New Background

Can You Hear Me Now?

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!