Friday, June 30, 2006
The point of the “exercise” is to write (for the entire world to see) letters that obviously will only be sent through blog-mail to anyone and everyone you have some words for…
Dear God, I’m having a hard time following your line of thinking lately…at least in my life. If you could give me a few clear indicators, maybe a pat on the head when I’m good (and I don’t mean something actually falling from the sky onto my head, a bit more subtle please); and maybe a crack of thunder when I’m WAY off track…that would be ever-so-helpful to this ‘girl on a journey’!
Dear Mimi and Bubba: Thank you for teaching me such important life lessons on loving and forgiving. I love having you furry friends in my life and I wish I could get you cooler in the summer. My one complaint is the smells you both carry. What’s that about? You’re only outside a total of 30 minutes a day, yet you smell like you haven’t bathed in months…ohhhh you need more baths! Then I would appreciate you both either bathing one another or trying to be a bit less combative when Daddy and I attempt to bathe you. The bathing you in a swimsuit thing just doesn’t work because you have claws of death! Not only do we end up soaking wet, but also covered in dog hair and dog smell! We will only continue to be a ‘part of the pack’ if you ‘clean up your act’.
Dear Niece and Nephews: I love you all so much, though not even 1/10th of how much your mothers love you…the fathers are still thinking about it during commercials. I just want you to know I am always here for you. I will even be here for you when you make those stupid decisions…and you will make them…and it will be okay. That’s how we learn and grow. I am asking that you come to me or some other non-parenting type person over the age of 30 to see if this new scheme really is the ‘best thing that ever happened to you!”
Dear Friends: I COULD not get through one day without you. You are my anchors in life. You know how important it is to laugh and you help make that happen (sometimes without you even knowing it). Thank you for your time, your prayers, your love, your life-investment in me. I hope even when I let you down, because you know I will (especially if it involves phone calls); I will always remember to thank God for you in my prayers!
Dear Google Searchers: Kazoo or Gazoo or whatever his name is…the little green Martian dude from the Flintstones is not here…he is here. I don’t understand the endless fascination with the little guy, but I have a lot of free time ‘on the job’ as well, so maybe it’s out of boredom you search. I hope you find more than Kazoo/Gazoo…I hope you find the Spirit of the Lord here, because more than anything else, that is what I hope I bring a desire to question everything God…and a desire to find the answers too. We are always searching for that…or should be!
Dear Wal-Mart: I am asking you, once again, to at least wipe the smirk off your face when I ask you to remind patrons of the express-check out rules verses regular checkout. Must I do it every time! I am also asking that you at least wait until, maybe 10:00 p.m. before you place the traffic restrictors, aka: pallets in the shopping aisles. If staff is there to work 24 hours couldn’t that restocking be done at a less-trafficked period? I’m just going to say right now, if I fall, and eventually I will fall, and if I see blood, “sorry” is not going to be enough. I’m looking forward to free groceries for life for me and my friends and family. Oh, and do you really think self-checkout was such a good idea?
Dear Lottery Commission: Couldn’t you just give me 3 of the numbers?
Dear Strip Bars on 10th street: You should be ashamed of yourself! There are other ways to make money.
Dear Patrons of Strip Bars on 10th street: Get a life! Go home to your wife/husband and apologize for not being ‘there’ for her/him. If you don’t have a wife/husband, look at where you spend your time/money!
Dear Traffic Police: Why do you get to speed everywhere you go (with or without your lights on) and I don’t? Why do you get to break all the traffic laws? How can you call yourself a public servant?
Dear Embryology Professor at Large University in Norman: I DID in fact get accepted into graduate school, even when you said I should forget about it.
Dear Future Children of Ours: I love you and am praying for you even now!
Dear Lost Items: Where in the world are you and how are you getting there?
Dear Lost Memory: Where in the world are you and how are you getting there?
Dear Husband’s Family: Thank you for creating and raising the most incredible man I’ve ever had the pleasure of falling in love with.
Dear Husband: You are my life and every breath I take while I’m on earth! I love you, I love you and I thank GOD for the day we met!
I think that just about covers it!
Happy Friday…TGIF to the utmost!
Thursday, June 29, 2006
I would ask those of you who truly believe in the life-changing power of prayer, to please lift up a prayer of discernment and wisdom for me and my husband as we make some decisions this weekend about our lives.
TOP 10 THANKFUL TANK ITEMS TODAY
God is still on the throne!
My friends (both cyber-friends, and in-the-flesh).
My ability to read and understand.
My life full of choices.
My physical health.
My memories; even the bad ones remind me how far Jesus has brought me.
The Word of God!
My Spiritual Ears. Lord let me hear clearly YOUR words!
Have a wonderful, THANK-FILLED Thursday!
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Time to get those creative juices flowing! I’ve decided to make better use of this space and practice writing skills that are wasting away as I search and elaborate on the meaning of (MY) life. I’m going to pull writing exercises from different resources weekly and hopefully together we can spread our wings…perhaps even flap them some in the process. Above all, have fun!
This official ‘kick-off’ exercise is coming from a book my MIL helped co-write. It’s called; “Daily Riches -- A Journal of Gratitude and Awareness” and it has various exercises in the art of Journaling. Of course, this in no way lessens the value of the dictionary/poem challenge from last week that MommaB so bravely completed. At first I thought we should do an award for this exercise…but my own personal belief (which no doubt does not align with everyone else’s, and that’s OK), is that writing IS art and art should not be ‘graded’ as it is a personal outward expression. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder afterall.
The activities to choose from today include:
1. Write any word at the top of a page. Set a timer for 5 minutes and without stopping to think or question your thoughts, write down any ideas that come to mind with regard to this topic.
2. Take a walk with a camera. Take pictures as you see the world differently or notice different things. Write about the things you see or share the pictures.
3. Sit in a comfortable room and describe the different colors and textures you see, or close your eyes and describe the sounds or smells around you.
I’m going to go with #1. I’ll be right back with my entry…
A princess. Long hair. A rosebud. The sun as it falls behind the ocean.
There it is! Looks a lot easier than you might imagine…because I wanted to go “clean it up”. I also wanted to change wording, etc…but I didn’t! Week 1…check. Let me know via comments if you want to participate so I can come check out your entries! Also, if you know of good resources with writing exercises let me know! I’m thinking of trying one that Jules at Maced with Grace was doing for a while! It’s under her “Pen in Hand” category.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
I write all this on the heels of the luncheon this past weekend. So much has been running through my head; including my blog title. If you ask any of my close friends or family about me and my ability to speak my mind…it’s fair to say I can give an opinion on just about anything. I have gained enough wisdom over the years to USUALLY stop and THINK before offering my comments, unless of course it’s something I’m terribly passionate about or you catch me a couple days a month when the hormones are raging and my the rudder is flapping!
What I’ve found in this self-imposed silence is clarity in seeing the hearts God puts before me. I’ve also found the ability to sometimes hold my own thoughts and listen to others and even decide not to share what my mouth wanted to spill because my heart knows better.
I’m not trying to pretend to be something I’m not. I get ticked and my mouth flies off the handle regularly. Thankfully, more and more when I’m alone and while it may look hilarious to others when I’m driving during my verbal assault…no one is hurt in the viewing and I’m fairly certain sometimes it borders on amusing! I figure if I can have those concerto’s in “Maxx” I can also have a temper tantrum or all out verbal assault on whatever insects may have gotten trapped in the heated confines.
Today I once again come to the only throne with enough grace to handle all of us…and I ask God to show me each step on my path with a light so bright I’ll never take a misstep, but if I do…He will help me get back on track. You see of all the uncertainties I face everyday, one thing is for certain: GOD can hear me now!
