New Background

Can You Hear Me Now?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

In Other Words

"Satan's ultimate lie is that you are capable of being the god of your own life, and his ultimate bondage is getting you to live as though his lie is truth." ~ Neil Anderson ~

In my humble opinion, Neil Anderson is one of the best writer’s and warriors of Spiritual Warfare. He offers spiritually grounded answers to the questions that haunt many of us with regards to the war for our soul.

That said, I offer this story…

There was no forbidden tree in my life. There was no serpent tempting me to taste of the forbidden fruit. For me it was far simpler.

Satan tried to convince me that the only lord I needed in my life was myself. He tried to convince me that the only person I should answer to is myself. If I had any self-respect at all I would quit being led by the ‘magical mystery’ that God represented and I would choose to create my own destiny.

It started to work on me. I started to measure my self-worth on my ability to do things on my own. Knowledge held more power than wisdom. Personal achievement held more lure than mercy and grace. Being lord of my own life held more appeal than ‘selling out’ to the seemingly weak Jesus-Freaks.

I felt certain that success was in my next achievement. I believed that success had everything to do with who I was and what I got done in life. I struggled in my career because I couldn’t accept less than perfection.

Satan began to nudge me and tried to convince me that my weakness was my inability to take control of my life and just destroy anyone in the way…on my ascent. The sole goal was to climb to the top of the heap and take out as many competitors as I could on my climb.

The best me was the strong, overpowering, totally independent ME!

The problem with self built, self-promoting is that fall back to earth is a long, painful trip. I’ve shared about my return to Oklahoma and how God ordained this move and how God ordained the position I accepted and eventually everything in our lives.

The first few years were tough…walking humbly was not something I was accustomed to. I was all about PRIDE…and PRIDE was a good thing…until the fall.

That is when I finally realized God was reaching out to me in this time of ‘want’. Only when I fell did I realize that He was molding me and refining me…only then did the chains of bondage break and my heart broke along with them.

I’m exactly where God has me at this moment for a reason…a reason I may not know until tomorrow, or tomorrow’s tomorrow, or…well you get the picture. God’s truth is the ONLY truth that will truly set you free!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

D is for Disciple

Once again God heard my prayer and answered louder than I anticipated or expected. It seems to return to expectations over and over again…for me.

I was having a less than stellar Sunday morning and really questioning my own and my husband’s motivation for attending church. We agreed we both are in need of some deeper teaching…something deeper with Christ. I also recalled my own desire to do more than just warm a seat at church each Sunday. We tabled our discussion as we entered the building.

We got through the pre-service visiting, the first two songs to lead us into our service time and I prayed that God would break my heart. I prayed that I would just take HIS lead and not try to jump ahead of where He has us in this church. Then a video started on the screens. In the middle of the screen was the word “Disciple”.

The video appeared to be a Rabbi discussing the definitions of the word Disciple. I sat there shaking my head disbelieving that so soon after my own prayer and desire to seek more discipling in our church…here and now…today…God was answering my prayer with a resounding YES and a request to get on board with His plan.

The pastor took the stage after the video and a few things he brought up really hit me. The first was that being a disciple means ‘having your life pressed against someone else’s life’. He talked about the parallel to apprenticeships and how the apprentice learns by watching and learning from his/her teacher.

I listened as Pastorman continued to encourage us to seek this type of relationship either to teach another…or be open enough…humble enough to BE taught. It was absolutely God banging on the door of my heart and yet I continued to hold back a bit.

After the service and Pastorman’s call to us to complete a commitment card to this discipling plan…I quickly ushered my husband out towards the front door when one of my dear friends at church approached me quickly and asked to speak to me.

This woman is one of my sources of strength and leadership and she knows Scripture like someone twice her age. She asked me if I would pray about the two of us entering into this discipleship model. She asked me to disciple her. I informed her I felt we may be able to mutually disciple one another as we have strengths in different areas.

I promised her I would pray about it and while I don’t yet have an answer I know God will definitely answer this prayer.

I remembered the formal ‘mentoring’ program I was a part of with our past church and how much it meant to me and to the young woman I mentored. It was a humbling experience and one that continually glorified God each time we met. She taught me…and I taught her. It really was a mutual relationship.

I continually stand in amazement at God and His incredible sense of timing! I guess I shouldn’t be amazed…after all He IS God!

Have a blessed Sunday….it’s back to work and training tomorrow. I probably won’t be around much til Wednesday as the first couple of days are the busiest. We’ll see!

I’m just now finishing up catching up on my reading.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Random Raving

1. It’s Thursday night...and I am still not adjusted to my new ‘schedule’.

2. It seems I don’t have nearly as much free time anymore…which is not all bad…and not all good.

3. I’m glad tomorrow is Friday.

4. I had no idea just how tired I would be working a legitimate 8 hour shift…or more.

5. Cubicles are still “cool” to me.

6. I wonder how I’ll feel in six months of cubicle life.

7. I’m thinking of unique ways to decorate my little space.

8. I am reminded each day one of the reasons God created me…

9. To encourage others…

10. And lead others…

11. And be led daily by Jesus.

12. I finally switched to NEW blogger.

13. I felt so much ‘blog-pressure’ every time I logged on.

14. I’m worried I’ll regret it.

15. I’m worried it will lose part of my ‘stuff’.

16. It looks the same, but is it?

17. I miss my blog time immensely.

18. I’m looking forward to a weekend of blog-surfing and commenting like mad!

19. You all rock and I need my ‘fix’.

20 I gotta get some sleep!

21. Praise God, tomorrow is “jeans-day”!

Blessings for a beautiful Friday!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Blog Meme

Morning Glory at Seeds From My Garden had this meme up and she invited anyone who wanted to tag themselves and join in. I like I'm in and it's a break from all the mental work my brain has been doing at this new job...which I still love but have a huge learning curve! I'll get it. I'm just too new to even set many goals yet.

