New Background

Can You Hear Me Now?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


This campaign season has been the same as every major campaign before. I’m disappointed that we choose to focus on the negative campaigning rather than seeking the truth about any candidate. I’m disappointed that we haven’t shifted to a party-free, popular-vote system…but more than anything I’m disappointed in many “Christians”.

I've heard more disparaging remarks and negativity at my small group than in any other setting. I don’t know if it’s the openness welcomed in this setting, but it has been downright uncomfortable on many occasions and I have found myself near walking out several times.

For someone to tell me I am less of a ‘Christian’, or to question my love for God based on my politics, dug into me hard. But for once in my ‘going-on-45-years’…I did not say a word. I listened and steamed and took deep breaths and drank coffee and wanted so much to engage in the battle…but God said “NO”. I didn't say a word.

Well that’s not entirely true, there was one evening I did say…only half in jest… ‘if we don’t change the subject I’m going to have to leave.’ The group leader did a good job of redirecting conversation back to our study information.

Suffice to say, I’m glad it’s over…or nearly so and as I've been saying all along, it doesn't really matter who is in office…GOD IS ULTIMATELY IN CONTROL! I will continue to pray for our politicians and for our nation and believe we are greater united. I will not gloat, nor will I weep with these people at this week’s meeting. I will once again keep my mouth shut and pray for the peace we have allowed to be compromised during this election.

…and now I will slowly exhale…

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Zoom Lens

I love in photography how close you can get to a shot. Some of these telephoto lenses can zoom up so close you aren’t even sure what you’re looking at.

I’m not so crazy about this feature on my own face, as it tends to show every single skin blemish or discoloration from years of sun abuse with application of sunscreen a year too late. It shows my freckles and wrinkles and ‘age’ spots. The zoom features shows it all and gets me stressing about my ‘imperfections’.

However, when you pull that zoom feature back and take a picture from 5-10 feet…it’s much more forgiving. The little tiny imperfections don’t seem nearly so daunting. I’ve come to realize the same is true in life.

Our pastor spoke last week about our tendency to ‘zoom in’ on all our problems and challenges. We zoom in so tight it appears the only thing we have is problems or challenges. Sometimes we need to zoom OUT and look at the bigger picture. We’ll begin to see just how BIG that problem or challenge is or isn’t.

We zoom out and see family and friends and others’ with even bigger problems and challenges. We see our city and state. We zoom out even more and begin to see this great big universe we live in and isn’t it amazing how much smaller our own problems seem and how absolutely and utterly amazing it is that God can hear our teeny tiny voice among the gazillions of others…and He cares enough to answer our prayers.

I don’t know about you, but I’m going to work on zooming out of my own problems and challenges and see them for what they are...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I am...

I got this from over at B Brats place and it looked 'insightful', so I thought for lack of anything better to write about, I'd use it as an excercise.

I AM … an 'old' soul.
I WANT … to help change the world...for good!
I HAVE … everything I could ever need.
I KEEP … secrets.
I HATE … prejudice and the enemy's mind games.
I FEAR … spiders!
I HEAR … whatever I open myself to.
I DON’T THINK … I could ever be a politician.
I REGRET … nothing. Everyting I have done or experienced is the culmination of who I have become.
I LOVE … my husband, with my whole heart!
I AM NOT … weak.
I DANCE … during worship.
I SING … all the time! and I make up songs too.
I NEVER … pass up chocolate.
I REALLY … thank God for my health!
I CRY WHEN I WATCH … so many things...
I AM NOT ALWAYS … beautiful on the inside or the outside.
I HATE THAT … I cry so easily.
I AM CONFUSED ABOUT … my life's path right now.
I NEED … to study God's word more often.
I SHOULD … Thank my husband for all he does.
I NEED ... to remember.

Since we're on this insight journey I came across a wonderful quote from a magazine. I don't have the source, but here's the quote:

"Heroes are not people who save the world. Heroes are people who serve the world."

Think about that!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Swimming Upstream

My heart is feeling for the salmon this morning. Their battle upstream is often times accompanied by danger and injury and sometimes it’s even fatal. I feel like I am also swimming upstream; however mine is not an innate behavior, it is learned…it is a calling.

I’ve been facing many obstacles lately. Many of these obstacles are due to this ‘calling’. Now I would be the first to admit I’ve been the type of person that often takes the opposite stand (whether it’s my stand or not) on issues. Perhaps it’s a natural desire to debate. Perhaps it’s my flesh crying out for war. Whatever it is, I have grown somewhat accustomed to being on the ‘other’ side of many a popular voice.

My position at work requires that sometimes I get the ‘not-so-fun’ task of redirecting others, or reminding others of the task at hand. People don’t like to be redirected…heck I don’t like to be redirected or reminded.

My political beliefs don’t always line up perfectly with those around me. Sometimes they do…though more often they don’t. And that’s okay. I’ve found its okay to let others’ go on and on and I just quietly listen. I’ve also learned how ridiculous these people come across. I think sometimes the harder you verbally fight for something the less its worth fighting for. I’ve also seen the immaturity of these actions and relish the fact that I am past that point in my life.

My personal beliefs and ethics don’t always line up perfectly with those around me. And that’s okay too. Once again, unless God asks me to speak, I’m working to keep my own mouth quiet and use those two things on the side of my head to process incoming information from a higher authority.

I think what I’m trying to lean on is I did not make these choices alone. I believe the choices I have made, the passion I have is for a reason. I am also trying to remember that the salmon do not swim alone. They swim together and use that as another way of ‘encouraging’ one another upstream. I’ve felt myself pulled downstream in some areas of my life lately, but I’m back on track and pushing upstream once again.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Evolution of a Dummy?

First of all I know no one will read this because there are no 'dummies' here. I just got to thinking about all the Dummies books in existence and what it means to us as the consumer of these products.

After a bit of online research I found that the first Dummies book was published in 1991 and it was on DOS, one of the original operating systems...not a fun one from the user end. Since then there have been over 450 titles and they are millions of these books published in 5 languages.

I think they appeal because of their very basic language. It's a way of catching the 'dummy' in us; up to the amateur or even expert user of whatever lesson we're learning. My husband bought the "Dieting for Dummies", before embarking on his first 'official' diet. That is a life lesson I already had from a lifetime of dieting (maybe it's a gender thing). He also had the "Golf for Dummies". that I purchased for him when he graduated College.

I've personally read the "No-Brainer's Guide to Jesus" and the "No-Brainer's Guide to the Bible". They are both very information books with a bunch of GENERALIZED and fairly 'bipartisan' (if I can use that term) information. They are written by professionals and individuals who have researched these topics extensively. There are interesting facts and figures included in these books that would be helpful in any game of Trivia.

My whole thought process revolved around the evolution of these books. Before we became so diverse and technical and ever 'evolving' on the mother-earth, we existed and learned things from teachers and by trial/error. We have become people who dissect everything we can think of and UPGRADE as many things as we put our hands on. We also want the most generalized, concise information we can get.

Why do we do this? I wonder if it's a God-lesson. I wonder if it's the enemies interference and way of distracting us from our purpose. Sometimes I think we become so focused...even overly focused on UNDERSTANDING everything, that we lose site of the lesson, the experience of learning and the depth of a real education on the subject.

I'm not saying these books aren't helpful or hilarious to read, because they are and there are millions of published books that help defend that hypothesis. What I am saying is what price are we paying in our quest for worldly knowledge? Are we sacrificing our quest for Godly wisdom?