From my FAVORITE Scripture; Psalm 139:1-6
“O LORD, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my every thought when far away. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, LORD. You both precede and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to know!”
Monday, June 26, 2006
I’m typically one of the women you will find on the outer perimeter of a large gathering; quietly observing and taking internal notes about people. This was no exception. I did get to interact with a few, some of which I had never even ‘found’ their home-blog, and some of which I had wanted to meet since this gathering was in the initial planning stages.
I want to take the time to link each one of these women. Though I did not get to personally interact with each one verbally, I did observe (eyes AND ears) the women and their interactions and their expressions and their incredible personality!
I’m going to “borrow” Shannon’s link research to post here along with my own observations!
Most Like What I Imagined and Friendliest: Rock in My Dryer
Most Encouraging: Chilihead at Don’t Try This at Home
Most Hospitable and Kindest: Jules at Everyday Mommy
Most OUTRAGEOUSLY fun: Shalee at Shalee’s Diner
Wisest Soul: Janna at Bread Crumbs
Susan, a self-proclaimed lurker (I didn’t even get to meet her…did I?)
Most Blog-Environment Conscious (and funny too) Jamie at Surviving the Chaos
Most Sweet: Michelle at This One’s For the Girls
Most Certain of Herself and Her Path: Tina at Antique Mommy
Most “Young”: Sarah at Sarah’s Other Blog
Most Comfortable: Mary at Aunt Murry
Most Gentle Spirit: Kristi at Basketballs and Babydolls
Most Beautiful Inside and Out: Addie at Life With Little Women
Best Smile (I wonder if she was by Susan because I didn’t get to interact with her much): Beckah at Happy Mom
Most Children and Great Sense of Humor: Lammyann at Lammyann Life
Most Talkative (I can say it…she’s my sister): Michelle at Love to Chat
This was truly an incredibly memorable experience and to top it all off I got to spend several hours in the car with my beloved sister as we traveled to and fro AND I got to visit one of my old Alma Mater’s in Pittsburg State University! Go Gorillas! Even as I realized it had been over 20 years since I was there a bit of my youth returned while remembering.
Thanks again to all who made this lunch happen! To new friends and future get togethers!
Sunday, June 25, 2006
Had a ball!
Laughed a bunch!
Posed for some pics!
Met some FABULOUS Women!
Met some BLOG-CELEBRITIES!
Not that I'm one to name drop, but let me just say a "Hey Ladies!" to Shalee, Shannon, Chilihead, Aunt Murry, Antique Mommy, My own Sister, and of course our incredible hostess Jules' and her totally artistic and charming husband! We got to spend some "quality" time visiting and chatting after the luncheon and a bit of a drive on the KC Autobahn where I broke more traffic laws in 30 minutes then ever in my entire life (including college)!
Oh, yes I got to MEET bunches of others, and I'm going to add several to my blogroll ASAP! I agree with everyone who says...if you get a chance to meet some of your 'fellow bloggers'...do it! I figure if they've been reading your "journal" aka: your mind...for this long, they're entitled to a face to face and the opportunity to ask "what were your thinking?"
Friday, June 23, 2006
If you know the song AND artist you win 10,000,000 points in this game of life!
I am SO looking forward to the Bloggirls luncheon in KC tomorrow. If you haven't received the information on this little "to do" contact Shalee right away TODAY! for the map, invitation, etc.
My sister tried to sideline us before we even headed out. She was in the hospital yesterday with a kidney stone! Good grief...something a little less dramatic would have worked just as well! Well, my sister was never one to do things half way! LOL!!! Gotta love her, she's the baby!
So, pending the passing of above referenced 'stone' and collection in (apparently hilarious male-invented) cup with strainer, we will indeed head North (not to Alaska) but to KC bright and early Saturday a.m. I understand we will be driving alongside some other "Okies" and perhaps we'll even share a "Loves" stop with them, though we won't know til we get there! What fun this will be.
Say a pray about the stone if you remember...Chell' is asking God that He shrink it and it falls out without pain or problem! So if you'll just pray in agreement, that would be wonderful (or anything alnong those lines).
Have a perfectly beautiful weekend! I can't wait to post about new meetings and greetings and I more importantly can't wait for some "promised" cookies from my friend Shalee!
Blessings for an AWESOME Friday!
Thursday, June 22, 2006
My MUG SHOT wouldn't be complete without a double-shot cause I have my "here and now" MUGSHOT and my more "Maxx-Friendly" MUG SHOT TO GO....reflect back to Easter and the spilled coffee and you'll understand more about my own coffee antics...flashback! OUCH!
So 1st; my MUG SHOT TO GO...amidst my coffee grinder (which EVERY coffee connissuer must possess) are two variations of a theme. The first, to the right of the grinder is my standby...it is the to-go cup I've used for several months because it has a lid! The 2nd one, to the left is the new and improved version my husband found at Walgreens that is insulated so well, that it's like having one of those Starbuck sleeves on the cup and my hand NEVER even gets warm. They are expensive, but he says "I'm worth it!" and I'll have to agree (modestly, of course).
My 2nd MUG SHOT is the mug that I use at home for coffee, hot cocoa, tea, any warm drink...preferably coffee though! This is actually a replacement for one that broke (car issue again...and one of the reasons for the above MUGSHOTS). This one is not EXACTLY the same, but very, very close and my husband searched it out and found it for me to replace the original, (which is now at a landfill somewhere in Jersey)...so I cherish it not only because it's a great size, but because as with all the great things in my life, it's from my husband and I didn't have to scour the landfill's of Jersey to re-animate my favorite!
Side note: I actually have ANOTHER MUGSHOT. It's my work MUGSHOT and I couldn't bear to bring it home for fear my clumsy hands would lead to early death of said MUGSHOT. It was a gift from one of my best friends "G", and it has a women singing and dancing down a path and it also has that popular little ditty that says:
As I sit and write this, the thunder is booming and the sky is growing darker and darker. It’s one of the uncertainties in life that remind me to breathe…the storms. In Oklahoma, storms come in quickly and may or may not move quickly out. They bring uncertain wind patterns, lightening, thunder, hail, rain, and perhaps large twisting tunnels of doom; aka: tornado. I live only one mile from my parent’s home and I may get 2 inches of rain while they get none.
All of these things are variable and shift quickly from one place to another. Our weather alerts sometimes warn of softball size hail (which I’ve yet to experience in person and hope never to see), and sometimes the reverse is true. A light breeze will become 75 mph wind gusts destroying an entire fence in minutes. The rain can be light almost misting, harder whips of skinny, stinging drops, or torrential downpours with fat drops slapping to flood-like stages.
The tornados, when they come, also represent uncertainty. They may stay grounded for miles and wipe out entire large communities of homes, or they may hop and skip, choosing to spare a neighbors home. I’ve also seen tornados, mere miles in the distance, simply slip back into the wall cloud lurking above.
It’s this uncertainty that reminds me to breathe. It reminds me that I cannot always CONTROL my environment. I may become better at predicting A +B = C, but I will never be able to state with certainty when storms will come, what areas will receive rain, how much damage they will bring, and how long they will linger. This is one of the mysteries God chooses to hold.
My own personal beliefs are that God’s mysteries are here to remind me who is God and who is not. It increases my faith to know that there are things that even the uber-intelligent elite scientists cannot figure out fully. It is good that our God is greater than even the world, because it’s HIS creation.
This is the greatest lesson in life as well. Why do some people receive the ‘brunt’ of God’s storms and others coast along easy waters? Why do bad things happen to good people? I don’t think we’ll ever be able to answer this here. We may make guesses and may be partially right about God testing us, or growing us, or refining us through fire, but ultimately we have NO IDEA!