1. Do you like the look and content of your blog?

For the most part. Some days it's a bit too green for me...but I love the graphic at the top and all t
he work Susie Pie put into it. I think I'm a bit less 'high maintenance' in life and may go back to just a white screen with little on the sidebar to distract from the actual writing process. We'll see.

2. Does your family know about your blog?

I think the whole family knows I blog. I don't think the whole family reads it, which is probably for the best. I don't necessarily have anything to hide, but I am completely honest in this space and sometimes I think writing comes across a bit stronger than dialoguing.

3. Can you tell your friends about your blog?

I've told some of my friends about my blog. Again if I sensed an interest in my writing, from friends, I would gladly tell them about this journey for me.

4. Do you just read the blogs of those who comment on your blog?

No. I surf...a lot! I love to look up new blogs. I love to jump around and do google searches of random things I'm interested in, and read blogs. I love to read authors' blogs and I love to read blogs of Christians that think outside the box of American Christianity.

I also read the blogs on the sidebar of some of my own favorite reads to find their favorite reads.

5. Does your blog positively affect your mind.

Yes! It sometimes also HURTS my mind from all the introspection and complete and utter honesty...but it almost always positively affects my mind. God has really enabled me to work through so much in this's been very, very good!

6. What does the number of visitors to your blog mean?

If I were completely honest I’d have to say it feels darn good to see lots of visitors…but I remind myself when I’m going to that ‘bad’ place of people pleasing…that I blog for God and for growth and for writing experience. I do NOT blog to gain an audience or to appease someone else, even my ego!

7. Do you imagine what other bloggers look like?

Not typically. I imagine what they will write about sometimes, but not what they look like.

8. Do you think blogging has any real benefit?

If I didn’t I wouldn’t be here. Absolutely full of value and so therapeutic for me!

9. Do you think that the blogosphere is a stand-alone community separated from the real world?

I think it’s as authentic as we allow it be. If I sense or read something contradictory on a blog I tend to steer clear of it. I need authenticity. I desire it in myself and seek it in others. I think the blogosphere is only separated in that we probably rarely share the very deepest part of our soul on a regular basis. It is a part of the real world in that…this is how we often interact in person as well!

10. Do some political blogs scare you? Do you avoid them?

The political blogs don’t scare me as much as some of the RELIGIOUS blogs. I avoid whatever isn’t in line with God’s leading. Sometimes I do read in amusement…but I find myself sometimes so full of angst from reading something I’m better off just ‘avoiding’.

11. Do you think criticizing your blog is useful?

It depends on the invitation. If it is a blog for writing critiques…than yes…criticize away…if it is just my own rambling…you are obviously invited to comment (in accordance with your heart) and I’ll either take it or leave it, but ultimately criticizing to me is less productive than perhaps redirecting or actively ‘listening’ to what I’m writing.

If you don’t like what you read…don’t feel compelled to visit…that’s my motto.

12. Have you ever thought what would happen to your blog if you died?

I have saved my blog entries as a disk diary just for writing sake. There are some things I write, that come from the Holy Spirit that I have to go back and read to learn what I’m supposed to learn from them. I save it all because it’s been such a vital part of my journey and it is a journal afterall.

13. Which blogger has had the greatest impression on you?

This IS the hardest question. Every blog I read has had an impression on me on some level. I read various blogs for various reasons; some for entertainment, some for devotional reading, some for friendship, some to encourage and be encouraged, some to be pushed, some to pray, some to listen, some to learn…so many reasons, so many blogs!

14. Which blogger do you think is the most similar to you?

I have commonalities with so many bloggers. Again, we are each so multi-layered that it would be impossible to narrow down to just one I am most similar to.

15. Name a song you want to listen to.

This is a totally random questions for the end of this Meme…okay…I’d like to hear any old ‘crooner’ song…maybe “The Way You Look Tonight” (Frank Sinatra) or perhaps “That’s Amore” (Dean Martin) or “It Had To Be You” (Tony Bennett). Love the crooners’ music!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Nobody Move!

How is it we can scream and shout and jump up and down with enthusiasm about a sports team…but in our churches and in response to the God of the Universe, we often seem more like a group of exhausted senior citizens, medicated and ineffectual? I just don’t understand. What’s more some locals here laugh and joke about one of the churches that DOES shout, scream, and jump up and down for GOD! Is there a limit to the enthusiasm we should show God?

As I stood in my church on Sunday, I started to get a bit excited that we stepped outside the regular two hymns and three worship songs and actually began to sing a semi-praise song. Then as if I’d been punched in the gut, I realized I was once again a ‘lone-clapper’ and I felt like a hyperactive seven year old and stopped my clapping…returning to the sway-and-slap-my-leg-routine. Somehow it just doesn’t seem enough.

I can begin to imagine how David felt as he welled up so full of the Spirit of God that he had to dance and shout and sing LOUDLY! While I pray to God I don’t EVER dance naked…I do desire to respond to the spirit that moves me. I hate that those around me…my brothers and sisters in Christ are so inhibited by one another that they/WE refuse to respond to something so strong.

What’s even more troubling for me is these are the same people I’ve attended football watching parties with and they can “whoop it up!” But for God…nada.

