feeling a hot stove and knowing we need to keep our hand away....or get burned.

"I feel your pain" Bill Clinton

Pain is unique to the person.  What brings pain to one of us might not cause someone else to even think twice about it.  While we can empathize with someone else going through a painful situation, it is impossible for us to know exactly what that person feels.  Some people refer to themselves as having a high pain tolerance.

However, it seems we have become a people eager to dull or remove our pain....or find evasive action as listed in the dictionary.  There is a pill for everything that ails you.  We can get so busy running around and keeping busy that the only way we slow down is when something starts to hurt.  Pain can serve a greater purpose by letting us know there's something wrong.  We need to feel our own individual pains before we can reach out to others and help them through their pain.

We are promised a coming day though when there will be no more pain.  Until then, may our pain never be wasted.  May we learn and grow through it and bring it to the ultimate healer.

Revelation 21:4 (NIV) He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."

Friday, September 24, 2010


Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right.
Henry Ford

I have watched an eagle glide gracefully across the sky in a lazy looking circle. I noticed that eagles do not do a lot of flapping. They seem to instinctively know that they can ride the wind and not waste a lot of energy.

Lately, I have not been very eagle-like. I feel like I'm flapping for all it's worth. I start the day out pretty positive that I can accomplish much. Then I watch the hours slip away and become easily overwhelmed as I realize how much "stuff" I have piled into one day. AND I can't get it all done so why start? "It" will still be there tomorrow waiting to get done. Unless I stop my flapping long enough and change my thinking, the can'ts will win tomorrow too. As soon as we put not on the end, the gliding ends and the flapping begins.

When I get in moods like that, I need to be careful not to push my can't, won't or don't on other people. Most have enough of their own flapping going on.

I was reminded in a song:

13 For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13 (NLT)

May we all be blessed with strength today and remind ourselves that we are not flying alone....flapping or gliding.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Handicap....judging :(

A thought hit me this AM.  The last 2 days my right ear was REALLY plugged up.  I could barely hear out of it.  The left one was pretty bad too.  I was at the grocery store buying a mylar balloon (grocery store because my local $ store closed :( and balloon....because I am the balloon buying, hair bang aunt to the triplets!).  So, I find a balloon that still has some helium in it (AND it says I LOVE YOU).  I go to pay and I kind of hear the cashier tell me the other lane can help me.  Both cashiers looked kind of annoyed as it took a few moments for my recognition as they gestured and started to talk louder.  I had not realized how bad my hearing had become.  A trip to the dr later in the day fixed the problem.  However, I have a deeper issue that needs some attention.

I thought back to a time many years ago when we had parked in a handicap space at a store.  My mom had a hurt leg, but wore a brace so it was not visible.  As we walked into the store, a "gentleman" (using the term generously) said "I was waiting to see which one of you was handicapped."

There are many handicaps that are not visible to the casual observer.  There are people that do not limit themselves by what others would consider a handicap. I so admire those people!  Where it would be easy to make excuses, they go above and beyond expectations.  There are casual observers who judge those seen as being handicapped.  Sadly, I have done that more than I would like to admit.  I have put limits on myself and others based on what I think they can and/or should do.

We truly never know what someone else is going through if we have already judged them and think we know.  Unless we take the time and effort to get to know someone better and truly listen to their story, we may miss out on the perseverance it takes to make it through the day.  Things we take for granted.  We need to see our way past the disability to the ability. 

I wasn't sure if I would find a verse to tie this together.  I typed "handicap" in and in the NIV version nothing came up.  The Message version though had this: 

2 Corinthians12  7-10 Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn't get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan's angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn't think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
   My grace is enough; it's all you need.
   My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ's strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Night Before School Starts

By KL 
Based on The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

'Twas the night before school starts, when all through the house

All the children were sleeping, even the spouse;

The backpacks were hung by the front door with care,

In hopes the kids would be ready when the bus would be there;

The children were rushing to get into their beds,

Soon visions of seeing friends danced in their heads;

While mom put back on the toothpaste cap,

Busy, busy no time for a nap,

From one of the bedrooms arose such a clatter,

Mom rushed right in there to see what was the matter.

Up to the bedside she flew like a flash,

Stepping on toys, she heard something smash.