For me, it’s simple...remember to breathe…and remember who gave me the very breath I breathe.
"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was empty, a formless mass cloaked in darkness. And the Spirit of God was hovering over its surface." Genesis 1:1-2
"I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End." Revelation 22:13
Wednesday, June 21, 2006
Youth is carefree as she spends her days seeking and laughing. She isn’t even sure what she is seeking, she just goes anywhere and everywhere and that is the root of her laughter. Youth believes there is gold at the other end of the rainbow. She is friends with the sunshine and the rain. Youth has many friends, though most of them don’t remember her. Youth remembers when all her friends were make-believe…at least they never forgot her.
The truth of the matter is many of Youth’s old friends haven’t forgotten her; they are just embarrassed by her lack of humility and pride. She is such a simpleton and far too carefree for such a grown-up world. Suave and Sophisticated remember Youth but wouldn’t dare admit it. They are among couples of an elite and highly selective class. They don’t have time for Youth.
When Youth comes to visit their children, they send them all away with the nanny. Youth tries to tell the children about when she would play with their parents…not so long ago, but the kids don’t believe her. They know Youth has a way of exaggerating things, at least that’s what their parents told them when they agreed to let them go play.
Youth waves to Ignorance as he passes by. They have known each other for life. Youth and Ignorance never grow up. Youth has learned to adapt, but Ignorance never changes. Ignorance prefers to walk around making claims that sound wise, but are really soaked in mistruth or misunderstanding. Youth won’t argue when Ignorance goads her. Youth knows from experience, no matter how hard she battles there will be no ‘winner’.
Youth’s only enemy is Death. Death tries to kidnap youth but youth is too agile to be captured. Death only wears black. Death hides in shadows and in hospital rooms preying on the weak. Youth spent some time in a children’s ward at the hospital and knows Death well. They actually spoke once for some time as Death came to pick up one of the patients. Youth argued with Death over the patient, but Death won. The patient went with Death but only at the promise of light to come.
Youth goes to bed when she’s told, but she doesn’t always fall asleep immediately. She ponders the day and smiles with the hope of tomorrow. Youth has heard her parents say that she is “fleeting” but she knows with all certainty that she is here to stay!
Tuesday, June 20, 2006
Another young lady and I are ‘doing’ crafts with the kids and YES that’s a perfect match for this Martha-esque crafter who can be heard stating: ‘Crafts…they’re a good thing!’ on most any day.
I sometimes think to myself if there were a ‘crafting’ Olympic Team…I’d represent the U.S. in a BIG way! I don’t doubt I could actually medal in crafting…no pun intended. About the time I start to picture myself on the elevated ‘gold’ podium, and I can a l m o s t hear the Star Spangled Banner somewhere in a distance…I fall out of my bed with a thud because this already exists…and it’s called…the Oklahoma State Fair!
ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I feel like Charlie Brown who has had the football yanked from beneath his, oncoming, momentum gaining foot…Just before one toe makes contact with the little pigskin, Lucy, in all her controlled-rage, yanks it away. No…I’ve never entered anything in the Oklahoma State Fair and frankly I think the judging may be a bit biased like perhaps some Olympic Judges in Ice-Skating not so long ago…Seriously have you seen the ‘crafts’ at your own State Fair. My MIL did a seed-bead replica of Our Lady Guadalupe’ and it didn’t even get accepted. I honestly think it was TOO good. It is an incredible work of art.
No offense, but in Oklahoma if it ain’t crocheted, canned, or pastry-covered, it ain’t winnin’ and it probably ain’t even gonna get displayed.
Wow…I had no idea how strongly I felt about all that…I’m not bitter!
So…last night, Kids Klub Kraft’s…yeah…back on track! The theme of our VBS is “Superheroes” so last night we decorated masks. Children are so incredibly creative. I’ve mentioned before how sometimes that creativity is a bit stifled as children enter school and expectations are set about how things SHOULD look. The younger children 3,4,5 year olds just set themselves free and their whole goal, in my estimation, is to cover as much of the mask as they can (sometimes even the eye holes…to which we had to make some adjustment for visual purposes) and still hold the thing on their little heads.
I wish I would have taken my camera…perhaps Pastorman’s Wife will email me some pictures and I can include them. My own mask was simple as my Superhero name is “Eagle Eye” (I’ll email a pic of it later in the week perhaps). The second group of 6 & 7 year old children were a little more affirmation ‘needy’ and wanted input about HOW it should look, but the third group…the 8 & 9 year olds…they didn’t want anything that would make their mask look imperfect.
No stickers for them. No fuzzy noses…They painted their masks. They painted and painted and painted and painted. They ‘erased’, with Kleenex, things that didn’t look right; colors that didn’t work. Their masks are beautiful! They still don’t have any names for their superheroes! The younger set either re-used existing superhero names or they came up with things like: “Beauty-Girl” or “Spider-Girl” or just plain old: “SuperHero”!
The bottom line for me is the constant reminder from God that I am to come to Him as a child…free of all the world’s inhibitions and expectations and just throw myself at Him and in the midst of all my imperfection and unlearned-ness (is that a word?) He not only accepts me…He embraces me and laughs right alongside me!
You gotta’ love a God like that!
This morning, I THANK GOD for joy and for childhood and for children that see the world in such an incredible way! I thank God for showing me through these little ones how He wants to see me live!
P.S. Tonight we’re making musical instruments…harmony sticks and rain sticks…I’ll keep you posted!
Monday, June 19, 2006
The #1 search I see every single week…is the Great Kazoo. I referenced him months ago and when I did my own search for it, under “Kazoo” I never found the image…because DUH, it’s GAZOO! Who’d have thunk this little guy would stir up so many searches. I did the google search and I’m not even on the 1st page…so these people are digging. It gave me a great idea. I know Karen has shared some of her funnier searches, as has Lauren and a few others…
Psst…hey everybody lean in here…I don’t want everyone to hear…we could include in our posts the most googled word…totally randomly…amidst the other words….and see who comes! I think it’s hilarious. I thought about just doing a post with nothing but the word Gazoo repeated over and over again. But then it sort of reminded me of the movie “The Shining” and it freaked me out a bit. You remember…his whole book was nothing but the sentence: “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.” I can hardly type it without getting the heeby-jeebies!
Great idea, huh? So what is your funniest or most popular “google search”?
Friday, June 16, 2006
I pretty much avoid the “last chance” section as those are books printed in the 80’s and early 90’s and I only shop these for my non-reading friends. Well! They haven’t even picked up a book (with only words) in years, have not been in a public library since high school, and the “picture books” are fairly reasonable in this section.
All that to say…the second book I purchased (which I don’t have in front of me so I don’t know the title) is exercises in writing. There are many exercises and I can’t wait to try each and every one of them. It may just be the first book of ‘exercises’ that I don’t fling across a room in frustration…though it’s a bit early to determine yet.
The exercise we will be performing today is to open the dictionary (with your eyes closed) and point your finger to a word on a page. Now open your eyes….wait, let me go get the BIG dictionary...(one moment please)…You’re supposed to use the very 1st word you come to…Hey, no fair, I want a redraw I got:
Hermitage: 1. the habitation of a hermit. 2. any secluded place of residence or habitation; retreat. 3. a palace in Leningrad: built by Catherine II; now used as an art museum.
Oh OKAY, let’s try…now we write a poem using this word in some form.