God has whispered in my ear at least three times of His desire to INFUSE the worship of our little church and I don’t doubt God can do it. It’s just really hard for me to stifle this spirit…this desire within me that wants so badly to express God!

I know my pastor would say… ‘DON’T stifle it! Respond to God as HE calls you! Don’t worry about what’s going on (or not going on) around you!’ I keep my eyes closed and I raise my hands when led to…but this silent worship is really rough for me! My husband isn’t much help. He’s so out of rhythm with his clapping that he could get the whole group sounding like a group of disharmonic seals slapping their sides rather than a unified group worshipping together.

Please pray that I would respond to God’s spirit and never let PEOPLE inhibit this natural flow, the rhythm that so desires to be heard to the heavens.

Have a Tuesday full of perfect harmony and clap…LOUDLY when the spirit leads you.

P.S. My first day on the job went swimmingly! It went SO fast…lots to do, lots to learn, lots of names to learn, lots of opportunity! Praise God for this wonderful blessing!

Prayer & Expectation

We pulled into the parking lot of the small strip mall where our church is located. As soon as the front wheels turned into the lot, I immediately felt the tires struggling to gain traction on the slush and ice covered lot. We moved slowly out of the flow of traffic from the clear main road and about 15 yards up. I once again felt the grabbing of the tires, far away from one of the cleared parking places.

We were sitting sideways and seemed out of reach of any parking place while the tires spun freely in all gears, including reverse. I remember from my years in Colorado the best approach is the ‘rocking’ back and forth. It was no use. We were stuck. I didn’t give it much thought. I knew (and expected) eventually either Paul or someone would help push us off the ice.

Sure enough, not two minutes later the Pastor and one of the church members came out and pushed us free.

As I sat in church I listened to the Pastor’s words. He began his sermon on “What it Means to be Followers of Jesus”. The first thing he mentioned was from A.C. Dixon, The Necessity of Prayer. Dixon said: ‘...our weakness appeals to God’s strength.’

Immediately my mind flashed back to our ‘slippery’ situation earlier in the morning. I thought about many times in my life when I feel weak! I find myself sliding out of control; unable to make wise decisions, unable to hear anything but the gnashing of my own teeth and my own clanging cymbals.

Don’t get me wrong…I pray. I pray a lot! I pray out loud. I pray throughout the day. But I don’t always pray with expectation and the hope of that strength God can offer.

I thought about how often I give up far too soon and way before I’ve heard back on a request…a prayer, to the Almighty, ALL POWERFUL GOD; Creator of the Universe.

Then God showed me, in the vision, how there was NO WAY I would just get out of my car when it was stuck and just leave it there and ‘give-up’ on it. I would’ve sat in that car rocking back and forth till every bit of ice beneath my tires was burned to evaporative fog, before I just got out of my car and ‘gave up’!

Why am I not willing to be as tenacious and combative in my own prayer life? Why then do I settle for less than what God has to say about something…EVERY something I encounter? What is it God is trying to show me other than my deficit?

God wants me to know not only how much He wants to hear from me; throughout the day, God also wants me to wait…and listen to His voice in response to those prayers. God wants me to see that my faith in Him is contingent on total reliance of Him; in word and action. God wants me to know that as I speak and listen to Him in prayer, my slipping and sliding come to an utter standstill and my life is once again in full contact with the smooth roads ahead.

God gave me a vision today, one that didn’t shed such a pretty light on me. It is truth. It begs growth. He is the only way safely off the ice and onto His clear and smooth path.

Here is my prayer today: God help me to pray without ceasing; listen to your voice and respond in obedience to your will, not mine. Oh and Father, please keep the really dangerous drivers far, far away from me!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Psalm Sunday

I just got back from seeing "Freedom Writers" and I'm telling have GOT to go see this movie.

I laughed. I cried. I cheered and cursed (on the inside). I left the movie touched and hopefully changed...for the better.

The movie...this one of survival. It is a story of unity and spirit. It is it is not always pretty.

I had seen several of the interviews with this teacher and I think Hilary Swank did a great portrayal and honored this teacher. I also heard in one of the interviews that some of the 'actors' they used were living in that area and while they weren't students of this teacher, they were in gangs and were living in these gang-infested areas. The story was their reality. There was one young actor who shared that his mother was such a druggy that he felt this movie may be his only way out of his situation...I hope he made it out.

It reminded me of something that I realized many years ago.

1. Prejudice is born of ignorance and bred by hatred.
2. Sometimes it takes an outsider to help see the 'bigger picture'.
3. Hope comes from even one.
4. We really can pay it forward!

I also want to remind everyone of Butterfly Kisses new Sunday opportunity: Psalm Sunday.

Today is Psalm 3. I read it before church this morning and have given it much thought. For me the verse that speaks...and was reiterated during this movie today is verse 3:

"But you, O Lord, are a shield around me;
you are my glory, the one who holds my head high."
I can't imagine a greater hope than the hope I have in the Lord and His protection of me. The Lord is my glory. He is the one who holds my head high and without Him...I will never prosper.

Friday, January 19, 2007

It’s ALL Good! It’s ALL God!

Some of you have asked about my new job and how it’s going. Well, the truth of the matter is, I’m not holding back…I just haven’t started yet.

You remember my pre-employment drug testing saga earlier in the week? Well it seems the testing laboratory is in Austin, and with the weather (translation ice over ice) we’ve had this week, even with the SLOW melting, the results are just taking much longer than usual. It makes me wonder if someone hand carried them to Austin...or what?