Here was her child

Sometimes shy, sometimes wild

What to her wondering eyes should appear,

that the child had eyes of a headlight struck deer,

With all the mom know-how, so lively and quick,

She knew in a moment the child wanted to be sick

More rapid than eagles her excuses they came,

And she shared all her worries and called them by name;

What if I can’t find all my classes?
What if they don’t like my new glasses?
What of those bullies who teased me last year?
And what if I try out, but don’t get to cheer?

So out of mom’s mouth encouragement flew,

A smile, a hug, and a prayer too.

And then, in a twinkling, the morning was here

The beginning of another school year.

She came down the stairs in her new skinny jeans,

The mom shook her head and looked at her teen.

Mom started to think about all those years back,

When the only worry was what was for snack.

They heard the squeal from the brakes of the bus

Quick out the door, no more time to fuss.

She ran to the bus with just a quick wave

One more memory for mom to save.

As the bus drove on, out of her sight,

Mom quietly whispered “We’ll be all right”.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

The Genesis Code - my opinion.....GO SEE IT!

I saw The Genesis Code movie.  When I was invited to see it, I didn't even know what it was about...other than a lot of it was filmed in Grand Rapids.  I quickly checked before I went and found out it had something to do with spirituality and science. 

I was pleasantly surprised and hope that this movie makes its way into more theaters in the country.  Many times, movies that make you think don't tend to do that great in theaters.  It seems people want to sit and be entertained or horrified by what takes place on the screen. 

This movie has a little bit of everything: sports (hockey), college life, guy and a girl, believers and non-believers/questioning faith, science, gun shots, life support and the whole realm of questions that brings up.....

The movie seeks to answer the often asked question of how Genesis states the earth was created in 6 days, yet science can "prove" that the earth is indeed billions of years old....and what about dinosaurs?

The movie has some "stars".  A lot of the people I did not recognize, but still good acting.  It was a well produced movie....and if you live around Grand Rapids, it is interesting to try and recognize where they filmed.

This would be a great movie for middle school/high school age as well.  It deals with the pressure of being a believer among very politically correct friends, teachers and family.  It seems like the characters are supposed to be tolerant of everything and everyone (EXCEPT for Christians) as each person finds their own version of right and wrong.  Her "academic adviser" advises her that there is no absolute truth.  The adviser's viewpoint will give you much to think about what you believe and why.  Later, the adviser meets with the reverend and that is a great conversation as well.

Overall, it is a movie that will get you thinking and hopefully discussing with fellow viewers.  I usually have a hard time justifying the cost of seeing a movie in the theater.  However, if we want more movies that do more than just entertain and horrify, we need to support the film makers.  If you can't get to the theater, it will definitely be a great movie to watch as a church group, small study group, etc.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Vine(s)....and the wrestling

John 15:5-6 (NIV) 5"I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.

We worked in our yard recently. This is somewhat unusual as our yard is big and lots of things grow and live in it. Unless our yard has been mowed recently, it is probably the yard that bugs neighbors and people who really love yard work. I rarely appreciate more than the entrance way to our front door. I get busy, have to much to do....the yard just doesn't always seem at the top of the list. I guess it would be safe to say that I always wanted a garden....until I got one....and realized how much work it is.

When I actually took a walk around the yard with trimmers to cut down the plants that threaten to take over more than their fair share of space, I really looked. I don't know why, but I always feel bad cutting stuff off. Even if it is weeds. Some weeds really are quite pretty. Some are horribly ugly with some nice features like the prickly plant that gets bigger and bigger, but has some neat purple flowers that open eventually.

My goal for this yard excursion was to trim the vines that grow up through the cracks of the deck. They are actually rather nice looking, but they grow out of control. They grab onto the rails of the deck and work their way up. This time I caught them early enough that their grip had not tightened to much.

Upon further inspection of some of the trees at the backside of the house, I noticed that there were similar vines in the tree. I started pulling. Many of the vines required me pulling back with all my weight....and I still could barely move them. I looked closer and was amazed to see the detail of curves and grip and the toughness of the vine. One vine would have many offshoots and had wound itself around the branches of the tree.