She stands at the window and watches
She sees a new day dawn
She worries with forboding
She fears the day has come
She knows her retreat is over
She knows she must face this day
She knows she can no longer slumber
She has had her hermitage and now must pay
She dresses without hurry
She ambles to the door
She turns the knob so methodically
She is shaken to the core
She hears the door move slowly
She sees the sky so blue
She smells the flowers blooming
She feels the cost accrue
She walks in all uncertainty
She knows nothing of her end
She only feels this moment
She cannot a future moment lend
She travels slowly onward
She beats a brand new trail
She is headed on a journey
She is searching for Holy grail
She reflects on what she used to be
She remembers the ‘her’ she was
She sees her clear and present future
She knows the answer is…because
If this is any indication of future writing…I may be doomed before beginning! We’ll see. Have an awesome Friday and weekend and remember who your Daddy is!
Thursday, June 15, 2006
I've already mowed and edged the front and back yard, started laundry, and pulled weeds. I love the mornings and the cool breeze that you can ONLY find in Oklahoma from 6 til about 9:30 a.m. It's going to be in the high 90's again today and there will be no air movement once the mercury rises above 85. I'm going to spend some time with a friend, spend some time straightening the house, pick up my Dad's day gift and just enjoy the day.
With that in mind, I have no 'inspired' post and I don't really feel like digging into the 'closet of demons' today, so I'll leave you with some funny and somewhat thought provoking questions I found on line today. I'm sure you've seen some of them...but they're worth revisiting.
Why are there flotation devices under plane seats instead of parachutes?
Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii?
Why do fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing?
Why do they call them "apartments" when they are all stuck together?
Why do "tug" boats push their barges?
Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?
Why do we sing "Take me out to the ball game", when we are already there?
Why do people without a watch look at their wrist when you ask them what time it is?
Why does "slow down" and "slow up" mean the same thing?
Why do we say things "go off" when they are actually turning on?
Why does flammable and inflammable mean the same thing?
Why don't you ever see baby crows or pigeons?
Why is it building "buildings", shouldn't they be called a "built" when completed?
Why is a person who plays the piano called a pianist, but a person who drives a race car not called a racist?
Why is it called "after dark", when it is really after light?
Why is it that when you're driving and looking for an address, you turn down the volume on the radio?
Why is lemon juice mostly artificial ingredients but dishwashing liquid contains real lemons? Why is Mickey Mouse bigger than his dog Pluto?
Why is there only one commission that determines monopolies?
Why do banks charge you a "non-sufficient funds fee" on money they know you don't have? What's another word for thesaurus?
What's another word for synonym?
What is the speed of dark?
What do you do when you discover and an endangered animal that only eats endangered plants?
Why are there Braille signs on drive-up ATM's?
Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?
Why do kamikaze pilots wear helmets?
Happy "Just Because" day!
Wednesday, June 14, 2006
In the book I referenced a few days ago; “the Radical Reformission” by Mark Driscoll, I just finished reading a chapter titled “Elvis in Eden” and it’s addressing the cultural impact on Christianity today. He writes about Jonah and his ultimate repentance.
Let’s reflect back, shall we. God commands Jonah to go to Nineveh, a place of financial wealth, but spiritual poverty. Nineveh had 100 foot walls that made the city feel even more invincible and protected.
We know that Jonah initially tried to hide and ended up being vomited up by a big fish. Jonah eventually went, though grudgingly, to Nineveh and gave the Reader’s Digest version of God’s word. It was enough. The city repented out of fear of the Lord. I always pictured Jonah making his ‘speech’, picking up his bag and walking away defeated as if nothing GREAT had happened. I pictured him guffawing as he passed the people repenting and prostrate before God. I pictured God shaking His head as he spied Jonah walking off in a huff searching for a place of rest beneath a shady tree.
Jonah even cried out to God in his angst “Didn't I say before I left home that you would do this, LORD? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you were a gracious and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. I knew how easily you could cancel your plans for destroying these people. Just kill me now, LORD! I'd rather be dead than alive because nothing I predicted is going to happen."
The Lord replied to Jonah (and this is where it gets good): "Is it right for you to be angry about this?"
Let’s just pick up the rest of the story here…
Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under as he waited to see if anything would happen to the city. And the LORD God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah's head, shading him from the sun. This eased some of his discomfort, and Jonah was very grateful for the plant.
But God also prepared a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant, so that it soon died and withered away. And as the sun grew hot, God sent a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die. "Death is certainly better than this!" he exclaimed.
Then God said to Jonah, "Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?"
"Yes," Jonah retorted, "even angry enough to die!"
Then the LORD said, "You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. And a plant is only, at best, short lived. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn't I feel sorry for such a great city?"
Jonah was angry that God’s grace covered these ‘sinners’. God rebuked Jonah for loving a plant more than he loved the Ninevites. The author reminds us that “…sometimes we love the things God has given us--homes, cars, hobbies, health, friends--more than our great cities and the spiritually blind people who annoy us.”
The author surmises that because Jonah made the “book”, he must have reached a place of repentance. Additionally, the Jews gather in the synagogue each year on the Day of Atonement to read Jonah. They then state, “We are Jonah. We are all Jonah when we run from God’s call on our lives to bring the gospel to lost people, whom HE LOVES.”
I have to reflect on my own life and the “calling” God has placed on me. Do I respond or do I run…reflecting back to Tuesday, it’s apparent I try to run even from other Christians, how much more from people who make me uncomfortable and are not LIKE me.
I think back to debates I used to engage in with both Jehovah’s Witness-ers and any number of NON-Christians. Is my witness, my very life, enough for another person to see Jesus in me? Is my witness authentic? Am I willing to step outside the comfort of what I know into the culture of what I don’t know and don’t necessarily WANT to know?
There were so many times when God could have simply killed Jonah or just separated himself from Jonah, but he didn’t. God kept after Jonah, to the point of Jonah’s breaking and crumbling…to the point of his repentance? It gives me so much hope to know that while God could choose anyone in the whole world to do the things He’s called me to do…He continues to push me and push me to the point of breaking.
Help me today Father, to see all your children as YOU see them. Show me their faces before you.
Amen and Happy Wednesday!
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
I’ve shared that God speaks fairly CLEARLY to me, and when I hear His voice and do not ACT, He doesn’t ‘let up’. The title All Consuming Fire brings on a whole new meaning! During prayer time God clearly told me to “Glorify Him”. I decided to go ahead and jot down any notes He cared to give me. On one page of notes I wrote the word: GLORIFY GOD. Then God started talking to me about the lost sheep. I wrote: “99/1-SHEEP. LOST SHEEP”. You see God truly burdens my heart for the people that come to church irregularly. We are still a small enough church that it’s clearly evident when we someone is “missing”.
I usually have a peace of understanding when the people are on vacation, or resting from an illness, or some other ‘excused absence’. There are some people though, that touch my heart as either fragile or young in Christ that so desperately need to be discipled and led, as Jesus leads his flock. These young sheep find a hole in the gate and they wander off, and God has placed a burden on my heart to help bring them back to the fold. The interesting side note is while several may be missing, God has continually placed ONE person in my thoughts, and prayers, and mind, continually.
Then I’m blog-surfing yesterday and I come across Morning Glory’s posting “Being Led By the Shepherd” and it’s as though God has placed this story in this space, at this moment just for me. You see Morning Glory is one of those writer’s whose stories and parables teach me and grow me enormously. We all have them and as I sought out fun reads for Monday afternoon, this is what I found…meat…cooked to perfection, just the way I like it…meat…for ME to consume. I can let it sit there and rot, or I can ingest it and let it nourish me and lead me. That is God’s word at it’s best!
I know the obvious answer…call this person. Talk to her. Encourage her. Be available to her. Okay, so stepping OUTSIDE my comfort zone here…I only know this person through church. The excuses start to pour into my mind. I HATE talking on the phone. I’m a better writer then speaker. I’ve tried reaching her with emails and cards. I could go on and on and on.