I think Satan has us running circles as we upgrade phones, computers, televisions, cars, etc... so much so, that we have closed our Bible and our mind to the everlasting lessons that are held between those gild pages. I hope my personal evolution doesn't end as a DUMMY!

**side note: We went up to see my sister, niece and nephew yesterday. It was a 'full' day. The hubs was busy all day doing stuff with the nephew. I spent the day with my sister and niece. My niece is doing okay. She is still in pain, both physically and emotionally, but she KNOWS God has her back. She knows God has this baby because it is HIS creation. Thanks to all those who have prayed and are praying for this broken family.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Growing Pains

“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things unseen.” Hebrews 11:1

My precious niece had a miscarriage today. The pregnancy was not planned, but the baby was already loved in abundance by both my niece and the whole family. She had even been brave enough to ‘break it’ to my parents. They took it hard and cried many a tear over both my niece and that precious baby. She was about 9 weeks along.

I’m not sure what to think or say. I know I’m hurting for her and I can’t begin to image the pain she feels right now.

The well-known verse above is part of our church’s weekly reading. Not ironic, but God timed I’m certain. The first phrase really stuck in my head when I got the call about the baby.

Faith is the SUBSTANCE of things hoped for the evidence of things unseen.

Faith IS the SUBSTANCE (essence, reality) of things I hope for AND the evidence of things unseen. I can’t see where that baby is now. But I have an absolute assurance that he or she IS WITH GOD. My faith tells me so…every part of my ‘essence’ tells me so.

We all know growth comes with pain. I know my niece is in pain right now…and I know she’s growing! Her faith will grow. She has a new, albeit extremely painful, life experience that God is walking her through. She will take this day, this experience with her and it will forever be a part of her ‘testimony’ a memory to hold and cherish of the baby God gave her…for only 9 weeks.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Key to Asking

God spoke to me today so clearly in church. The pastor was speaking about focusing not on HOW, but on WHO! ONLY when we focus on WHO can we realize our potential. The HOW may seem like only a trap the enemy sets to keep us from God's purpose; but I have seen in my own life choosing to focus on the HOW rather than the WHO and drifting aimlessly and unhappily through life.

The next thing God told me very clearly was about our prayers and asking for God to reveal himself, and asking for God to bless us, and asking God to heal us, and asking God to teach us...

God simply whispered into my ear: RECEIVE.

The key to asking is RECEIVING that which He has given.


Friday, September 19, 2008

10-Years Ago Today

10-years ago today I woke up and felt the hope of a new beginning.

10 years ago today I dressed to the nines

10 years ago today I was surrounded by friends and family.

10 years ago today I walked down the aisle.

10 years ago today I met him at the altar.

10 years ago today I said I-DO.

10 years ago today 1 heart stopped and two hearts began beating together.

10 years ago today my life began anew.

I love you Paul! You will always represent the sweetest memory of yesterday, the love of today and the hope of tomorrow.

And I would marry you again in a heartbeat.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Warrior of Worry

Worrying has been on my mind for a couple of weeks now. It started when the small group we attend was discussing the definition and clarification of worrying. There was some consensus (not by me) that 'concern' is not the same as worry. I think they were splitting hairs. I believe worry could be classified as uncontrolled concern.

I started thinking about it then and apparently my ears have been attuned to any talk of worries. I hear it at work: Co-workers worried about work issues, worried about home and money and bills and kids and school and layoffs and gas prices and every little and big thing a person could worry about.

My mother is worried about my sister. My father is worried about my niece. My niece is worried about her mother and life in general. My nephew is worried about his mother and grandfather. I begin to fall prey to the worry around me. It takes a physical effort to retrain my thoughts and prevent the worry from seeping in.

Then I listened to complete strangers in different settings and I heard worry there too. People worried about the election, more worry about gas prices, the stock market, grocery prices, unemployment, disability, bankruptcy, murder, and every other thing people worry about.

Then I listened to our guest pastor this past week and he spoke about worries of finances and health and he led us all to pray about debt cancellation and physical healing for sick bodies. He spoke directly about worry and how it can 'trip us up' in our faith.

Needless to say it's been on my mind. The study I do each week, called "Hiding From Love", also talked about how worry can affect our lives and marriage and faith. I'm pretty sure they will soon talk about how worry can be the precursor to much of our hiding.

I'm really trying to focus on what the word says and it's clear that Satan knows this is an area that could trip ANYONE up, so he uses it universally. I'm going to have to speak these Scripture to him aloud and remind him I am the daughter of a KING!

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? Luke 12:24-26

I love that the Word specifically tells me I am more valuable than the birds he cares for and feeds and that worrying will essentially add nothing to my life that is good.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:33-34

I love that in this Scripture Jesus tells us that in focusing on God's kingdom and HIS righteousness and worry will be a non-issue. He goes on to tell us that the physical act of worrying merits nothing for us.

So here's to a worry free Wednesday!

In the words of one of my favorite songs: "Don't worry, be happy!"

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Safety Glass

I've had a hard time coming here lately...well not so much coming, but leaving anything when I do come. I'm going to try to be better about it.

The beauty of this blog has always been the ability to be the REAL me, yet still covered. I can peel back the layers at my own pace. I can continue to cover the scars with a band aid and not fear exposure here behind this screen.

I have found incredible encouragement at times. I have also found TONS of judgment and criticism. I almost have an easier time accepting the negative because that is how I'm programmed.

In God's perfect timing, I've just started a study with a friend; "Hiding From Love" by John Townsend. A really good book if you haven't read it. The first week of this study is about how sometimes when we choose to hide from evil, we also begin to hide from good out of inability to discern the two in our hearts.

I'm hopeful this study will help me allow God to heal past hurts and be able to accept encouragement as exactly what it is and not some hidden agenda that the enemy tries to convince me it is. I'm hopeful I'll find my way from behind the safety glass of this screen to develop real relationships with everyone God chooses. And that once and for all, I can just be me...good, bad and everything in the grace of God.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Six Weeks Already?!

I can't believe six weeks have already passed. I'm headed back to work tomorrow and it feels almost like I'm starting a new job...mostly because I've forgotten a bunch of passwords and a bunch of new staff have been hired in my absence. I'm sure after one day of reading hundreds of emails it'll feel like old hat'.

All the same, please remember me in your prayers for energy and a great day!

With that off my chest I'll continue with The Last Lecture notes. One thing I started to realize as I read this short 'book' is that Pausch may not proclaim his Christianity (in an effort not to exclude others from the all encompassing message), but the roots of everything he does/did are grounded securely in the Word of Christ.

These last chapters have talked about 'the lost art of the thank you note', loyalty, telling the truth (ALWAYS), see in color (not just black and white), no job is beneath you, NEVER GIVE UP, and I've just finished a chapter about being a COMMUNITARIAN. I don't know about you but I've read about all these principles in God's Word.

I really stopped and pondered the idea of Communitarianism. Pausch talks about building a community. He reminds us in a very straightforward manner that we do have rights and with those rights come RESPONSIBILITY. Many of us like to glaze over that last part of the agreement. Children sometimes become selfish about sharing their toys. Teenagers today believe they are even more entitled than the generation before. It should come as no surprise that they are learning this from the adults.

Dr. Pausch speaks specifically about how we all want a fair trial if we were ever arrested; however, many of us try like the dickens to get out of jury duty!