I’ve been informed the results are actually faxed at 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. The wonderful H.R. person I’m working with asked that I be available for her phone call each day by 11:00 a.m. and if I don’t hear from her…I’m off for the day.

Wednesday I didn’t hear from her and I actually got to go to the Big “W” to prepare for this weekend’s anticipated 5-12 inches of snow. All I can say is… ARGHHHHHHH! And at least it’s snow and not ice! AND Wal-Mart actually wasn’t crowded!

The H.R. person DID call Wednesday night and when I called back, expecting to get the okay to start my job Thursday, she informed me that the results continue to be delayed, but…as of Monday, the company I’m going to work for made adjustments to my position and my salary went up by about 20% of my original offer letter. She had to make sure I still wanted to accept the position at the higher salary.

Yeah…as if I even had to give it a thought…of course I accepted the NEW and IMPROVED offer and continue to wait to hear from her for a starting date. God just continues to knock my socks off with this job. I cannot wait to get started but I am enjoying the time of rest and preparation to actually diving right in…head first. I keep joking if I just stay home a bit longer I'll get another raise without actually doing any work!

Thursday I went to Target just so I could remember how the place looks. I have severe Target withdrawals if I don’t get in there at least once a week. I also ‘hung’ with my friend, HMTQ, for a bit.

Now I wait, as I enjoy the final days of sleeping in late and hanging with the ‘girls’ all day. All I’ve done is surf the blogs, watch mindless television, fix dinner for the hubs and acting like a home-bound wife. I’m not sure I could do it on a full-time basis. I just don’t think it’s in me, and I applaud all women and men who do this daily! Thank God for your creativity and endurance.

Whether I go in today or next week sometime, I'm still praising God for all these blessings and remembering…It’s all good and that means…it IS all GOD!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

To Bring God Glory

I painted this so long ago (in the 90’s, I believe) for the small church I was attending. I was young…in my twenties. It hung in that church long after I left. I hadn’t thought about it in a long, long time

Our dear friends came upon the painting in one of the church member’s attics while doing some work for them. They requested the painting because they were a part of the process I went through; physically, mentally, and spiritually while this painting emerged. The person kindly gave it to them.

It has hung in my friends’ house for a few years now. I look at it each time I go to their home. I was very critical of it for a long, long time. As an artist I judged it harshly and without value.

My husband, dear that he is, photographed the painting the last time we were out at our friends’ house for cookie Saturday. I came upon it again while trying to ‘file’ all my saved photos for 2006.

Now I look at this painting with new eyes. I see the face of Jesus without the harsh judgment and self-doubt that surrounded me as the artist. I see the lambs and sheep with actual personality, instead of blobs of white paint.

I see the 'then' imperfect painting as what it is…a gift from God. I see clearly one of the unused talents He has given me and how I have wasted it. I hear Him calling to me so many times…as I try to cover my ears to His call.

He is not calling me to go forge some peace treaty between warring nations. He is not calling me to preach to thousands of people. He is not calling to me to sing and record music (you better say a BIG thank you to God for that one). He is, however; calling me to use my gifts…whether it is visual arts, writing, whatever He chooses…to bring GOD glory!

I don’t want to waste my talents anymore. I want to USE these GOD-GIVEN talents to bring GOD GLORY! I pray daily that He would open my eyes as He opens doors to walk through and offer these gifts…all to bring God glory.

I pray you have a day full of the glory of God…as you seek to bring GOD GLORY!

On God, Ice Storm 2K7, and Plagiarism

Some time ago I signed up for an online newsletter for Christian Women, called “Right to the Heart”. It’s a valuable e-zine that has thought provoking questions and wonderful ideas for women’s ministry to apply to your local church if desired.

The current issue has a question (in an article) that really ‘got me’. It’s from the editor of the e-zine, Rebekah Montgomery. I don’t know a lot about her. I do know her writing inspires me and draws me closer to God.

Here are her words…and the question:

“I recently had a disappointing setback in my ministry. Seeking the Lord's face, He brought this question to my mind: ‘If you never ministered again, what difference would it make it make in our relationship?’”

I stopped and thought about my own personal answer to this question. She goes on to compare Biblical accounts and she sums up with this:

“…let me ask you this: Are you a "spiritual gold-digger?" Are you only using God like a good luck charm to bless and prosper your life and ministry? Or do you love Him with all your heart, soul, and mind?”

I pray God would reveal any areas of my life that are more self-serving than God-serving. I pray he would reveal even the hidden sin that keeps me from Him.

In other news: My sister is seeking continued prayer support from all the prayer warriors out here! Prayer changes things…we’ve all seen it. There truly is power in spoken prayer…and it honors God.

And finally…I am honored (and a bit irritated) to reveal: my blog has been plagiarized. I was informed by an email from someone who came upon a ‘myspace’ whose writing didn’t fit with a certain entry. The women ‘googled’ the first line of the entry and my original post came up.

I don’t know the ins and the outs of these issues. I went to the site, left a kind message thanking her for the honor but reminding her to honor my request to ask permission to copy my entries…and that her personal online journal was only as authentic as her entries. I then notified the ‘powers that be’ at Aside from that I don’t know what can be done. I attempted to return to the entry later in the day when I never received a reply and she has since ‘blocked’ all uninvited readers from her site.

As I stated above it is an honor to be copied…especially a post that to me was not even that great. I laughed for some time as I thought about what the purpose of this space is (for me) and how my own journey…my own words…would be ‘stolen’ by another person. I know we have similar lives…I had no idea just how exactly similar they are!