God continues to repeat His words and now I have this visual image of a “MISSING SHEEP” sign and this person’s face is on the flyer. It’s what I call a “Bruce Almighty” reminder. I keep asking God to give me a sign and He quite clearly does. I had also told my husband of this when I had to explain WHY I needed His sermon notes. He has asked me every SINGLE day….”Did you call _______ today? Don’t forget to call ______ today. He’s not pushy and arrogant, but he does remind me EVERY DAY of this message.
I would just ask that you would pray for me and that I would answer God’s call and be obedient to Him. These are the times when I most feel unworthy as His servant. These are the times when I fully expect an angel to touch a coal to my lips in preparation of His work and word. These are the times when the enemy attempts to dissuade my personal knowledge of God’s word and promise. These are the times when the internal battle rages within (yes dramatic sounding, but you know me…).
With gratitude and an uncertain heart.
“Then Jesus told them this parable: "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders 6and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, 'Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.' I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:3-7
Interesting Trivia regarding lambs and sheep:
1. Baby lambs are carried for protection.
2. Baby lambs are guided, not driven because sheep have no sense of direction.
3. Each lamb has a distinctive smell and is known by that smell.
4. Sheep cannot find food and water on their own. They must be led to water and food. 5. Sheep will eat poisonous weeds if not protected from it.
6. Sheep have no natural defenses.
7. It was the custom of the Romans to break the legs of the lambs being crucified in order to hasten their death.
8. Wayfaring lambs had one bone broken and were carried by the shepherd to protect them.
Monday, June 12, 2006
You know I love a challenge and I NEED to focus my heart and mind (especially on Monday) on what I am thankful for so with all that preamble…my ongoing and growing list of thanks!
I am thankful for (I’ll try to limit it to 10 per entry):
1. My Savior! (who puts a song in my heart and hope in my life)
2. My husband. (I totally agree with Tam about how much those 2 words encompass)
3. My God-given talents and desire to use them.
4. Friends & Family…you have NO idea!
5. A job that offers me AMPLE free time!
6. Wisdom; growing daily as I seek it.
7. A home of our own and all the physical GIFTS God brings.
8. The U.S.A. and our Freedom Fighters.
9. Music and all creative arts
10. A Spirit that is restless!
Friday, June 09, 2006
I’m trying to maintain this image for myself in many ways. I don’t always succeed because beneath the ‘wise not-so-old owl’ demeanor is one-part leopard and one-part laughing hyena preparing in the wait.
You should realize by now, if you’ve read any of my ranting and rambling, that I feel PASSIONATE about some things and only mildly MOVED by others, rarely do I feel apathy and NEVER do I feel NOTHING.
This week in the midst of my own re-design I was challenged by the ‘Tuesday Toss-up’ over at GiBee’s place. She is not only one of my first and favorite ‘reads’, she is quickly becoming a dear, dear friend and someone with whom I would be comfortable taking my shoes off (unless they were covering disgustingly stinky feet) and letting my hair down, (unless it was armpit or leg hair…no offense to the Europeans, it just makes me itchy) and just being totally ME in all my imperfections. It is what I would call a ‘make-up free zone’ kind of friendship.
Do you think this is one of the BLUE-MEN wives? You get the picture! I gotta BE ME! I am picturing this:
Wow, that was quite a tangent…
So the article she referred readers to, generated much comment and discussion. I read the article, and comments, and the whole thing woke me up at 5:00 a.m. this morning because apparently God wasn’t done dealing with me on the subject…so you, my captive audience…well I guess you’re not captive….but enthralled…okay not enthralled…and if you’re just here cause you googled a picture of a duck or ‘blue men’ sorry, leave now, it doesn’t really relate.
With the article I also reflected on some current reading. I have been reading another of Pastorman’s books by Mark Driscoll called “The Radical Reformission” (reaching out without selling out) and the author (founding pastor of Mars Hill Fellowship in Seattle) has questions at the end of each chapter and one of those questions is what prompted this post and the early morning internal alarm.
The chapter is called “Shotgun Wedding to Jesus”. You can imagine how enlightening and HILARIOUS it is, but the questions at the end, address the reading material in a REAL way.
It starts off fairly benign with questions asking: ‘what do you think are your most cumbersome sins for which Jesus died to make you a Christian?’ or ‘Which people have sinned most grievously against you, and how has Jesus enabled you to forgive them? Then he slaps you upside the head with this question: ‘In what ways are you self-righteous?’ BAM! Upside the head!
So I thought back to my own comments about the article and the comments of others and I’ve just got to say I thank GOD that when I was first introduced to Jesus that I wasn’t around people like some of us. While I no longer look at Jesus as “all play and no work”, I do continue to SEEK and FIND the loving, grace-filled, mercy-offering, sin-seeking, leader that only He can be.
It seems sometimesthat sadly the more “mature” we become in Christ and by mature I mean well read and ‘closed off’, the more standoff-ish and selective and judgmental we become. I have to repent to God daily for these thoughts and WORDS that come and go freely from my own head and mouth. I will say this in closing: While I will not ‘water-down’ the gospel with regards to the absolute truth of love, I will attempt to ALWAYS remain open enough to others to HEAR them speak and research facts on my own before I find them guilty and unworthy and face the same judgment above.
The owl has spoken!
Thursday, June 08, 2006
You thought I was leaving? Good heavens no! While my posting may be a bit less regular, in terms of a daily jotting, it will still exist and reside here in this extremely faulty and unreliable world, until such time as the whole thing crashes completely (which looks like it may just be forthcoming sooner than we anticipate or desire). Everyone think good BLOGGER thoughts today! I also like to think God is helping me in my endeavor because let me tell you I had NO idea how “licked” I was by this thing, until I tried to spend a solid 24 hours away and putting the time to GOOD use, instead of moping around about my lost ‘blog”. (Lord I HATE admitting weakness!)
This space will hopefully be morphed and matured into a more Bible study-ish space, with some occasional ranting and useless banter that is the maturity and totality of me.
Okay, so I was studying the past few nights which prompted some thoughts this a.m. about Paul. You’ll read much about Paul in the future at this site, mostly because I can probably most identify with his methods and madness. I do not mean my husband Paul, though he has some of those qualities, he is Biblically much more...Andrew-ish.
I was re-reading Paul’s letters written from prison, no less, and it got me thinking about pastors in general. So Paul consistently, throughout the N.T., reprimands the various ‘churches/cities’ in efforts to redirect them to Christ-like living. I really pondered Paul’s words to the Galatians, “…you foolish Galatians, how quickly you have forgotten the hope with which you were called…” (I figure the Greek word for FOOLISH was somehow stronger). In the NIV, it says “I am astonished…” I love that word, it sounds like something I would say.
I looked up, in “Strong’s”, the root and definition of “foolish” and it appears to be from the word “Moros” which means: foolish; impious, godless. This is some pretty strong language to the Galatians, to be called godless!
It made me think about my own course and mis-course, not only recently but in life in general. I imagine Paul had the type of relationship with these various cities that my pastor does with us. I imagine it was with loving concern that he reprimanded them. It has got me thinking about the role of pastor and how it has ‘evolved’.
Here was my line of thinking: “I wonder why Pastorman doesn’t do this to us?” You know, reprimand us for lack of service, seeking, discipline, etc.
My ‘other self’, you know the one most related to the “bad girls of the Bible” said: “DUH! Like we’d keep going to church if we were going to get yelled at! We can so get that at home!”