The bottom line...for me, is to use my God-given gifts to serve (volunteer) and to be a productive, giving part of my community. This seems a fitting lesson in this start-up church we are attending and the great needs in serving that exist. As a matter of fact, God knew I was going to be reading these chapters because lo' and behold if the Pastor's wife didn't call and want to 'run something by' the hubs and I...what do you bet it's about an opportunity to serve?

I guess I should call her!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

On Living...

...back to our regularly scheduled blogging.

The Last Lecture is coming to a close and the next section is titled: "It's about how you live your life". Pausch has several short chapters talking about how he tried to live his own life. Rather than be swayed or influenced by his own words I thought I'd throw out the way I've chosen to live my life and potential successes or struggles along the way.

I've tried to live my life with OTHERS IN MIND. I mean my life is not a selfish life, not in it's entirety. I've always had my parents' interests in mind or my friends, my better half, not just my own.

I've been an OBSERVER of life. I've watched people my whole life. My mother even says I watched people as a baby. I wasn't afraid of people, but I would observe them. The first African American I ever met I just had to touch her hair and tell her how beautiful it was. I was about 3 years old.

I also observed people interact with their own families and friends. I've learned some extremely valuable lessons from these observations...particularly things that DON'T work so well. I became a better actress in my observations and it served me well in uncomfortable situations.

I've tried to live my life with PASSION. I am a firm believer that if you do something with passion it will be much more worthwhile. Additionally if you attempt to do things you are NOT passionate about, you will never truly succeed.

I've tried to live my life with an OPEN MIND. For me, if I recognize we are not all the same and we have all come from a different place on this planet, it's much easier to accept ourselves AND others.

The most important way I've lived my life is with QUESTIONS...lots and lots of questions. I am full of questions and love books of questions. I will ask them and I will answer them. We will never have all the answers this side of heaven, but we must ask, we must seek, we must knock!

This is the very crux of who I am and how I approach EVERY part of my life; from flesh to my life in Christ, this is how I approach it. how have YOU lived your life?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Crossing the Finish Line

I'm taking a day break from the Last Lecture series I've been blogging about for this important message...

Today in church the pastor was talking about the Scripture about running the race and how we are called to not only run the race, but to win the race before us.

I thought about it for only a minute when I heard God say to me a couple of things:

The race before me may not be the race before you.

More importantly:

It’s not just about crossing the finish line…it’s about The Cross at the Finish Line!

There’s some food for thought!

Friday, August 15, 2008


One of the sections of Pausch's book talks about the value of time and the way he viewed time and just how valuable it became as his prognosis became reality.

I thought about what time is worth to me. Some things I DO realize are:

1. The person in front of me is more important than the incoming phone call...unless it's my husband.

2. Working late is not ALWAYS the best answer.

3. My time spent with God is the most important time I have.

4. Time is not stolen, it is freely given by us throughout our days.

5. Wishing for more time is not an option.

Things I continue to struggle with regards to time is:

1. It doesn't pay to rehash and rehash BAD times from the past.

2. Live in the minute!

3. Give of your time carefully.

4. Accept help.

5. Don't wear a watch on vacation.

I'm half way through the book. I've enjoyed it immensely and I think I'm gleaning something from it as well.

Have a time-worthy weekend!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Lessons Learned

The next chapters of The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch, are all about the lessons he learned along his journey.

Here are the lessons I've learned (or some of them):

1. Accidents happen, and start at an early age. Things can be replaced, people can't.

2. Trust your gut, I've found it's that intuitive sense that becomes much clearer the closer you get to God and there is NO better guide.

3. Never underestimate yourself. You are exactly who God says you are and can do what God says you can do. That's a pretty big picture, so...

4. Don't sweat the small stuff, it all works out eventually, and the lessons learned are unbelievable!

5. True love RARELY happens with that first boyfriend and life is NOT over.

6. It is true, when you quit trying to find him, your soul mate is found.

7. Aging is not the worst thing in the world. With aging comes wisdom and assurance that is SO lacking in youth.

8. Blood is thicker than water.

9. ALL wounds heal...eventually.

10. Some wounds do leave scars and that is to serve as a reminder.

So...what other life lessons are out there?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Dreams Awaiting

Yesterday I left off with the question: What were your childhood dreams?

My childhood dreams were as varied and 'ever-changing' as the seasons. The most recurring dreams I had were:

To be an astronaut
To play classical piano
To be a princess
To be a doctor
To be an actress

In his book, Randy Pausch reviews through several chapters how he made each of his childhood dreams a reality (in one sense or another). This seems like quite a challenge for me, but lets see where we end.

Dream #1
I dreamed of being an astronaut because I loved the feeling of flying and weightlessness. Of course the weightlessness I felt was in dreams (along with flying) and the occasional brief jump on a trampoline where you feel less earth-bound and more free to fly in the air as you jump higher and higher. An astronaut is also a scientist and I do believe that is what guided me to ultimately pursue science in college. I still love to stare up at the sky at night or imagine what the moon looks like up close and what moon dust feels like in my bare hand.

Dream #2
My second dream was to play classical piano. I can pick a few notes out on a piano, but my parents income dictated a more realistic dream of playing the organ. Somehow I don't know how my parents managed with the 3 of us all desiring so many things and when we asked we usually received. My brother played trumpet, and guitar, I played the organ and my sister played violin. Aside from the cost of lessons came the endless hours of 'music in training' as we practiced for set hours each day. I quit playing the organ as middle school ended and I went on to pursue other dreams in high school.

I still have a love of piano music. My favorites are probably Jim Brickman and George Winston. I love the way they bring music to life on the piano. I am awed by piano players who get so lost in their magic that it appears effortless.

Dream #3
I also dreamed (as most any girl does) of being a princess. I dreamed of being rescued by a prince and swept off my feet. Guess what...if anyone has ever read anything here about the 'Prince' I married, you know I really did get this dream. There is NOTHING that prince wouldn't do for me. Not a day goes by that I don't feel just like a princess...only without the poison apple.

Dream #4
My next dream was to be a doctor. I really held on to this one for many years. One thing that doesn't make sense is I didn't enjoy GOING to the doctor, but I did dream of BECOMING a doctor. I thought it out and wanted to be a Pediatric Hematologist who specialized in Genetics. I geared all my coursework in high school and college towards this dream. I attended a school (my father's Alma mater) that had an incredibly high MCAT score and Med School acceptance rate. I declared this major and began this dream.

One thing I didn't account for was the social dream I was living and the freedom I had yet to learn to reign in. I would catch glimpses of students I studied with during the week, reading or getting lab time on weekends from sun up to sundown. It was like a punch to the gut but a real time saver. I did not want to give up my social time to study my life away for the next 8-15 years. I wasn't going to be a doctor, but Lord knows I worked with enough of them along the way.

I did work for many years as a Med Tech and got to work on several research projects with PhDs and Physicians and even have a hand in the genetics I so desired to study.

Dream #5
The final dream I included was to be an actress. I love to act. I love to put on the character and become something else for a short period of time. Apparently I had this dream from very early on as my mother points out she refused to fly in a helicopter or I could have had commercial work as a child. "Alas, poor KPJARA!"

I did get to act in high school and learned I also enjoyed directing and back stage work. The theater is an amazing place. It is an amazing experience. I won Best Thespian my senior year and this came as a huge surprise sense I didn't ever have a LEADING role, rather supporting roles or backstage work. What I had was a passion for theater...and this still exists today.

I still have spurts of this behavior when I speak in accents at random times and sing at the top of my my car (and at worship). I dance daily...with the dogs. I recite scenes from movies or plays and even favorite commercials.