I was reminded of the verse of the vine and the branches in the Bible. I debated how I was going to write this so it tied together because I was focusing on the vine being in the tree...instead of the vine. I started reading up some on vines. Most don't like shade, they want the sun. They grow upward and outward. Some spread very quickly. They are STRONG! (as I found out when I wrestled).

Jesus wants to be our vine, our support in our faith. We doesn't want us to stay in the shadows and darkness. He wants us to keep growing toward the light of the Son. As branches and offshoots, we are supposed to stay connected to the vine to keep growing. We need to be careful what we're clinging to and wrapping ourselves around.

Tonight, was the rest of my lesson. I had successfully wrestled and cut vines. I left them laying in the yard and the hot sun. They were removed from the source. Instead of being green and leafy, they had dried and died.

As an offshoot of the vine, I've removed myself many times. I've loosened my grip. I don't pray as much. I don't read the Bible as much. I don't take time for devotions/quiet time. I start to wither. If anyone wrestled with me, I'd pull away easily.

How about you? Are you a strong and healthy offshoot branch? or Are you feeling a little withered and in need of some help from THE Master Gardener?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Use What You Have

2 Kings 4 (NIV)

The Widow's Oil

 1 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, "Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the LORD. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves."
 2 Elisha replied to her, "How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?"
      "Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little oil."
 3 Elisha said, "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few. 4 Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side."
 5 She left him and afterward shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. 6 When all the jars were full, she said to her son, "Bring me another one." But he replied, "There is not a jar left." Then the oil stopped flowing.
 7 She went and told the man of God, and he said, "Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left."

I am not writing about oil because of spills ( BP or Kalamazoo), however it is pretty timely! 

I am thinking of this story because of the message of using what you have.  When asked what she had, the widow responded she had nothing except some oil.  From the response, it's easy to see she is focusing on the nothing....not the except or focusing on what she does have.  When she uses what she has, she is given more.  The limit becomes one of how many jars she has to fill up.  Elisha even told her to plan big and not just ask for a few.

During these tough economic times, it is easy to look around and say we have little or nothing.  What we do have is not always monetary.  We may have family and friends that are willing to stand with us through the feelings of fear and frustration of not being able to provide for our family the way we would like to.

We live in a time of bigger, better, more.  We need to realize that sometimes we need to use what we have to get to where God wants us to be.

God deals in exceptions.  Even if we have nothing, EXCEPT God....that can be enough.  Time to change our focus from what we do not have to what we do have.  Even when it seems we have little or nothing, that exception is something when it is in the right hands.

Father in heaven: So many times we limit you on what you can do and want to accomplish in our lives and through us to bless others.  Help us to realize that you are not a God of limits, you are a God of more than enough.  Help us know that often we don't need more, we need to use what we have and are already blessed with.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Set A Spell

Luke 2:46 (NIV)46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

The phrase "set a spell" has been running through my mind lately.  Probably because of family visits lately to the hospital and rehab, etc.  I also thought it was at the end of the Beverly Hillbillies TV show too.  It was (I had to check the lyrics...and now THAT'S running through my's a busy place up there!).

I think with technology and social sites spreading as fast as they are, we as a society and families are losing the fine art of setting a spell...taking time to slow down and listen to people....face to face....not Facebook or MySpace.  

When my mom was in the hospital in Utah years ago, a local church sent a lady through one of their ministries to come visit with us.  I was kind of worried about what we would find to talk about to a complete stranger.  We ended up having a very nice conversation.  

When we would visit our grandma at the nursing home, she and the others at the home were full of stories.  They appreciated having someone listen....and most of the time, we got a living history story.  

Sometimes we don't even need to fill the space with conversation, just having someone near us is enough. 

Talking, writing, a status update or a tweet can all equate to setting a spell.  However, I urge you to take the time this week to sit down (without the TV and computer or other distractions) and truly have a conversation with the people in your house, someone you work with who needs a friend, or even just taking a quiet time to listen to the small voice you only hear when you get quiet.

And just in case you would like the theme song running through your head also:  Sung at the end of the show:
Well now its time to say good-bye to Jed and all his kin.
And they would like to thank you folks fer kindly droppin in.
You're all invited back again to this locality
To have a heapin helpin of their hospitality
Hillbilly that is. Set a spell. Take your shoes off. Y'all come back now, y'hear?