So when did this part of the pastors role die? I understand that our flesh will obviously be at odds with being told what to do and what not to do and being reprimanded or redirected by a pastor does somehow seem a bit archaic, but isn’t that part of the role? Does the shepherd let the sheep run wild in the valley, I think not! Does the pastor let the flock run wild and out of control, it seems perhaps, yes, he does! So to my own Pastorman, if your out there, just know that I DO NOT expect this from you…I’m just wondering, that’s all! LOL.
I just wonder a bit about the evolution of this new freedom we congregants have gained and to whose benefit, aside from our own. Would the church cease to exist if we had a leader as Paul? It seems in that culture there had to be some semblance of order and expectation because so much of the business was lost by the Christians due to their decision to follow Christ. Which made me wonder, would I still be a Christian in areas of Asia where it is NOT the norm? Would I still maintain my beliefs, or would I have FOUND my beliefs if it were against a law? If my safety or my families safety was threatened?
What do you know/think about this? I am going to dig deeper into the history and evolution of church as I have spent some time studying the future of church, we all know those who don’t learn history are destined to repeat it! It may be we are headed back to a time of church = community = city = people…and it may be a time of church = building = dissolution.
Oh...and all you that "delurked" yourselves in the comments, yeah, you, I'll be visiting each and every ONE of you as time allows to see your own story! so there! oh and thanks for being here (she said with a shy smile and heartfelt gratitude).
Tuesday, June 06, 2006
A sad truth came over me today and I think I’d prefer to share it in the form of a story….so…here we go!
Once upon a time was a Y*O*U*N*G woman named KPJARA who loved to write. She found, through a dear pastor, a place on the computer, where she could write and capture, her own random thoughts intermingled with some insight and wisdom…for free (the writing space, not the wisdom…wisdom ALWAYS comes at a cost) AND she could possibly get some feedback from others on her attempts at humor and/or wisdom. She might even find answers to both solicited and unsolicited questions she kept hidden in her mind and heart or sometimes shared openly in this forum.
She started writing and wrote and wrote and wrote, every day for a month or so, until more than just the ‘expected’ visitors of spouse and pastor came to visit. She received ‘comments’ and encouragement from another writer. She realized she would have to start visiting other ‘spaces’ more openly and make some ‘friends’ in this blogdom if she wanted to connect with others. She de-lurked and started leaving random “comments” on a few sites and soon she realized she needed to just add “links” to these places she roamed daily, so she didn’t have to spend so much time finding them each day!
It was such a wonderful few months. She wrote and read and read and wrote and wrote some more. She told others of the freedom and release she had found through this venue and while her own goal of writing a book was ‘shelved’ as she completed this leg of her healing journey, she was certain she had never been more on track.
Her lackluster work life that had so drained her with boring days of idling, finally offered her freedom, in the form of time and a REALLY fast processor, with which she could produce more words to free the over packed memory banks of her mind. She found a creative outlet, where she could seek and find other writers, photographers and artists of all forms…all of which were so accomplished and free in their expressions.
It was an incredibly safe, yet challenging place to mingle. Some days other writers pushed her ‘buttons’ and forced her to think outside her own linear world. Some days she would do the same for others. It was a quid pro quo. It was a pseudo-utopic experience…until the day it began to collapse….
One day the comments wouldn’t load and she continued to get an error while trying to ‘talk’ to another writer. She felt imprisoned with words that wanted to flow and be free but were stopped abruptly and rudely by a MACHINE! She soon realized it wasn’t just her…it wasn’t her MACHINE…it was BLOGSPOT.COM! What had happened? Had they decided that with the ‘free services’ should come a user expectation of downtime unlimited?
The woman realized something else…she realized after the 3rd day of fighting tooth and nail with this ‘unknown entity’ that she had never chased after God with such a vengeance. She had never spent the time and energy to get to hear from God’s comments daily. She was sacrificing so much of her journey to BLOGSPOT.COM she had almost lost the very passion, the very source of the words she brought to this place.
The woman realized too, that this space had to be a result of her walk and talk with God, not the other way around. She realized the gift of writing was from God. She realized the gift of friendship was from God as well. She realized God was waiting patiently, at least for now, in the office, as her fingers found the comfortable tempo they had longed for.
Perhaps it was the ‘clog’ in her brain that had finally freed her to see this oversight. Perhaps it was the physical pull she was feeling towards the Word of God, perhaps it was a change she was seeing, though ever so slightly, that was affecting her daily mood and passion. Whatever the cause, she now knew she must refocus, redirect, reinitiate the extended quiet time she had so sacrificed for such a time.
She vowed to continue writing, but with less personal expectation and hopefully to result in more joy! She loved these people, and knew God had blessed her even amidst one of her most selfish ambitions. She knew that the enemy had also thwarted her writing progress by putting to side the actual book of encouragement she had desired to see completed in draft this year.
This woman was going to realign her priorities and while she would always write both in this BLOGDOM and outside it: it could not…should not…be above her desire to grow in her disciplines of prayer, Bible reading, Bible study, fellowship, family devotion, and every other living, breathing commitment she was here for. The time had come for the woman to step back into the world and reconnect to the journey God had placed before her!
And so we leave you here, with a certainty that this recent downtime was indeed a time to reflect on my own priorities and while I love writing in this space, it has become a bit of an obsessive behavior and God desires more of me now and I desire to give this to God who loves me more than anyone else would or even could!
At the Lord's prompting...to be continued…
Honestly, I didn’t think of Tom Hanks as this character, but he did okay. It was clearly fiction and it reminded me of a cross between Indiana Jones and any of the John Grisham stories. Prior to going, someone had told me if I like National Treasure, I would like DaVinci. I loved National Treasure, even the creatively embellished ‘facts’ from history.
I liked that the movie moved along quickly, all 2 ½ hours of it. I liked that it wasn’t centered around sex as so many movies are. I’m not a prude and I see most chick flicks that come out, but I just get tired of the whole story being about man meets woman, (or vice versa), they fall in love, someone gets hurt, someone leaves, they realize what they had, they get back together and they usually don’t even bother with the marriage part…they just have sex and live together.
I guess people are ‘bothered’ by DaVinci Code because it threatens the confines of our nicely confined “God Box” and it ISN’T “Passion of the Christ”, which frankly bothered me FAR greater than this film. Only once did I have to avert my eyes in DaVinci.
As I mentioned I realized immediately this is a story, a fiction story. Did it make me question my belief of Christ’s purity? Perhaps for a millesecond. Did it make me question Christ as our Savior? Not one iota. Did it make me question the meaning of some religious symbols? No more than any other author does, when writing historical accounts.
In my own VERY limited studies of the Bible and the arduous process of becoming the infallible word of God, I realize man (albeit the brightest and most regal of the time); in his completely imperfect manner, put this book together. I trust God has given us the wisdom to discern what was written to a culture and what is to be taken literally. Let's face it, you can listen to 10 different educated theologians speak about Biblical matters and get 10 very different accounts and meanings.
I’m not like most people (at least the people I have spoken to about this subject); I truly believe God is bigger than the Bible. I think it’s a great starting point and reference, but I know my life in 2006 is not the same as it would have been when Jesus walked the earth in human form a couple thousand years ago. In a few (MORE) words, I do feel more prepared to dispel mistruths to others who see this film and are that unfamiliar with the life of Christ.
I’m not asking for a religious debate, and I’ve probably shared too much, I just want to say it was a good movie, especially in comparison to some of the lackluster crapola’ Hollywood is trying to dish out to us. If I see one more preview for movies from television shows I watched in the 70’s and 80’s I’m going to scream! These shows were barely tolerable then, as a child and teenager…adding some big name star doesn’t make the material any better. I’m just saying…enjoy DaVinci Code...its all just 1’s and 0’s anyway!