What I realized as I thought about these dreams (and read The Last Lecture), is that my dreams certainly did come true. They may not seem like it in the literal sense but in the sense that dreams all came true!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Who Am I?

I'm going on a 'blog-trip' for the next 'however-long-it-takes' and taking whomever wishes to come along. Grab your bags and come along, hopefully we will all arrive at a wonderful place of self-discovery and incredible awareness.

Recently there was an evening news program (I don't remember which one) but it played a portion of Randy Pausch's "Last Lecture" (I tried to autolink it...but apparently it's not working. It's Check it can even watch the lecture.

So my father bought the book. It's a small book, only about 200 small pages. My father read it and has loaned it to me to read and reap. So I started about 30 minutes ago and it's brought me to thoughts I hadn't considered and thoughts I've missed having since my word-purge occurred over a year ago.

In the introduction, Professor Pausch addresses his desire to write and offer this "Last Lecture", which in his case was quite literal and left a legacy for so many. One of the first questions he asks in preparation for the lecture is, What makes me unique?

I stopped and considered what makes me unique. What legacy am I leaving? Am I even leaving a legacy.

Of course, the honest answer is we ALL leave a legacy. Some are forgotten or less than memorable or hopefully forgotten...but most of us leave a legacy worth remembering and when you try to put to words what your legacy is...what comes to mind?

For me, to date, my legacy is one of struggling to find my God-given purpose and living that purpose out, while trying to gain and keep wisdom along the way. My unique-ness comes from a creative spirit, a mind that seeks continually, and a heart that aches for those in pain or those unable to fight for themselves.

I am going to try to post daily as I travel through this book and I'm also hopeful there will be wisdom earned as well. I hope you all will check out Dr. Pausch's website and look at his applies to each of us and we all know we could use that feeling of one-ness with someone else that ultimately came to the end of his journey fulfilled.

The question for tomorrow is: What were your childhood dreams?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Time Flies

I honestly thought by now I'd be bored to tears from all my 'free time'. Let me just say...I'm busier with my 'free time' than I was at work. I think mostly because I have time to 'go and do', and so I do...go and do!

I've had lunches with friends, been shopping, NAPPED (tons), recuperated, had dentist appointments, doctor appointments, hung out with my parents (and other stay-at-home peeps), and frankly I'm really enjoying it.

It's coming to an end much sooner than I can imagine. I return to work August 21. At least it'll make for a SHORT first week back (2 days). I still get tired easily and have to 'rest' throughout the day, but I haven't had a real nap in a week or so.

I'd like to say I've accomplished a lot of soul-searching, but honestly I haven't. I have had a number of 'chats' with God and it's good to hear from Him...anytime! I've worked this week (in attempts to get myself physically ready to WORK), in straightening closets and relining shelves and drawers in the kitchen. I've begun annual purging of items for a garage sale or donation to charity and I'm completing my week with a brand new 'trendy' hair cut and style.

Since next week is my last week off, I'm going to treat it as an in-town vacation and I'm going to go peruse the haunts I love in town, including but not limited to: consignment shops, antique stores, trendy little shops, card stores, craft stores, book stores, etc. If it ever cools down I may have a lunch alfresco (though with temps soaring above 100 that may have to wait til an Autumn weekend).

I've also been working on the annual Christmas gift to the aunts and uncles and some friends. I'm preparing a cookbook of all our favorite recipes. I've completed about 1/4 of it and I think it's going to be a useful and memorable gift. I thought I'd use family pics throughout on individual books for those family members and then use pics of the food (the ones I have). I'm going to have it spiral bound at Kinko's, but I will do some scrap booking to individualize them once I get them copied and bound.

I hope all is well in the blogdom. I have been checking in with many of you and am encouraged daily by so many of my 'reads'. Thank you for your encouragement in the form of emails and comments and the I love the writing.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, July 21, 2008


We have started attending a new church (new to us), called The Gathering. It meets in a high school fairly close to our home and is smaller and a bit more 'intimate' in terms of size which you all know how important that is to me. Anyway, the pastor preached this weekend about 'Igniting the Fire' within us and to help spread that fire.

I haven't felt much like a fire starter lately, as a matter of fact I've felt drenched and doused with not only water, but fire retardant materials. It's been downright cold where I've been walking.

...yet as I sat in that auditorium and praised God and listened to this pastor speak, he reminded us that (in the words of a very old praise song) only takes a spark.

If we have but a spark...or are just kindling...or have just the heat from the fire, we can be grown into a raging inferno. So as I feel my kindling begin to be fanned, I feel the beginnings of a small flame and all the hope that surrounds that renewal.

It helps that my surgery recovery is progressing so well. I feel really good. I still take a few naps a day and realize I am NOT fully recovered, but I'm getting there. I'm resting and 'renewing' not only my body...but my mind.

God really did have this all planned out for just a time as this.

Have a week filled with the fire of God's Spirit!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

I came home yesterday and while I did sleep most of the afternoon and evening away I'm feeling much better already today.

The doctor believes the procedure was successful and they were able to go laparoscopically which is a HUGE answer to prayer, no huge incisions. My stay overnight was uneventful and while the food was HORRIBLE, the nurses were wonderful and it made me appreciate my family and friends even more.

I took a short walk to the end of the street today and it was tiring, but I feel so much better than I ever dreamed I would.

I'll check in again in a day or so.

Love and blessings to you all and thanks from the bottom of my heart, for the prayers. I felt each one!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Fear Not

Tomorrow's the surgery date.

I'm not afraid...not really.

Mostly just tired from all the overtime I've been working.

I'll be at home for 6-8 weeks, so plenty of time to rest. Hopefully I will make time to find some writing inspiration too!

Prayers welcome...

Blessings from the other side of the scalpel.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Did I Hit My Head?

One of my Spiritual gifts is Encouragement. I love, love, love to encourage people. I’m like one of those ‘cheerleader’ type people who loves to lift others up.

…or at least I used to be.

I’m pretty sure it started happening when I started seeing others’ through my eyes instead of Christ’s eyes. Through my eyes people are not very nice. As a matter of fact, I’d say they’re downright mean. Well most of them anyway.

My ‘encourager’ is silenced. I catch myself (usually before I say anything audibly) wanting to speak truth from my own tainted vision, rather than Christ’s absolute truth.

I remember reading a Terri Blackstock book called; “The Heart Reader”, where people are given gifts to see, hear, or feel what others are thinking, feeling, etc. I may be combining two books, but I think it’s the same one. The people with the gift didn't even know they had it until it started working. They realized they were hearing the hurts of people that were unable to speak the hurts. They were seeing ‘impairments’ invisible to the eye. They were able to help minister to these ‘broken’ people with their gift.

Perhaps I better reread that book sometime soon. Either that or I’m going to need to see a physician higher up on the ‘scale’…like the Great Physician! How do I schedule those appointments? I’ll bet he just contacts me directly.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Power of the Semi-Colon

I love to edit writing. I typically edit spelling, but occasionally I also pick up on punctuation and grammar errors. The spelling errors stand out like huge flashing signs. The grammar and punctuation are not quite so obvious.

One thing I’ve learned in working with MS Word is if the Microsoft editor isn’t happy with your sentence, and you replace a comma with a semi-colon, he either gets so confused he ‘passes’ the review or perhaps a more startling truth...the semi-colon has more power than the editor. Either way it cracks me up! Semi-colon’s buddy, colon, is almost as powerful, but he sometimes causes editor problems.

The other powerful thing about Mr. Semi-colon is typically nobody questions him. I suppose any symbol that translates into a ‘wink’ should have some power.