Weather update: Streets are slowly clearing. Oklahoma had a total of 14 fatalities directly attributed to this storm…auto and fire related. I am scheduled to start my new job some time today!

Have a Wednesday full of ministry opportunity!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Bottle Water Snob!

First things first…winter is upon us. The blanket of ice (times 2) is so well crusted over that the weight of an average human…heck even the weight of a mid-sized vehicle does NOT break through. It looks like snow…it feels like ice. I stayed home from work today. Just one more day to go (at the ‘old’ job) and I’m starting the new job Wednesday…hopefully!

One of the women from our church had a new baby just before the storm and my husband and I have decided this new child is the epitome of an oldie (and not so goody) “ice ice baby!” I was already calling him “K-2”, so clearly he is a winter baby!

So I wanted to get good shots of the storm to share, unfortunately I have been house-bound since Friday and while we went over to my parents house to take mail in and dig frozen newspapers up from the covered driveway…we went nowhere else…until today. OH...well there was the near chocolate emergency, but I found a 'stash' of chocolate at my moms house and was able to subdue the beast within!

I captured the picture to the left from my front entryway where the crape myrtles usually thrive. The other pic is looking down our street from the front yard. Looks fairly benign...feels quite different to walk and drive on. It reminds me of what the tundra must be like!

I was SUPPOSED to go pick up paperwork from my NEW employer on Friday to take a drug test. Obviously with the storm, I decided against it. I decided to go today instead. We traveled to the worksite first to pick up the paperwork and then headed over to the laboratory.

I had my bottle of water with me and that was following coffee at home this morning and more water. I intentionally did NOT use the restroom prior to leaving so that I would have NO problem producing my sample.

We arrive safely at the lab and I complete my obligatory paperwork, followed the technician back to the restroom and proceed to listen to her lengthy instructions. The vital instructions were as follows:

Do not turn on the water,
Do not flush the toilet,
You have exactly 4 minutes,
You must give a 60 mL sample (equaling approximately 1 inch in the cup)

I’m thinking…no problemo! I take the cup, go into the restroom, and proceed to provide my sample. As women we know it’s an art form to aim into this little cup while trying not to dip our hand into the toilet water, and straddling the seat with pants around our ankles. Apparently it’s an art form I do not possess.

As I’m attempting to get the cup in place, while straddling, my sample begins going down the drain (literally). I sit there as the technician from the other side of the door reminds me of my remaining time. As if I don't feel enough pressure to complete this sample in a timely manner, but alas…it just doesn’t happen. I have failed the submission portion of the exam.

My new instructions which are shared through condemning eyes are:

Drink more water.
Do not leave the building.
Let them know when I’m ready for my next attempt.

They had a television in the waiting room, my husband was entertained watching the Young and the Restless, while I’m trying to focus my innermost self on producing a sample within the shortest time. I watched about 6 other ‘patients’ come and go and I tried to will myself to produce my sample.

I drank a total of three bottles of water…TAP water (remember how I informed you Oklahoma tap water MOLDS)…yep, I must really want this new job! I drank the not-so-tasty tap water until I finally felt that all familiar urgency. I prayed the sample wasn't tainted by the minerals and metals I was tasting in the beverage.

I informed the technicians I felt ready to proceed and paced around while they prepared my paperwork. The technician told my husband he should have tickled me into producing…ha-ha-ha. I couldn’t imagine them wanting to wring the sample out of my pants…so let’s move this thing along.

I repeat the hand washing and select my sample cup…go into the restroom and now that I have mastered the straddle, hold and produce routine, my sample is obtained in record time (record time for me that is). I bring the cup out…wash hands, initial my sample, dump the excess (they have a lot of gall to ask me to dump the coveted sample!) and off we go! It reminded me of the movie “Eight Seconds”.

So, I’m home again. The roads are passable but not safe. We have watched movies and taped television all weekend…let me do a quick review for you:

The Family Stone- loved it…husband hadn’t seen it.
Little Miss Sunshine-funny but a bit dark for my tastes.
Taxi –HILARIOUS. I love Queen Latifah!
RV-HILARIOUS…I also love Robin Williams.
Vertical Limit-Good and edge of seat.
The Good Girl-Not-so-much. Did I really watch the whole thing?

Today we are going to watch “Bringing Down the House”.

We’ve also tried new recipes:

Baked Potato Soup (from a new recipe)-very tasty.
Breakfast Casserole-pretty good…I don’t love corn flakes on my casseroles.
Taco Chicken-very good “new one” for us.
Baked submarine sandwiches-good standby

Today we’re having Baked Ziti (a wonderful recipe of one of my best friends)!

Suffice to say we also have a ton of leftovers. Thankfully my darling husband will eat leftovers…me…not-so-much! I wish someone would write a decent ‘cookbook for two’ or magazine of this nature. I’ve tried some of those little check-out cookbooks for two and frankly they are either for advanced chefs or not interesting or appealing to my taste buds.

I’m looking forward to catching up with my reading this evening and returning to some semblance of normalcy…even returning for my last day at my ‘soon-to-be’ ex-employer tomorrow!

Have a filtered water sort of Monday, I've got to use the restroom...again!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Is It Summer Yet?

There’s nothing like gliding across a smooth rink and hearing the sound of the ice as it is cut by the sharp blades. To feel the cool air flowing by as you slide forward and back. There is this sense of grace and continual movement and momentum. Some speed by and others slowly glide and slide in tandem to the rhythm created by the sounds and the frozen atmosphere...