Happy Tuesday and let’s hope BLOGGER has its act together today!
Monday, June 05, 2006
Okay, so I’ll be honest up front and say we are one of the few homes in my neighborhood (at least on my street) that do not pay for someone to come in each month in the summer and quarterly, year round, to service our lawn with chemical treatment. I am not willing to put that big a chunk of my budget into a lawn. We live in Oklahoma. This grass is not blue-grass like we had in Colorado, or any thick blanket of comfy toe-hugging grass. We have Bermuda grass. It’s prickly (even in its greenest state) and it grows wildly (reminds me of my own growth). It will grow anywhere…even in our red dirt/clay land! It grows between sidewalk cracks and loves my semi-landscaped flowering bushes around the walkway.
One of our neighbors didn’t use to treat their lawn and so that side of our lawn was also getting ‘weedy’ from the spreading of their lawn. On the other side, our neighbor faithfully treats his lawn and has it professionally treated as well. This semi-retired gentleman spends approximately an hour a day on his lawn. The area of our yard that borders this lawn is very thick and does not have weeds; it is a different grass altogether and almost comfortable to walk on and the hardest to mow.
I have learned that my lawn is much like my own spiritual life. I have choices. I can spend a ton of time TRYING to make my lawn beautiful, without the fertilizer and treatments, and it’s green, but it’s still prickly and hard underfoot. It still has tons of weeds I mow down weekly. It still only maintains its beauty the day or two after mowing. After that the weedy, unkempt mess begins to grow and the longer I let it go…the harder it is to tame it. My life is the same. I can PRETEND to study Scripture and to apply principles to my life and it appears I’ve done the work, but in reality in a few weeks the same demons haunt me and the same principles elude me.
Just like my neighbors and their lawns, the people I interact with and LEARN from, can and do affect my life. The people that do not care for their own lives; that do not practice the principles God has called me to practice through Jesus are impacting my life both directly and indirectly. The people that DO live the life Jesus has called them to and patterned for them also impact my life directly and indirectly. These second groups of people are my “life treatment”. They are the people that show me the value in ‘weeding my life’ of the things that are smothering me from God’s beauty lying dormant beneath the weeds. My beauty can and will be choked out on earth, by the lack of care and maintenance.
The other even more important lesson from the lawn is the water. We all know that water is life giving. It is something we thirst for and must have in order to sustain life. My lawn dies within about 10 days without water. It is able to be revived, but it is dry and brown and dusty. We can water it faithfully each day or even each week and bring it back to life…but if we let it go more than say…a month without water…it could reach the point of no return.
The same is true for too much water. It rains quite a bit in Oklahoma in the spring and fall and sometimes the grounds will be flooded with water. The grounds can take this occasional flooding without much negative impact. If this flooding continues for days and days and days…the grounds and the lawns will ‘drown’ and they will die.
Just like my lawn, without water our body cells shrivel up and go into a state of dehydration and we can die without it. Our chemistry is such that without water the brain will “dry up” literally! We can go a few hours, days even possibly many days without water, but then we reach a point of no return. We reach a point of death. Also like our land, our lives can get too much water too fast. Marathon runners will tell you if you drink too much water while running, you can die. Your body can only handle so much water before it can’t ‘handle excess’.
God offers water, life giving water to us in so many forms. We sometimes die of thirst at our own hand. We will not seek God’s word in the Bible or in prayer. We will ‘thirst’ ourselves from the “body” God has placed us within (in church). We will ‘thirst’ ourselves of the lessons God is teaching us in so many ways.
Yesterday I went to our church 2 year anniversary picnic and no one brought bottles of water. We had tons of soda and even some Gatorade, but the prevailing request was water. Eventually some people went to buy some water, but the thirst that came was overwhelming. I got home and drank about 80 ounces of water in a two hour time period. I was “dying of thirst”.
Believe it or not, we can also get too much water. If we immerse ourselves completely in the water God offers, we are no longer living in the world where God has placed us. We are living on a cloud, adrift without any ability to teach or learn from the others God has brought to us. God brought us weeds and the ability to thirst so that we would know what it is and be able to relate to others who thirst and have weeds. If someone didn’t go before us and deal with weeds and deserts, we would never understand how to do it ourselves.
I’m praying that as summer comes in full force, you will provide your lawn and your life with the water it wants…and needs everyday, and that you would KNOW, through wisdom how much it will take to sustain your life and the lawns.
Friday, June 02, 2006
I sometimes imagine that the clouds above us actually serve to hide the doorway to heaven. In my mind I picture when Christ returns…the clouds will part and the sky will open and all the Glory of Heaven in Christ will be revealed as He returns to collect all the children of God.
My husband’s mom had mentioned some times ago she wanted to make a calendar of different doors she sees in her travels. I hadn’t really given it much thought until I returned to Albuquerque for this recent visit and started to see the beautiful and unique doors covering the urban landscape. I decided this might be the right time to start “collecting” the photos of the doors I find interesting to include in the calendar or to make a unique and inspirational photo collage of doors.
By now you all know I am the proud owner of a “wandering mind”, while it may have been a source of contention among educators in my youth, it is now the source of rambling words, random salt and pepper for my soul, and a bit of a speed bump to the journey we call life. As I started reviewing photographs from the trip and I happened upon the first few doors, I started discussing, with the captive audience that was/is my husband, the “door of our lives”. In a word he thought the title was: “Cute”. And so we thought about, and volleyed the different doors in our lives.
My initial reaction was the doors in a house. The front door, which allows open admittance to those keyed individuals, and allows protection from unwanted intruders or unkeyed individuals. The front door to my home is also the door to my refuge, to those I love, to my earthly treasures. I open this door rarely, as we enter and exit through the garage, being the evolved auto-mobile travelers that we are. When I do open the front door to allow admittance to my home, it is with a smile and certainty that it is being opened to a friend or loved one. To me the front door to my home is “security”.
I traveled through my home mentally and thought of other doors and their meanings in my journey. I mentioned the garage door which is an automatic overhead door (hey, we’re not complete barbarians here! We do have some technology in the South!). It opens slowly and evenly and makes others aware of its power by the motor humming and spring contracting. The garage door is another door to our home. It is less conspicuous and more secure. It can only be opened by those holding the ‘code’ to the overhead door. For me, the overhead garage door is akin to my prayers to God. I know the code to reach God, and I use it daily…and often and it’s comfortable there. The garage door to my home is “comfort”.
I thought of doggy doors (don’t have one, but need to install for limited animal access), the bathroom door (used to clean, primp and preen), the bedroom door (used for sleep and intimacy), the SPARE bedroom door (used for visitors and storage), the office door (used for work and creativity), the hall closet doors (storage and HIDING things), the attic pull down door (more storage and VERY hidden things), the fireplace door (protects me from direct fire and ash, and reminds me of the heat with which we are formed). All of these doors of our lives represent different things to us.
My husband then interrupted this line of thinking by saying: “what about revolving doors?”
That’s when I switched gears and realized I was doing it again…I was boxing the doors God had given me. I was peering through a tunnel the doors I saw. I had to stretch my mind outside my HOME and think globally.
Revolving doors: God gave me revolving doors to remind me that there is an entry and an exit. Revolving doors sometimes require some effort to “start” by pushing on the handle or moving forward through them, and sometimes they are constantly running and you have to slip in between two of the doors. I’ve seen many a near-miss in bigger cities of elderly people or very young children trying to slide between doors and missing a step or not being synchronized enough to gain entry. This reminds me that revolving doors are not to be taken too lightly. All doors have tests. All doors require thought before entry, at least the first time you attempt…and maybe several times thereafter.