; He’s got the power!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Disappearing Dreams

Somewhere, somehow, I feel like I’ve lost my dreams. I know I had them just a short time ago but I can’t seem to place them. I can’t seem to even verbalize them.

I was thinking about the movie “The Ultimate Gift”, which you have GOT to see if you haven’t already. I’ve mentioned it before, it’s a Fox Faith film and it is WONDERFUL. Anyway…part of it is remembering you’ve got to have dreams.

I know I’ve had dreams and I know I’ve had some dreams come true. But my most recent dreams seem to have disappeared before my eyes. I’m wondering if it’s just all the other junk filling up my mind right now. Somehow I feel like the dream, however hazy, should still be visible and memorable enough to sustain that part of me; the part of me that yearns to fulfill the dream…the part of me that thrives on the hope of the dream.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could just do dream shopping or Google top 10 dreams? My guess is what would ‘pop up’ would be unfit to read. I’m not going to try it. Maybe a magazine about dreams where you could see how they look once they’re fulfilled and you could just check off the ones that interest you and you receive information on how to proceed.

Okay…admittedly part of the fun of dreams is the ability to out-dream what is reality. The ability to visualize something so incredible that it’s almost impossible to think it could be done. That’s where God comes in. The greatest thing about our dreams (at least in my opinion) is that God uses us…the imperfect, to fulfill the dreams HE places in us. They are greater than we can imagine because He is greater than we can imagine.

Here is where the AHA moment comes in…I think, just possibly, my dreams are out there and available for me to see, but I’ve closed my eyes to them while I’m working through the other junk. Well, at least I know they’re out there somewhere…or at least I hope they are…

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Out of Control

I had a nutrition appointment today. I’ve had more appointments in the past 2 months with all types of medical/health providers than I have in my entire life! I’ve seen the Gyn a few times, Gen Practitioner, Endocrinologist, and Nutritionist. Frankly, the laboratory and pharmacist should really considering giving me a frequent shoppers card. I’ve spent more money in copays than any one person should have to budget AND with the exception of a headache (I think from the darn visits)…I feel fine! Go figure.

Today I was at the nutritionist office and after the obligatory weigh-in (like something from the initial weighing in Biggest Loser), I sat and listened and answered questions about my paperwork. When she asked me to explain why I was feeling depressed I shared with her just a bit of my feelings of being ‘out of control’ of my life. She recommended I talk to the GYN about a mild pill for depression…just what I need another drug.

A week or so ago I had a bit of a breakdown of a similar kind around my hubs and he reminded me, in his own straightforward but calm and collected way, that I am not meant to be in control…God is supposed to be in control. I had to stop and think about it.

I did the same thing today.

The minute I get to thinking about being out of control with work, surgery, doctors, lab work, meds, etc. it begins to overwhelm me. I think that must be why God reminds me regularly to take my thoughts captive…renew my heart, oh and to think about what is good and righteous. I’ve been saying over and over (at work and home) how I am out of control…and that is true. But that is also good, because then God can be IN control. I’ve actually been speaking too many negatives over my own life…and I have to remind myself that ‘we have the power of life and death on our tongues’. I want life spoken over me!

Okay so after another near death experience at check out from the nutritionist (and I thought Plumbers made a lot of money), I am back at work and thinking about the past couple of months and I realize and profess…I am out of control. God is truly driving my life right now and while I’m sure I’ll attempt to back seat drive, hopefully He can get us safely to our destination on the other side of these feelings.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Page Turner...

Two of my favorite things happen in the summer.

The first is garage sales are rampant and I take my 'blow money' and go shopping at the garage sales within the 3-4 miles of my home every Saturday. I love it! I've found some great gifts for family and friends and for my Bunco 'secret pal'.

The second is reading. Summer time is when I get down to reading. With my upcoming downtime I've been stockpiling books at my moms so I have plenty to read while I'm bed-bound. We have found tons of books at the garage sales and for just .25 a really can't beat it unless you go to the library.

I've started reading these 'inspirational romances'...sort of Christian Harlequins and I LOVE them! They are quick reads and not trashy like some of the Harlequins tend to be.

Since I can't read the 12 we found at garage sales I was just reading other books I had on hold through winter. I just finished the last of those and thought I'd check out our 'bookshelves' at my work break room and lo' and behold there were several of these Inspirational Romances. I snatched a few up and read them. Three in the past week and a half. I went to go exchange some the other day and the rest were GONE! Apparently some other people at work appreciate them as much as I do. Now all that's left is old readers digests and a couple of old literary pieces I've had no desire to read since college.

Well it's back to garage sales to find more books or I'm going to have to actually purchase some books at our Christian Bookstore.

Any recommendations for some good christian fiction to read?

Thursday, May 29, 2008


It's Thursday.

I'm ready for Friday.

I am trying to get everything ready for my 6 week deadline before surgery.

I don't know if I'll get it all done.

I feel very out of control of things.

I still can't find any strong sense of where God is in this whole thing.

I never feel 'heard' by my father when my brother is in town.

I feel completely overshadowed when my sister is in town.

These feelings continue to feed in me a sense that independence is the safest place.

I'm tired of being safe.

I think sometimes people see me as unfriendly, when they haven't even scaled the walls.

Thank God for my husband.

He's helping me stay on track.

I'm hanging on...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Dying to Serve

I won't mince words when I say: I HATE War! I will never, ever understand the purpose of killing people over land, politics, etc. I didn't understand it in the Old Testament and I don't understand it today.

That said, a Pastor shared yesterday that many of these people are serving God through protecting our country and the freedoms our country was founded on: Life, Liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness.

I will try never to take for granted the soldiers that have protected these freedoms for me. I will continue to pray for solutions other than mass deaths, but I will continue to respect those brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers who are not here today because they have a call of service many of us will never have to experience.

God Bless these men and women today and EVERY day!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Call Waiting

My brother and Sister-in-Law are in town and we had dinner with them last night (just the 4 of us). That's HUGE considering my father really likes to spend time with my Brother when he's in town. They live on the East coast and rarely make it out to the heartland.

My brother and SIL are both Pastors. They aren't officially Pastoring a church currently, and they've had some of the same struggles and challenges I've faced in the church-search. They asked me some fairly straightforward questions about where I am with my 'calling'.

You see, it was a few short years ago when I really felt 'called' to serve God in a 'pastoral' role. Anyone who has followed me through the years knows I've struggled with conventional church and traditional church leadership. In the meantime, as I search and 'settle' for THE church, it becomes clearer and clearer that the places I 'land' are not doing me or anyone any good.

I can serve and try to get involved, but it is just empty. It's like hollow chocolate. It looks lovely but the flavor doesn't last and it's a bit waxy.

So the realization came to me as I considered the answers to their questions...

Is my 'calling' so hollow that it cannot translate to where God places me right this moment? Can I speak the convictions of my heart, to those God places before me? I don't know. The more time I spend in church, the less I like people. The more I question God... It's not that I doubt Him, it's that I don't 'get Him' and I don't think I'm supposed to at this point. I'm just supposed to trust Him and obey His leading.

For now I think it's got to be "Call" waiting.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Trouble in the Blogdom

It has been SO long since I've been here...I figured I owed myself a few words if for no other reason than to log my journey.

As you can see I've had template issues. For some reason I totally lost my header...the one I paid for...go figure. Maybe there was some expiration date on the format. At any rate, I'm back to the basics...the free ones...particularly given the fact that I'm only posting once per month for now.