That’s all fine and good and sometimes even borderline fun (for a few hours) in an enclosed ice-skating rink…but when Oklahoma Highways are ice-laden and cars (including mine) are sliding and gliding to and fro…well that’s a WHOLE other thing!

Yep…it’s icing (notice I didn't say SNOWING?) even now. I can hear the ice hitting the giant glass window I will soon vacate. It is falling and sticking and ice is covering the side roads and even beginning to cover the highway. The windshields are covered, the doors will be frozen shut on our cars and I didn’t even wear a coat…silly Kim!

I’ve got 2 more hours till it’s time to hear home and I’m dreading it already! We had the foresight to grocery shop last night and after almost 2 hours at Wal-mart, which was cleared as if war was imminent, we found a few weekly staples and headed home. I’ve NEVER seen anything like it in my LONG life! The lines were worse than the day after Thanksgiving. The place was PACKED out!

I assume people are concerned because of the other El Nina’ activity, west…
and east of our little prairie protection this year. If only we still had schooners and horses, it wouldn’t seem nearly so daunting.

I may just leave a bit early, seeing as how I’m only here a couple more days anyway and really have little left to offer, in terms of new work. Honestly, I just want to go home and cover my head till summer arrives!

I’ll try to capture some ice-covered pictures with my new camera and post later on this afternoon.

Have an ice-free Friday and drive safe!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

With Gratitude!

Just a very quick note this morning to say thank you to all who have prayed about my job situation. Yesterday afternoon I accepted a new position with another company and in a new field (for me) and I start next Wednesday.

God is so good...It pays almost twice as much as I'm currently making and while it's a supervisory position...I know God has prepared me over these past six years to step back into something that was my 'undoing' so few years ago.

I've been training the person taking over this work and this is the most WORK I've done in some time...So no time to read and comment til tomorrow! We're expecting big storms this weekend so I should have a LOT of indoor time!

Blessings to you all and have a beautiful Thursday!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Saying "I Do"

Revelation 19:7 “Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready.”

As my pastor preached on Sunday and spoke about the bride of Christ, I reflected back to my own journey.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I had been awake for hours, just lying in bed staring at the ceiling. I was dreaming about the new life I was about to enter. I was also contemplating everything I still needed to do to make the day perfect. You see even with all the pre-planning and scheduling, there are always last minute things to be done.

I had dreamed of this day just like almost every other girl in the world. The day I finally went from being the perpetual bridesmaid to the coveted spot just left of center: the Bride. I knew my world was about to change more than I could even imagine.

Without the knowledge and first-hand experience, weddings always appeared as a ‘staged’ performance. There were actors, dressed and made-up, that took spots on stage and performed their role. As I lay in bed considering my own fairy tale day, I realized this was more than a role. This was a decision, a lifelong decision that would absolutely alter my life as I knew it…but only after I willingly gave myself to my groom.

It was absolutely beautiful. The flowers were beautiful. The church was full of family and friends. The music was transforming and the vows we declared before God and family were not entered into lightly. The reception was also a glorious memory…a day unrivaled.

My own wedding, while absolutely the most perfect day of my life, was not the only marriage I would enter into. You see I had been courted by God for quite some time and while I had strong feelings for Him, I was not fully devoted to only Him.

Honestly, I had been spending my lifetime ‘dating God’. He was asking for a lifelong commitment and I wanted to ‘see other people’. He finally asked me to submit to him in marriage and be the bride He longed for and created me to be. The day I submitted to Him and understood that marriage is forever, with my earthly husband and my Heavenly Father is still the best day of my life.

Sure, sometimes I attempt to argue with both my earthly and heavenly Groom, thankfully both of them are full of grace and mercy and forgiveness and together we know that a ‘cord of three strands is not easily broken’. I thank God that He is such a faithful pursuer. I thank God we all said “I Do!”

Lord I pray you would nudge me daily to be the wife you have called me to be, both to Paul and to you. I pray you would guard my heart and would lead me towards a deeper knowledge of you.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hands On

"Wherever you are spiritually whatever you have been through emotionally, you are already wrapped in the Lord's embrace. Held close by nail-scarred hands."~ Liz Curtis Higgs~

I’ve always been a hands-on kind of person. I’m hands-on with work and learn things much more quickly by doing them, rather than hearing about them. I’m the child that took the clock apart to see how it works (never could get ALL the parts re-integrated). I’m also the person that looks at the picture of the completed project and dives right in. I do not bother to read the directions (or at least I didn’t before I aged and grew in wisdom). Those ‘extra’ parts really are quite important most of the time.

I’m hands-on with almost everything….everything that is except people.

Trust of people was not something that came easily in my home. It was however; lost almost immediately upon parental declaration. It was one of the goads that led to my independence at an early age. If I couldn’t rely on others, I knew I’d better learn to rely on myself! That sounds really good and ‘mature’, but what it really breeds is DIStrust for others…including the love spoken so freely from Jesus.

If the Lord can and does see and know every thing I do, say, or think, how could He possibly LOVE ME? It just didn’t make sense. These same offenses were what often led to loss of trust in my house.

The first time the Lord held me it felt uncomfortable and foreign. My heart wasn’t completely convinced I could trust this feeling of comfort, security all nestled in love. The first time the Lord held me I ran. I ran from His embrace as I did everyone else before Him. I was certain to make it on my own was far more important and valuable than to NEED the embrace of Jesus.