The automatic door seems even easier. These are those large doors that have a ‘sensor’ indicating weight or shadow that result in opening. They remind me of the old ‘slider doors’ on Star Trek, but sadly they don’t make that “whoosh-whoosh” sound in real life. Automatic doors could be doors God is opening for us because He wants us to go through…but they could also be doors opening automatically by the enemy trying to lull us away from our journey. Discernment is required when approaching automatic doors. I can’t tell you how many people I see exiting through the entrance and vice versa. I am not legalistic about it to the point of commenting, but I still shake my head… Clearly, reading is a lost art form!
I thought of Vault Doors. Those GIGANTIC doors used in banks and in high secure areas. They are fire, bomb, water, and hazardous waste resistant! These doors are clearly for protecting us or protecting stuff FROM us. These doors amaze me. They are sound proof, so no noise comes or goes. These doors are heavy with combinations that sometimes change and are randomly determined. These doors make me think of the hidden place of my heard that I dare not enter, or cannot yet gain entry. These are the doors that God is preparing for me to enter. When it is time, they convert to an opened door. I can use these doors to hold earthly treasures TOO securely and that is NOT something God desires from me. Why is it we have a tendency to lock away things we love?
I thought of hidden doors. The doors in a library for example that may lead to another hidden room. I think the initial purpose of these doors was also security. I know that the hidden doors in my own life are often masking something I think I’ve hidden from God. God knows about all my doors, He was with me when they were installed. God knows about all the stuff I don’t even remember I’ve put in there. These hidden doors are much like the baggage I’ve written about over and over again…the baggage I keep taking to the cross and then forget to leave it there. These are the hidden doors of our lives.
As I pulled pictures this morning for this post (because I’m such a visual person, in case you were wondering), I found a picture of “colored doors” (above) and I realized the door, while it’s function is to keep things in OR out…can be made prettier with color or adornment. I think the rationale of “prettying” a door is akin to the makeup I wear. The makeup is about masking or covering what’s underneath. It’s sometimes used as a ‘crutch’ to shield myself and others from a ‘scar’ or marking I don’t want others to see. I think the more adorned the doors in my life, the more scars and marks I’m attempting to cover up! I have also seen others with adorned “doors” in their lives and I sometimes think its pride in their life or a need to outdo others with adornment. At least in my own life that has been a time of adorning doors.
I also found this picture of what I call “the doors to nowhere”. These perplex me. This picture reminds me of when I think I’m following God’s plan and purpose for my life and entering and exiting doors randomly thinking I’m ‘right on track’, when in fact I’m going absolutely nowhere! I hear God say: “Stop, Kim, and drop to your knees, seek my face, pray fervently, and I will direct you to the doors I have for you!”
There was this picture of what I call “endless doors”. I think this is where I am right now with regards to infertility and adoption. Initially I thought I was still at “the doors to nowhere”, but now I know I’ve placed myself in front of the “endless doors”. It could just be magic from the enemy putting a mirror up to confuse me, or it could be a door that I must travel in faith not knowing what’s at the end of the hallway. I do know this…I will not go down that hall alone. I am taking my Savior with me!
These, my friends, are the doors of my life!
This seems a fitting reminder and prayer today:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8
Thursday, June 01, 2006
During my lunch break on Tuesday, pastorman and my husband came back from lunch and pastorman stopped in to say hey! He informed me, with appropriate enthusiasm, that our church now has 5…count them F*I*V*E pregnant woman! When I left (just days ago) I was aware of 2 and possibly a 3rd, but 5 came as a shocker! We’re still a small church of about 50-70 regular attenders.
In my mind, I had been doing so well accepting God’s plan…which might just be without children. God had to push me a bit, because clearly I had only snuffed the long-held feelings and they once again were rearing their ugly head. “WHY GOD WHY! Why do I have to experience such lack? Once again I heard satan haunting my thoughts with insecurity and fear and doubt of my worthiness.
I hadn’t really thought about babies much since the most recent “negative pregnancy test”, when I actually prayed about adoption and had a brief conversation with my wonderful husband about it all. The downside to such a peace-loving, peace-seeking, non-confrontational type husband is I’m never sure of his enthusiasm over one of my ‘ideas’. Granted adoption is more than just an ‘idea’. Adoption in my mind’s eye is; a completely life altering, often overwhelming, paper-trail dragging, budget-stretching, tear-producing, potential blessing of deeply longed for child, venture! It’s that last bit of hope that keeps me moving forward everyday.
I have been following the story of adoption shared by none other than Overwhelmed with Joy and it has been both tearful, heart-felt and rewarding in the end. I know I must have found her through God’s urging, because not even a month after I went to a website listing some of the adoption “forms” I would need to complete, and felt completely unprepared and WAY overwhelmed…I found her site.
Now, when I start to feel really overwhelmed and scared and uncertain about whether it’s “worth it to even try”…I go read a bit about her wonderful child and the lengths they went to bring him home! I have read her thoughts and feelings (the ones she has shared) and have felt such reassurance from God that doors that feel locked…are only stuck or jammed and there to keep me searching for the window He is leading me to.
There are now 5 women at my church about to become mothers, both for the first time and in some cases second or third time. I can honestly say I am thrilled and my heart is bubbling over for these women. I pray God would show me and grow me and push me and nudge me and lead me and still my heart. I pray God would bless each of these women and their babies and that the love, with which these babies were created would be the core of love felt at our church and as cliché’ as it sounds…the whole world!
There is nothing like new life to remind us just how fragile we really are.
There is a Scripture I don’t remember even thinking about until one of my dearest friends used it on the baby announcement of her son, and it continues to guide my hope and heart and it’s one of my weekly prayers:
“For this child I have prayed and the Lord has granted my petition.”
Kim’s Seven Sevens
7 Books I Love:
1. Messy Spirituality, by Mike Yaconelli
2. Dangerous Wonder, by Mike Yaconelli
3. Adventures in Missing the Point, by Brian McLaren
4. A New Kind of Christian, by Brian McLaren
5. The Story we Find Ourselves In, by Brian McLaren
6. Transformation, by Bob Roberts Jr.
7. Help I’m Being Intimidated by the Proverbs 31 Woman, by Nancy Kennedy
7 Movies I Can Watch Over and Over:
1. When Harry Met Sally
2. A Walk in the Clouds
3. Sleepless in Seattle
4. Total Recall
6. Pretty Woman
7. Love Affair (1994 remake of An Affair to Remember)
7 Things I Say Often:
3. You have HUGE issues.
4. Scratch! Please…
5. Walk in a manner worthy of your calling.
6. Get it together Kim!
7. No Way!
7 Things I Love About My Spouse:
1. He is the first human to love me unconditionally.
2. The way he smells when we are getting ready to go out.
3. The way he will sacrifice for me.
4. His peace-driven and peace-led life.
5. His inability to scream at me.
6. His intelligence.
7. His love of God over everything else!
7 Things I Cannot Do:
1. Be late (I’m so right there with you Tess…hate being late and hate it when others are late, it’s “CLEARLY, an ISSUE”)
2. Drive behind a car going less than the speed limit.
3. A Cartwheel.
4. Run a marathon.
5. Lose ALL my excess weight…though I’ll never give up trying to!
6. Wear a bikini. (see #5 above)
7. I cannot tolerate prejudice and I WILL say something.
7 Things I Want to Do Before I Die:
1. Raise a child.
2. Go to a beach in the Virgin Islands.
3. Have a book I’ve written published.
4. Design and see built, my dream home.
5. Visit all states I haven’t been to.
6. Use a pottery wheel to create something.
7. Celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary with my husband! I’ll be SO old!
Once again, I’ll tag those of you willing to do this, please let me know to come visit and see your answers…