I have lost ALL my links. I hope to go try to find them and get them added back on, so bear with me as I search and look for all my treasured blog addresses. What's a girl to do? I figure I'll go through all my past comments if I have to!

I recently got some 'not so good' news from my doctor. Apparently all these GYN issues I've had for years are now proving to be even more troublesome. I'm scheduled to have surgery July 9th and will be out of work 6-8 weeks. Yeah...not so excited about that news. I am hopeful this will resolve the questionable test results. I'm also hopeful I can lay still as long as I need to.

The hubs, wonderful as ever, is getting a wireless router so I can use his laptop from bed and I just may be doing a bunch more blogging and surfing the blogs. That will help pass the time.

I can't think of anything else to share at this point...busy spring and the weather is getting warmer daily here in the heartland.

I hope all is well in your world and if you stop by...comment and leave your link so I can reenter all those names/addresses!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Her Parents

I was in church on Sunday and we were singing and I was thinking about the words...and then a chorus of Hallelujahs began. There is something about the sound of a building full of Hallelujahs to God that amazes me. I spent a few minutes just closing my eyes and listening to the chorus and imagined God hearing us.

Then I looked to the front row of chairs and there is this couple. They are praising and worshipping without abandon. She's a tiny little thing, no more than 5 foot and maybe 90 pounds soaking wet. He's a bigger burly man, over 6 foot and 200 pounds or better. They keep to themselves. They have been a fixture on that front row for as long as I've been attending this church. They have always been very expressive in worship. They are HER Parents.

SHE is attending a college just north of here. She serves as a missionary and travels with her college to various places to help in whatever way she can. She loves people and she loves life! I've never met her personally, but have heard about her.

A few weeks ago, SHE was traveling home and was killed in an automobile crash. She was 19 or 20 years old. She was too young to die...or so it seemed.

Her parents 'spoke' through a letter to the church when it happened and they expressed their complete peace about her current place among angels, dancing with her Father God in fields of grace. They were torn apart by their own loss but so at ease with her new home. I have watched them since that week and while there are times they struggle to maintain during services that reach that 'loss spot', they always praise and worship with total abandon.

I wonder if somehow they are singing and dancing along with her. Her parents remind me (when I choose to remember) that there is ALWAYS time to praise and worship God.

There is a quote I love and I don't know the source, but I'm using an altered version of it here because it applies:

Life is God's gift to us,
How we use that life is our gift to God.

Let's use our life well!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Feeling Mortal

I wonder if Jesus felt completely mortal at the moment on the cross just before he realized this was the way it would have to be done. This was the only way to ensure the salvation of a world of sinners...This was the only way I would ever know the freedom of redemption.

I am trying to imagine what it would be like. I know there have been times when I felt unjustly accused or unjustly punished, and it was always extremely frustrating and followed by a slew of thoughts and words that I felt the injustice deserved.

Yet, Jesus--perfect Jesus, didn't even succumb to the temptations or the sins I do each day. He did his Father's work and followed his Father to an earthly endpoint that seemed completely unjustified. Thank God he did!

What is the good in this GOOD Friday? For those of us who are is the complete and total surrender of Jesus to His Father's will...leading to a cross and earthly death...leading to a trip to hell (on my behalf)...leading ultimately to a seat to the right hand of his Father...leading to a hope and an eternal future for us...for me.

Happy GOOD Friday!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Refreshing Shower

I was taking a shower the other day...Sunday actually...before church, and I was thinking about a conversation with a young lady at work, about Scripture. Actually, the same young lady I wrote about last. Obviously God has brought us into one another's lives for a reason. Anyway, I was thinking about it and just talking to God about it and He gave me a reminder.

'Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, Oh Lord." Psalm 19:14

I knew immediately what it meant. I wasn't too proud or too stupid to try to pretend it was anything other than what it is. My words and meditations have not been so pleasing lately. One of the things I see in this young lady is a strong faith and while she struggles in the flesh (as we all do), she knows God has her 'back'.

I'm determined to work on my words...particularly at work...though today appears to be another dismal failure (AKA: Work in progress).

One day at a time.

Well maybe I'll have to take it one minute at a time.

Friday, March 14, 2008


Cover the blemishes...hide the unsightly discoloration...even out the tone...plump up the lips...pump up the eyelashes...get the eyebrows waxed...firm the arms...lift anything that sags...

And the list goes on and on and on! It makes you wonder what we did before makeup and all these 'concealers' created just to make us BETTER!

One of the 19 y.o. young ladies I work with came up today and said she would be 'happy with herself' if she could just thin out her face. I informed her immediately she was exactly as God had intended her to be at this time in her life. I didn't discourage her from being the best she could be, but reminded her that our perceived idea of perfection is the ideal the world sets, not God.

I remember when I was much younger and my mother insisting I wear makeup to go shopping with her. I remember trying some of the fads that came and went to 'improve my looks'. Even today, in my forties, I have a hard time leaving the house without makeup. I too, have bought into the commercialism of beauty.

It's not just in the's also the smile we plaster on our face no matter how we feel. It's covering up our flaws (even in front of our closest friends) for fear we would be judged unworthy by others.

With all that I've been going through spiritually and mentally (and physically) lately, I'm having a hard time justifying the continued attempts to be something other than who I was created to be.

This also gets me wondering about those judged as wearing TOO much makeup or having TOO many enhancements. It appears Satan has us exactly where he wants us. We will never be perfect, but we will always strive for it...perhaps sometimes more than we strive for our Christ-likeness.

Sad, isn't it...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Greater Love

One of the best things about winter...for of the ONLY good things about winter is my desire to hunker down and read. I get 3/4 of my reading done each winter.

After literally YEARS of postponing reading of a Christian "classic" (at least according to all the other readers and NON-readers I've met), I finally read Francine Rivers, "Redeeming Love".

Understand that literally everyone I've ever met whose read this book went on and on about how it changed their life. It didn't have the over-emotional reaction I expected (based on these references), but it was a really good read and it did teach me and remind me of a few things. Perhaps because in some ways I have much in common with 'Angel', this story taught me that our experiences and our life before Christ should not define our life. If anything it should show how great grace and mercy and forgiveness really are. It also reminded me that no matter how often or how far I get form God, He will always...ALWAYS be there for me.

I've shared here and with others that one thing I've always struggled with is how great God's love is. I just can't always wrap my mind around it and it sometimes trips me up, as it did 'Angel'. Even when I can hear the voice of God or feel the touch of an angel, I struggle to understand HOW He could love me that much.

I have a husband much like Angel's husband. He loves me more than anyone I've ever met. He loves me completely, totally and honestly. He is compassionate and caring. He is gentle and firm. He is giving and giving and giving. He is forgiving and peace-filled. And I don't understand how he can love me that much either. He loves me as he was called Christ loved the church.

I've grown to realize he does this out of his love for God. He's always loved me, even before he was 'saved', but it's clear how much more, now that he walks with God. What an incredible feeling...this love. On top of that, this weekend as our pastor spoke, I was reminded of how we were created out of LOVE from our creator.

Perhaps it's a Valentine's Day gift from God, whatever it is...I'm thankful of His love and His desire for my very best!

I pray this greater & redeeming love surrounds you this week.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Prisoner of War

I never could imagine what it felt like to be a survivor of a war...much less a prisoner of war. I couldn't imagine trying to survive on hope alone. I couldn't imagine the torment and pain and suffering inflicted by the enemy. I couldn't imagine what it would do to my mind. I remember reading stories of POW's and thinking what a horrible thing to endure, how do they do it?