The day came when I realized I missed his embrace. I returned to the place He had always been…holding me tightly from the inside out. He never left me. He never let me go.

As I grow and continue on this journey, I openly and sometimes even pride fully share of the embrace of Jesus. The place where I am completely hands on!

Have an embraceable Tuesday!

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Goodbye Girl

It seems my January is all about “Goodbye”. I resigned from a board I had served on for several years (though officially that was December), then I resigned from volunteer activities at my church, and finally resigned from my job.

These have all been decisions made with prayer and contemplation and I joked with my mom about the possibility that God was having me resign because my ‘time was up’ on earth. Death doesn’t scare me and I AM one of those people who can even joke about it.

I realize I still have a lot of my spiritual ‘to do’ list waiting, so while I don’t know the exact day of my own earthly exit, I don’t sense it in the very near future. It’s just strange not having any ‘attachments’ to anything concrete. I have nothing to rush to get done, no meetings to attend, no notes to take, no people to see. Why doesn’t it feel like I have too much time on my hands?

I feel more like I’m on the pinnacle of many NEW things. Originally I thought it would involve the new job I’ve been interviewing for, a new small group with another couple in our church and beginning the adoption process…but even these things seem intangible right now. I don’t feel so ‘certain’ about the small group after meeting with the other couple yesterday. I feel completely unprepared to begin the adoption process. The least uncertain, of the uncertain, is the job.

I have my final interview tomorrow and it’s between me and one other person. The moths that were hovering around the lights have overtaken my stomach. It reminds me of the feeling I used to get as I auditioned for a stage performance. You know the feeling…thinking “I’d feel better if I could just vomit and be done with it!”

I’ll have enough to keep my mind occupied here as I finish this job this week and meet with the ‘outsourcing’ company (who as it turns out is actually the efficiency expert from a few weeks ago). I’m also attending a writer’s small group tonight, at my husband’s urging (Yes, he’s going with me…I’m very shy, believe it or not!). The moths get to work overtime. I am supposed to bring a devotional (up to 500 words). As many words as I’ve got inside…500 shouldn’t take more than…oh 5 minutes.

Before I forget…go check out a new weekly addition to the Blogdom…it’s over at “Butterfly Kisses” place and it’s called Psalms Sunday. She’s going through the Psalms, one per Sunday and there’s a Mr. Linky if you’re so inclined!

Have a Monday full of new beginnings!

Friday, January 05, 2007

World Missionary Needed: No Travel Required

Oprah has been in the news lately, with the schools she had built and is opening this week in South Africa. You can Google it and get several hundred hits. I think it’s wonderful she wants to do this and apparently it fulfills some promise she made to Nelson Mandela some time ago. When asked why she didn’t build a program in the U.S. she stated (inclusively) that people/children in the U.S. have a sense of entitlement, as if they are entitled to both material things and a good education.

I translate that to mean: the kids in the U.S. don’t DESERVE it.

I’m not a HUGE Oprah fan, I never really have been. Sure I’ve seen her show and I’ve cried as she’s given people incredible gifts and fulfilled wishes for many people. But this recent media blitz just reinforced my own feelings about the self-defined philanthropy of these mega-stars.

Let’s talk a bit about entitlement, shall we? Does Oprah honestly think I believe she doesn’t feel entitled to what she has…fame and fortune alike? Furthermore, does she HONESTLY believe there are no ‘deserving’ children in the U.S. for this type of program?

She can do what she wants with her money and fame, my question is about the hundreds of media that were ‘invited’ to this grand opening. Why make it such a showy event if it’s truly done for the betterment of a nation? Clearly there is an advantage and potential gain from this media frenzy.

I know there is a need for ‘mission’ work of all kinds to be done worldwide, but I still affirm that there are needs right here in my city that need to be met. There are homeless people, hungry people, abused people, sick and dying people (children included) right here in this small city.

If your call is to go start a school in Africa…go, by all means…but don’t ever overlook the needs right there in your hometown. You may find your mission work as close as next door, or even in your own home!

Have a missional Friday!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Jesus-Choice Awards

Imagine if you will the perfect set and scenery with heavy drapes and a well-lit stage. The sound from the orchestra pit is building as outside the red carpet is lined with ministry leaders from all over the world entering the 2007th Annual Jesus-Choice Awards!

The statue is a solid gold replica of Jesus (pre-crucifixion), and the categories read a little something like this:

Best Worship Team
Best Technical Effects
Best Large Screen Viewing
Best Off-Site Attendance
Largest Congregation
Best Tithe Collections
Best Sunday Attendance
Best Dressed members
Best New Church
Best Prayer Warriors
Best Miracle Performers
Best Tongue Speakers
Best Tongue Interpreters
Best Holy Spirit Presence
Best Stained Glass Representations
Best Communion body/blood
Best Tele-evangelist
Best Christian Based Movie/Television Program
Most Improved Pastor
Best New Pastor
Best Team Ministry
Best Children’s Pastor
Best Youth Pastor
Best Overall Pastor

Or we could do something like the “Pastor USA” Contest, where 50 different representative pastors from across the country represent their state in a national competition for best pastor. We could have competitions like:

Writing Samples
Church Membership Records
Tithing Records

And the top 5 candidates would have to answer a pre-selected question from the judge panel (Jesus) to decide who wins the Pastor USA Contest. The winner receives free marketing and advertising (worth up to $1,000,000), a year as lead pastor on TBN during primetime, a gold-paged Bible (translation of their choice) for preaching, and of course a crown and gold scepter for demonstrative sermons and personal appearances required by the Association.