God revealed to me last night that we are all prisoners of a Spiritual War. I would NEVER belittle or demean what prisoners of earthly wars have endured, but I do believe there is a spiritual battle on earth and within our minds and physical bodies much more often then we realize.

My mind has really been under siege these past few days, weeks, months. I tried to write it off as a hormonal issue, but I truly think it's a spiritual battle. Until my dear friend Tam emailed me and pointed out that I needed some time around seriously Spiritual Christians I didn't even realize how much war had been waged.

I have been dealing with tremendous rage internally, self-doubt, almost to the point of self-hate. I have been frustrated and ill-at-ease. I have been much more moody. My language has gotten increasingly worse. My 'pretty side' is all but gone. I've been just looking for targets to release some of this. I thought it was just me.

It's not.

Sure part of it is lack of self-control but that fruit has been draped with heavy cloth by the enemy's work and my 'giving-in' to his evil ways. The choices I have been making are not good...they are not good at all. I feel trapped inside a vessel of destruction.

I screamed and ranted at God yesterday. I heard nothing. I went to small group last night ready to battle anyone who dared. A discussion ensued about how to deal with what we consider hypocritical Christians. Those people who call themselves Christians yet seem more evil then those without Christ. The group was fairly unified in their feelings that these people should be held to a higher standard.

I did point out that these people who appear to be hypocritical may just be following what they see in churches and by other 'Christians'. I admitted some of the people I have met (even at our current church, some even in leadership), are as earthly as anyone...and this is my example?

So you see, war has been waged upon kpjara...and many others.

I'm really trying to dust off my armor, but it looks so very heavy and frankly I just don't feel all that strong. be continued

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Last Time...

The hubs and I rented a couple of films this weekend. One was pretty good about a female pastor who is sent to a small town church in an effort to get rid of her. It's called "Welcome to Paradise". It was pretty good for a low-budget film.

The second film was "Griffin & Phoenix" and we picked it up because I like the actors in it, but it was a bit morbid and depressing. It was about dying. Both the lead characters met, fell in love and both realized they were dying of cancer. Yes...a bit dark for a romantic comedy (which is how it was marketed).

Anyway, the one redeeming quality was a scene where the female lead (Amanda Peet) is in the hospital preparing to die and she starts recanting 'the last time...' As in the last Christmas she would ever have...was last year...the last kiss she would have...even the last time she brushed her teeth at home.

It made me stop and think about each thing I do in a day and how I too often take for granted it won't be my 'last time'. I realized I need to inhale each day fully and really live in that moment and enjoy it as if it were...'the last time.'

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Dings & Dents

I was driving to work behind one of about a gazillion SUV's this morning and noticed a pretty good sized dent on the back panel. The 1st thing I do when I see these dents is slow down, for fear they are just reckless drivers. This morning I backed off a bit more because we have just enough ice on the road to be hazardous.

The second thing I do is ponder how it happened, based on location and severity of the dent and on the driving techniques observed. It is my belief the vehicle in front of me backed into something fairly tall, because they were traveling far too fast to be hit from behind. I'm just hoping it wasn't anything living.

Of course, as my mind works, I then got to thinking about my immediate 'judgment' of these drivers and their vehicles. I thought about when I shop for a 'used' vehicle...I'm searching for NO dings an dents. You know how you can get the listing of all reported accidents, floods, hurricanes, etc, the vehicle has been involved in...I definitely want all the details I can get, because these vehicles may not last as long and may not be a great purchase. I thought about how that translates in life.

I believe we ALL have dings and dents...some of us from as early as childbirth or before. Others of us may not receive our first ding or dent for years, but eventually we ALL get them. Some of us get them repaired (or attempt to). Some of us cover them up with long clothing, layers of skin, makeup, even by developing talents and skills that impair 'vision'. I would consider buying a 'dinged' or 'dented' vehicle that looked or performed really well, one that had an incredible stereo system, or GPS system.

I know none of us wants to admit we may be a bit shallow (or is it truly just me...nah!), but sometimes we make incorrect assumptions about someone based on their dings and dents. I think about in my own life as I struggled with my weight as a younger adult and into adulthood, people were downright vicious in their assumptions about me being lazy or undisciplined or even stupid. Honestly, the comments I heard only fueled the fire of my own judgment against others as I excused my behavior as self-defense.

There are labels for nearly everyone that is DIFFERENT from us. They are based on race, gender, religion, age, hair color, size, eye-color, social status, marital status, clothing, wealth, disabilities, even where someone lives or goes to school may lead to judgment. Now I want to reflect back to God and how He only used PERFECT people for all of His assignments.

If you are shaking your head vehemently get the picture. Isaiah had his tongue singed (that had to feel good), Samson had his hair (and strength) cut, Jacob walked with a limp after God 'dinged' him. I too, have had scars both visible and invisible as she struggled with God and man. Basically everyone God has used had imperfections, both visible and invisible.

You may want to know why...well let's face facts...we're all dinged and dented! Some are from the world and some are direct from our maker, as He shapes and molds us into works of art for His Kingdom! I reflect back about my own story and how it's a part of who I am. It's a part of my own testimony of God's redeeming grace, mercy and love.

I pray today we would begin to embrace all the dings and dents we see in life and while I'm not going to seek them out...if they find me, I will survive and perhaps thrive!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


...makes me think of the Archies "big" hit. Okay, so maybe NOT that big anywhere except in my adolescence...but it was big to me.

Day 1-3 of sugar-free food is complete and wasn't as bad as I far. Ever since I started to walk during breaks at work I began losing weight, add to that...sugar-free and I dropped another 2 1/2 pounds. I'm down 8 pounds already since I started 2+ weeks ago. That's including the weight I FOUND over the weekend as I binged on sugar and did a major carb-load, so really I've lost a total of about 11 pounds. The goal is obviously to lose them and not find them again!

It reminds me a lot of when I stopped smoking. I expected it to be horrible (and I know there will be rough days)...but God is so great and honored this obedience with a start-up day that was not only live-able but was actually pleasant. The second day was a bit more challenging, but we went grocery shopping last night and in my label review, I found some sugar-free foods I can 'snack' on.

I am also trying to remember the ultimate goal is NOT to lose weight, but to be obedient to God. The weight loss is just the added perk.

In other news: If you find yourself here, please send a prayer upward for our previous Pastor's wife (Amanda) and her family, as she is pregnant with fraternal twins. It appears one of the twins does not have a heartbeat. I can't even imagine the pain of that loss, but I do know God never forsakes us or leaves us and she needs to be lifted up for that reminder.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Ask Not--Have Not

I was talking to the friend I've known the longest...about the whole church thing.

Her suggestion is that I contact the churches I would consider visiting and let them know what I'm looking for and see if it's a 'fit'. If not, she suggests I ask if they have a suggestion for another church that might better match what it is I'm seeking.

A part of me thinks that is SO egotistical, because church is not supposed to be about, or for me...but in a way it is. It's supposed to be MY community, the place I come together with others (like-minded) and we can corporately worship God together. In our current 'community', only a handful of the 700+ people even speak to us or have made any effort to get to know us.

A part of me is scared that the right 'fit' isn't out there.

A part of me wishes I lived in a less...what's the PC term...RELIGIOUS State. I know it's not just this State. I've visited other places that were extremely rigid in beliefs and in my interpretation left NO room for the Holy Spirit to even show himself, much less move through the congregation.