You may be wondering where this is coming from…no, I’ve not gone off the deep end…

Super Mom has asked for an opinion on the topic: What’s a success? Lord knows I was never one to withhold an opinion. I also realized my own opinions tend to run much longer than a socially acceptable comment should run and so I chose to write an actual post/comment in my own space.

Here’s the request:

“What makes a successful pastor? What makes a successful church?I'd love to hear from anyone....everyone who has an opinion. I mean...what makes a 'church' a great place for you? What do you think makes a good pastor? (Or pastor's wife?)...and after you figure that out, what I'd like to hear is, how much of what 'we' look for in a church or a pastor, is what Jesus is looking for? Or what He'd call 'successful'?”

I honestly believe the success of a pastor and church lies in the body as much as the Leadership; whether they are called Pastor, Ministry Leaders, Deacons, Priests, or simply members of the body!

I once heard a pastor preach about his success being measured not during his tenure but many years after he is gone. Does the church still exist? Are the members still there and actively involved? Is the church affecting positive change in their community? I tend to agree. It’s wonderful to have awesome leadership, but ultimately God is our leader, our shepherd, and when we rely on another person to fill that God-shaped hole we will lack.

That said, Jesus also asked Peter to ‘feed His sheep’ and Peter did just that. Peter was successful in as much as he heard and heeded Jesus’ request. Did Peter make mistakes? I would have to say…YES!!!! Everyone but Jesus did, does, has, will. Still we are called to strive to be everything He created us to be…in all our imperfections.

For me a successful pastor (and a pastor’s wife) is one striving to be all God created him/her to be. A successful church is one that is mimicking what Jesus modeled for us; inside and outside the building!

Have a Jesus-Choice Thursday!

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

A time to come and a time to go...

I love Ecclesiastes 3 and all it offers in teaching us about time and being in the moment we are in…until the moment is over. I love that we are called to TRUST that God has placed everything we need for that moment to be perfect IN HIM!

You know how the beginning's been the subject and lyrics of many's the part I'm talking about. This is the NLT so it’s even clearer:

A Time for Everything Ecclesiastes 3:9-22

9 What do people really get for all their hard work? 10 I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. 11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. 12 So I concluded there is nothing better than to be happy and enjoy ourselves as long as we can. 13 And people should eat and drink and enjoy the fruits of their labor, for these are gifts from God.

14 And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him. 15 What is happening now has happened before, and what will happen in the future has happened before, because God makes the same things happen over and over again.

16 I also noticed that under the sun there is evil in the courtroom. Yes, even the courts of law are corrupt! 17 I said to myself, “In due season God will judge everyone, both good and bad, for all their deeds.”

18 I also thought about the human condition—how God proves to people that they are like animals. 19 For people and animals share the same fate—both breathe and both must die. So people have no real advantage over the animals. How meaningless! 20 Both go to the same place—they came from dust and they return to dust. 21 For who can prove that the human spirit goes up and the spirit of animals goes down into the earth? 22 So I saw that there is nothing better for people than to be happy in their work. That is why we are here! No one will bring us back from death to enjoy life after we die.

I put my two-week notice in yesterday. It appears that God really wants me to take this into my own hands. I had anticipated a lay-off but clearly that is not to be…which calls into my deep faith to step out and trust He really is preparing another job for me.

I did have an excellent interview Friday with a company and in a new line of work. I had to do about an hours worth of testing (YES, I passed) and then interviewed for an hour or more. It just felt ‘right’ and they are doing a background check now. So…perhaps that’s my new employer and perhaps not. Either way, I trust God has it all worked out.

In preparation for this ‘faith-test’ I also found out that two more women in my church are expecting children. That makes eight within an 8-9 month period. Ironically enough, the new baby news is harder for me to stomach than the job change. I keep waiting to be at the place Shannon got to with her ‘infertility’ struggle…but it continues to elude me. I think I’m handling it okay and then it’s like getting punched in the gut once again. At the risk of being too honest, it feels like judgment…the ‘barren woman’ judgment.

Well, I’m going to trust the “time for everything” words above and believe God is lining up all the answers in HIS time. Let me rephrase…I’m going to trust…with an occasional grimace or two in this space about my feelings.

Here’s to 2007 and every moment of every day…as I strive to live from the inside.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Year in Review

I got this from Mary over at “All I want is a good night’s sleep”. Looks like a good way to sum up 2006!

Instructions: Go to the FIRST BLOG of each month for the past year. Copy and paste the LAST SENTENCE of each blog entry. That is your Year in Review.

January 2006:
What is our purpose, if not to live our passion? That is my question today.

February 2006:
I have remembered my life…so that I could grow into the person God created, taking my memories, learning from each one, and holding on to hope for a better tomorrow!

March 2006:
Let’s drive…

April 2006:
God is so great…I’m back!

May 2006:
I tag GiBee (and her new tecnno-color blog), and my lil’ sister and of course anyone so inclined…Happy Monday!

June 2006:
Celebrate my 50th Anniversary with my husband! I’ll be SO old!

July 2006:
Have a beautiful Monday and remember to pray tomorrow for those who have fought to attain and preserve our freedom!

August 2006:
I guess speed dating really wasn’t God’s idea?

September 2006:
I pray we all walk in THIS truth today and every day! Have a picture perfect Friday!

October 2006:
Have a random kind of day!

November 2006:
Have a wonderful Tuesday and remember to live your life from the inside!

December 2006:I’m already counting the days til summer!

and I'm still counting the days til summer....Happy Tuesday.