I don't know if I need to delve deeper into what church is supposed to be...or get to outlining what MY CHURCH is supposed to be. I guess I have homework either way.

In the meantime, I'll go where and when God leads me and try to's all part of the journey!

Okay Lord...I'm ASKING!!!!

Monday, January 07, 2008

Soul-ful Soul Journey

I've been on a Spiritual Journey...well...all my life, but recently the rough terrain has increased as I traverse into and among a valley of thorns and thickets. There are times it seems I have on stiletto heels in this unpleasant environment and my feet are killing me.

All women know that feeling (or lack thereof) from wearing high heels all day. Your feet ache to be on flat ground. The pain and pressure on the heel and balls of your feet burn with sheer need to relax and 'step down'. I've heard tales of comfortable high heeled shoes, but I've yet to have the funds or mindset to purchase these legendary shoes. I'm middle-class and a bit cheap when it comes to clothing and shoe purchases. I suppose this is a downside to being a garage sale addict. I can't justify paying over $20.00 for a pair of shoes an definitely not in the hundreds of dollars.

Wow...I got off track there for a bit. My apologies, apparently that's a 'soft spot' for me. Anyway...this spiritual journey has felt much like walking in high heels for hours on end. You can't take them off and go barefoot because of the sticker patches. It's that moment when I step on that first sticker that it dawns on me that I'm definitely in the valley.

I suppose God has these sticker patches to protect the plant and also to remind us to watch where we're walking. When I think about the need for athletic shoes or comfortable hiking shoes during this journey I think about the things that bring the most comfort...the basic things I keep forgetting to take along the way.

I forget to take my Bible many days. I forget to take my sweet memories. I forget to take the words to God in prayer. I forget to take the headset that allows me to hear from God...and blocks the noise pollution along the way. I forget to take the Scripture to battle the enemy along the way.

If I were completely honest I would tell you I'm struggling with religion. I just cannot get my mind and heart wrapped around organized religion (in our churches) as the way God intended it. I still long for a home-church environment; a gathering place where Jesus, God and the Bible are a conversation...not a lecture. I long for absolute and complete intimacy with God through Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit. I long to feel and fuel the fire placed in me when I was 13 years old. I'm sick of hypocrisy and false prophets. I am sick to death of Sunday Morning Christians and I just can't do it anymore. I can't play church and continue to feel absolutely nothing.

Okay...I guess that just about says it all. And so, the journey continues...

Friday, January 04, 2008

Carbs Gone Bad

You know how God sometimes has to drive a point home for least I'm hoping at least more than one of us has experienced God's 'not so subtle' side. Several months ago God was talking to me about 'diet' and I was obsessing about losing weight through the typical 'starve-myself-til-I-can't-take-it-anymore-or-so-it-seems' only to lose a few pounds and find a few more.

God simply told me: "Give up sugar, all refined sugar."

"But God..." I started.

So needless to say life went on...with sugar...all refined sugar. I'm a bit of a sugar addict admittedly, and when you've tried every single diet under the sun (including by not limited to): weight watchers, diet Doctors, calorie counting, low-fat, low-sodium, low-food, acupressure, exercising daily, Gym visits, pills, books ( not eating them, but reading them)...and many more I don't recall. And when you've eaten food because it's supposed to create a 'new you', and all it does is make you hate the 'old you' even more, you know something isn't right. When anorexia and bulimia seem like reasonable diet options (and yes, I'm serious), it's time to re-evaluate your mindset!

Fast forward to January 2008...I was thinking about my own personal goals and I again thought about my desire to lose this weight that continues to haunt me. So...I asked God again, "What can I do to get this weight off Lord?"

"Give up sugar, all refined sugar." He said...again.

"I'm not sure I can do it, Lord. You know how I love sugar and bread and all things refined, processed, etc." I replied (with less whining this time).

"Remember the smoking?" He asked.

I did remember the smoking (wrote about it here). I remembered how when I gave it up for was actually not that hard. Sure I still occasionally crave a cigarette, but it wasn't like the times I tried to quit on my own. I haven't had a cigarette since Super Bowl Sunday, 2005.

"Okay Lord, I'll do it. I'll give up sugar for 30 days and see where we are." Like I can 'make a deal with God'.

Not surprising I think I heard him chuckle as he said, "Okay, that's a good start. Oh, when are you starting?" He asked.

"I'm starting the day after my husband's birthday, January..." I started.

"I know when his birthday is, I created him too, remember?" He answered.

"Oh that's right..." I humbly replied.

And so, in less than a week, I will be sugar-free and detoxifying my body of this overload of the legal drug I have chosen.

If only I could get as addicted to God and the Bible as I have to all the 'bad stuff' there's a thought. ADDICTED TO GOD!

Have a SWEET weekend.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


I don't know if I have mentioned this before but misspelled words BUG me. Particularly words that take on a whole new meaning when misspelled. I'm not claiming to be an editor or a grammar teacher, it just bothers me when context is lost...though it does make more sense how we struggle to understand the Bible...when we can't even master our own language.

Rather than rant and rave (or in addition to), let me just show you.

I am going to the store.
I am going too the store.

I am to tired.
I am too tired.

This belt is loose.
This belt is lose.

Did she lose the money?
Did she loose the money? *Unless referring to releasing money from the top of a building or something...

I ate the whole thing.
I ate the hole thing. *Unless referring to a donut...

But there is one word that I believe we have misspelled as a society. The word is History.

I was sitting in church last week and the preacher was talking about history with regards to our role in history. He reminded us what a small speck we are in the GIGANTIC picture of Universal history. He reminded us that sometimes we attempt to conform history to our own story, but ultimately we are called to be part of God's story.

It dawned on me this what it's all about...HIS-STORY.

Talk about an 'aha' moment!

Speaking as someone with little to no interest in traditional history lessons, to think of it in terms of HISSTORY, makes it much more relevant and pertinent to my own life as I find my place in HISSTORY.

I hope you have a Hisstory making day!

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Blog-Gone Far Too Long

I can't get over how long it's been since I've written anything...especially considering how many words I've prepared in the past couple of months.

So much has happened, let me see if I can concisely recap...

Lots of work to do
Trip to Thanksgiving Dallas Cowboy Game...AWESOME
Shopping on the day after Thanksgiving...exhausting
Many a homemade craft for Christmas

Bunco at my house
Lots MORE work to do
Wrapping gifts and losing steam
More crafts to complete for Christmas
Cards to write and mail and a Christmas letter lacking luster
Cookie Saturday making 25 dozen iced-cookies and getting iced-in at friends
Celebrating Christmas with family and friends
Wondering about the New Year and all it's mystery

I guess that just about covers it.

My husband asked me the other day if I was making any resolutions and I guess God spoke to and through me because the first thing that popped into my head was...

"The only resolution that matters in my life (as a Christian) is my resolution to follow Christ and learn more from Him each year."

I hope that truth holds through this year. I know 2007 was one that challenged me in almost every area of my, love, hope and God's plan at the fore front of that challenge.

I also know that the greatest growth comes during these times of struggle and I know God must be growing the dickens out of me, because it has been a year of Spiritual struggle. If I walk away without a limp and a new name, it will be a miracle.

...and so I face 2008 with hope and certainty that the sun will rise each morning in the East and set in the West and with each day new hope will spring eternal.

I hope you all have had an awesome holiday season and know how much I've missed this place of word refuge and release. I hope I can find this old 'comfort zone' again and bring the words I hear and work through the words I don't hear quite so clearly.

Happy New Year Blogging Friends!